For me, 2012 was a year fraught with many challenges, and in hindsight, I did not deal with many of them well. I try my best to rise in the face of challenges, but like many people, I found some challenges beyond my control, and as they piled on, the cumulative effect was stress, confusion, anger, desperation and at times, despair.
I let my challenges get the best of me.
The result, for my family, my clients, my colleagues, and my business were bad. My emotional and physical health declined. I wasted many opportunities to connect with my family by being distant and at times, angry. I stayed at work late, or went out after work, because I wanted to be alone. I quit doing my podcast, and stopped blogging. My social networking declined. I quit advertising, and started looking for a job, but had trouble even committing to my efforts in that arena. Not a great example to set, considering my line of work.
I stopped being the person I wanted to be. It seemed like a waste of time and effort. In business, I started and stopped work on several projects that have potential to right the foundering ship of my business. At home, I did the same thing in relation to my family, most particularly my wife Sarah, who has weathered a few storms while waiting for a calm that never came. In both cases, I found myself not knowing how to re-connect, to re-engage, to re-commit. I wish I could say I have figured it out. I haven’t. But I am working on it.
Last year was a lonely year, in part because like many men, I insisted on getting through it alone. And I was alone in my confusion, my despair, my grief. No wonder things got worse as the year dragged on.
Toward the end of last year, I finally decided that I couldn’t do it alone, and I started seeing a counselor. I’ve done this before in the past, and it has always helped. But I resisted it anyway. I’m a proud, stubborn person, but in the end, I am usually not an idiot. I just have to get to the tipping point before I’m ready to change. In that way, I am not that different from my clients. And like them, I only started to get out of the slump when I decided to get some help.
So, of you have been following me and my blogs, or are members of my mailing list, this is why I have been sporadically absent and noticeably disengaged. I decided to work more on being whole and wholly well, so that I can actually help people. It’s hard to help other people when you aren’t there for yourself. I realize that sharing this publicly is risky, but I believe that being a real, flawed human being is an asset in any profession, but especially in the helping professions.
If you are new to me and my sites, glad you stopped by. I am glad to have you visit. I am planning to make 2013 a better year, and I hope you will be a part of it. I’m hoping to get back on pace with my blogging, and back into social media. I’m going to pick up with the “Career Tracks in Higher Education” interviews soon, and hope to bring back the podcast once I have a few interviews lined up with subjects of this series. My hope is to get a new post out at least every other week, and eventually back up to one or two posts a week (2-4 posts a month). The podcasts will return, but on a less regular basis, and for now, my focus will be pre-recorded interviews to go along with the Career Tracks Series.
I chose “renewal” as my one word for the year, because I think it embodies a forward-thinking, re-engaged mindset, while still valuing the past. I’m a gardener, and I appreciate that the best soil is, at its heart, full of poop. And bacteria. And things that are breaking down, broken down, dying, or dead. Yet, the seeds of new life grow from all that, and become new spring flowers, hearty bushes, and tall trees.
Over the past few years, I have had some interesting successes, and some equally interesting failures. I’ve shifted my business and marketing efforts several times. I’ve been a giver and a taker. I’ve been a leader and a follower. For many of my clients, I have been a good mentor and friend. For a couple, I have been a disappointment. A while back, I was entertaining offers from larger sites to guest post and for a brief period about a year and a half ago, from potential buyers for this site. Those didn’t go so well, but those are different stories for different days. They didn’t work out, for a variety of reasons, but there is no point in lamenting those things that almost worked out, but didn’t quite happen.
All of that lies in the soil of the recent past, and this year, I hope to water it deeply, and give it tender loving care, in hope that it develops stronger roots, and becomes a healthy garden around me. Now, it’s time to move on.
It’s time for renewal.
What is your #oneword for 2013?
What one word sums up your goals for this year? Share in the comments or on my Facebook company page.
Coming next: A series of articles on writing a better resume. I’ll be sharing excerpts from my e-book “7 Points to a Winning Resume,” as well as new articles and resources to help you improve your resume.