We all reach crossroads from time to time. Periods when life’s vicissitudes necessitate moving in a new direction—taking a turn or changing paths altogether. Some people embrace new situations whole-heartedly, savoring the adventure of change. Others feel a sense of loss over leaving the known behind and experience anxiety about what lies ahead. And sometimes we arrive at a crossroad because of a mistake or perceived failure on our part to achieve an intended result.
The most valuable lessons and best events of my life were born of what felt like failure at the time. Failures caused me to move in new and necessary directions that usually resulted in my biggest successes. This happened because my failures taught me what not to do. It may seem counter-intuitive that a good way to learn what we should do is by finding out what doesn’t work. But it’s true.
The post-Christmas week is a natural time to pause in our preparation for the new-year’s responsibilities and review the highs and lows of the year we’re about to put to bed. Thinking through the year as if it were a 10-Best-and-Worst list can bring clarity to where we really stand, and shed some light on how to proceed on the road. We can pat ourselves on our respective backs for jobs well done and plan ways to replicate those success stories in next year’s endeavors.
Reviewing the things that didn’t go as planned is perhaps an even more important task. By identifying what didn’t work in our lives, relationships, and jobs, and analyzing those efforts, we can learn what not do to in the upcoming year. We can use our failures like we use “SIRI” to alter courses of action, making u-turns and changing direction to reach targets. Making a habit of reviewing our actions in this way causes us to watch for life’s road signs, and to right our courses when we make a wrong turn. In doing so we become our own GPSs.
Once we’ve made corrections and chosen routes for the new year, we can look forward to embarking on our journeys without regretting the wrong turns that put us on our new paths. And we can celebrate our successes and toast the new year with anticipation.
Have a happy 2014 and enjoy the ride!
Image Courtesy of ddpavumba / Free Digital Photos