Mid-year reflection

I am feeling inspired this week to check in on my 2017 word (see the entry here) because of Sharon’s 52nd episode of Design Yourself. She (and many other personal development podcast hosts I listen to) suggested that it’s a good time to check in on New Year’s resolutions since we’re just past the halfway point for 2017.

I didn’t make any traditional resolutions, but I did “resolve” to live with curiosity. Using Sharon’s questions, I’m going to see how I’m doing.

[This feels especially right at the moment because earlier this afternoon, I went to the first of three workshops hosted at the graduate student center here called “Meaning-Making for Graduate Students,” and – you guessed it – it was awesome. I wish we could meet every week. Every school and workplace should host a one-hour meeting every week in which students or employees talk about making meaning of their lives. It was such a joy to sit down with perfect strangers and realize that we’re all struggling with the same things. To hear one woman realize she’d been equating her worth and identity with her work, and to hear another own that she is unhappy because she compares herself to everyone around her just made me feel like I was part of a community of people who want to be authentic and vulnerable, and that felt so life-giving.]

That was a tangent, but it’s kind of rolled into my exercise here.

Here are Sharon’s questions and my answers:

What was your new year’s resolution (or theme/intention)?

My theme or word was curiosity.

What inspired this resolution in the first place?

I wanted to challenge my perfectionism and my fear of not being good enough, both of which were causing me to play small and hang back when I knew I had major potential. I thought assuming a stance of joy in uncertainty and wonder would lead me to uncover opportunities and parts of myself I had been blind to. I thought it would make me more bold and more creative as well as more compassionate and more understanding.

How has this resolution shown up in your life so far? How’s it been going?

And holy crap, has it ever done those things. And more. I couldn’t have even foreseen all the ways curiosity would manifest and what it would lead to. It’s hard for me to pinpoint specific examples, but I have been putting myself out there, leaning into uncertainty with reckless abandon that shows up as joyfulness, avoiding jumping to conclusions, forging new relationships, and learning so many new things old me would have previously shut herself off to. I can say without hesitation that while 2017 hasn’t been the easiest year of my life, it has seen the best version of me so far.

What have you learned from your resolution?

Strangely, and sort of fantastically, I have learned to trust myself. I feel like I need to type that like this: I LEARNED HOW TO TRUST MYSELF. That I CAN trust myself. This is huge. Curiosity taught me to seek to understand, and in doing so, I learned that I am capable of seeking. Even though I can’t predict outcomes, I can always trust the process and trust my capabilities.

What’s different today as a result of your resolution?

I am gaining confidence in myself. I am learning to love processes and detach from outcomes. I am deeply comfortable with uncertainty. I’m developing patience. I am learning self-compassion. And, I think I’m actually starting to like myself. That is difficult to “say out loud.” There’s still a part of me that’s like “Shh, don’t say that; people will be offended. None of us are actually supposed to like ourselves.” It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting comfortable with who I am.

What would deepen your practice of your resolution?

I think I want to combine trust and curiosity for the rest of the year to see what happens. I’ve got some high stakes events in my not-so-distant future, and I am curious what will happen if I just say to myself, “I trust you,” every step of the way. Like a mantra. Not only will I take heart in wondering, but I will trust that whatever I find out will be exactly the right next step on my path.

What will serve you as you look to the second half of 2017?

Lots of self-compassion. Lots of rest, lots of time away from the laptop. Seeking support from friends and seeking sunshine. Remembering that every two hours spent resting is worth one really good hour of work. Remembering that I am more than my work.

It’s January 1, 2018 and you and I are high-fiving about how 2017 was everything you hoped it would be – and then some. What are we celebrating?

It’s really tempting to list accomplishments here: I passed my exams, I passed my certification test for coaching. But I know I want to celebrate something more interior. We would be celebrating the fact that I always had everything I needed within myself. We would celebrate the fact that I know this to be true about every single person, and that hopefully I’ve helped someone else see this for themselves.

What will you commit to as you move through the second half of the year?

As a part of curiosity and trust, I think it’s important for me to commit to turning off more often. I need to spend less time on social media (i.e. less time in comparison mode). I need to allow myself guilt-free rest. I know I’m a creative and productive powerhouse when I am well-rested. I can do twice the work and better quality work in one hour when I am well-rested that I would normally force out in four hours if I am overworked and tired. I have to own this! I am holding myself accountable to the dear readers of this blog!

So that’s where I’m at. I’m feeling good, but we’re heading into some turbulent seas in the next few months. It will be important for me to check in with myself and my intentions regularly and honestly.


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