It is a rainy day here in Seattle, and I am next to my fireplace with a warm cup of coffee grateful to be sitting in the precious space between a year passing and a year to come.
There is so much to celebrate in 2018. I admire our amazing fierce team, they woke up every day devoted to helping others talk about what matters. I admire our courageous facilitators and clients who embraced change, who didn't settle for status quo, and who helped their people and teams have the conversations they needed to have. I admire our international partners who continued to build their businesses in areas of both economic prosperity and instability, even amidst conflict and war, with our collective goal of creating a common language across continents. It is humbling work. Work that I consider a profound privilege and a serious responsibility.
From the depth of my heart, I look forward to the year ahead. Sharing more with you as a community—engaging with you and learning from you.
As we start on this new path, I will always lead with positivity. Not blind optimism, rather realistic optimism. I'll encourage us to believe the future will be positive, all the while, being ready for all potential obstacles. This positive inclination started at an early age. I moved houses, schools, and communities every 18 to 24 months when I was young, I had to choose to thrive…or suffer. I experimented between those two choices often—it wasn't always pretty. I've learned its best to lean towards the positive, to thriving.
I want us all to thrive. That means you. That means your companies, your families, and your communities.
Our mission at Fierce is to transform the conversations central to our clients' success. Our vision is to better the world–one conversation at a time. I have been with Fierce for nine years and can say with deep conviction that fierce conversations, those real conversations where we come out from behind ourselves, are more relevant now than they were when I first started at Fierce.
And we have our work cut out for us. We are struggling as nations, as companies, as leaders, as families to navigate change and solve some of our biggest problems. Worse, we've elected people globally who lead with fear–whether it be a fear of change, fear of others, or fear of differing perspectives.
Collectively, we look to the wrong places to feel more alive–changes to the cars we drive, where we live, where we work, and what possessions we buy–rather than connecting more deeply with one another.
There are real obstacles ahead. We are often so busy trying to find something or someone to blame, that we miss talking about what really matters altogether. We talk around the issues and problems, and not directly as we should.
After thousands of hours of conversations this past year with our team, our community, and with myself, for us to truly thrive in 2019, it is necessary for us to let go of beliefs that aren't working and embrace a very important belief about our own happiness as individuals.
It all starts with letting go of beliefs that aren't working for you. Letting go is hard to do. It is hard with physical possessions, and even harder with that which we can't see.
Imagine you are moving to a new home, and you only have one small box that you can use to carry your most prized items from one home to another. Years go by, and it is time to move again. You have accumulated more prized items, and yet, there isn't enough space in that same box if you keep everything from a few years ago. You must make choices about what to carry with you in the next chapter.
The same applies to your beliefs. Beliefs run our lives. They are behind the curtain, we don't even notice them. When did you last pause and reflect on your beliefs?
Start by looking at an area of your life where you are not happy with the results. Perhaps an area you want to see change in 2019. Interrogate reality and evaluate which beliefs are working and which are not. Let the old, ineffective beliefs go.
When you let go, you make room for new beliefs. Here is one that I believe is vital for all our future success: Happiness is an inside job. In other words, you are the only one responsible for your happiness–not your husband or wife, your mother or father, your boss, or your priest or rabbi. It starts and ends with you. That is a BIG deal, and the moment you step into that responsibility, the more control you have.
We are bombarded by false offerings of happiness. And yet, deep down we feel most alive and are most happy when we forge rewarding relationships with one another and have the conversations that matter.
And the most important conversation is with yourself.
I love the quote from author, Howard Thurman, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Do you know what makes you come most alive? Have that conversation with yourself. Inside is where you must start.
I want to leave you with an excerpt from one of my favorite books I read in 2018, Martin Marten by Brian Doyle.
People are stories, aren't they? And their stories keep changing and opening and closing and braiding and weaving and stitching and slamming to a halt and finding new doors and windows through which to tell themselves, isn't that so? Isn't that what happens to you all the time?
It used to be when you were little that other people told you stories about yourself, and where you came from, but then you began to tell your own story, and you find that your story keeps changing in thrilling and painful ways, and it's never in one place. Maybe each of us is a sort of village, with lots of different beings living together under one head of hair, around the river of your pulse, the crossroads of who you were and who you wish to be.
Embrace the changes that you most need–especially the inside ones–and make room for what you need most in the year to come.
Write your story in 2019, one conversation at a time. Make it fierce.
P.S. – If you want to learn more about what we see coming in 2019, check out our latest workplace predictions.