Make 2017 Better By Learning From 2016

Many people I know were happy to say goodbye to 2016. The top complaints seem to be:

  • The loss of “too many” celebrities or artists (actors, authors, musicians that inspired them) and in some cases, people and family who we love and are close to
  • The crazy US election, and a result that feels intolerable to them
  • The awareness that we are still far from our ideal of justice for all
  • Things are not good where they work

It’s tempting with any milestone – new year, birthday, anniversary, work anniversary, annual review, etc – to convince yourself that the future, starting today, will be different; that some aspect of the past will no longer be a factor.

We can’t wish our concerns and problems away, and if you look at the list of the big four items up there, we may have more influence over some of them than we think.

Many people realized too late, for example, that they could have participated more heavily in the election process. If you are surrounded by similar minded people who, for the most part, were planning to vote as you did, than you may have felt your influence wasn’t needed. We got this. If you chose to make your point and win people over with Facebook posts, then you were playing a losing game.

So, now that we are into the new year, here is my advice for taking control of these complaint items. Don’t just be glad 2016 is over, because the year did not control the outcome – people did. Including you.

  1. People die. Loved ones, those who inspire us. Everyone. Family members, people who inspire us, people we despise. You can’t control this, other than to make sure that you are helping the people you love take the best care of themselves they are willing to. Make sure the people you love know that you love them.
  2. Vote. Write your representatives and make sure your opinion is known. Step up to the process and work with others to effect change. This is not easy, because we live in what we now see is a polarized culture. And people like their poles.
  3. The oppression of minorities in the US concerns me more than anything on this list. For my part, I know that when leaders I work with talk about diversity, and the “great strides”, I will turn the discussion to equality. I also think the notion of “progress toward diversity goals” in many companies is ridiculous. We are in the 21st century, and yet progress seams sufficient to many. Let’s just get to “achievement” already.
  4. If things at work are not going well for you, it’s time to look inward. Acknowledge what you can about what you can do differently, what you will choose to do differently. And if “it’s not me, it’s them”, then it is time to get out and find that new job. “They” are not going to change to make your work life better.

Don’t hate 2016 and forget it’s lessons. Learn from them and make 2017 the milestone you will forever be grateful for.

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