As I consider 2012, and also the many conversations with the Fierce team, our clients, friends and family, and importantly with myself, here are a few suggestions for 2013: six don’ts and six do’s.
First the "don'ts"...
- Don’t let anyone shut you up, erase your personality, shut you down.
- Don’t make up stories about people and behave as if they are true.
- Don’t mistake rearranging your prejudices for thinking.
- Don’t teach your children to hate.
- Don’t make a list of characteristics for your ideal man or woman.
- Don't dwell on what's wrong, on what you don't want in your life.
Now the “do’s”…
- There is only one you. You have a voice. Enrich the conversation. With courage, compassion, and skill.
- Before you get upset, ask people if your interpretation of an email they sent, or something they said or did is correct. Be willing to be wrong. If you were right, ask questions. Lots of them.
- You will not always be right, so invite and encourage competing ideas. Listen intently, without interrupting. Say “Tell me more.” Say “Thank you.”
- Teach your children to love themselves and others. Watch Bernadette Peters sing Children Will Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gey1PtXYwLI. In the movie, The Help, the maid, Aibilene, tells Mae Mobley over and over, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” Doesn’t get better than that.
- Be the ideal man or woman. Be your list.
- We bring into our lives whatever it is that we have the most clarity about. Sadly, we tend to have the most clarity about what we don’t want. So that’s what we get. This world has its troubles, but there is far more good out there than evil. Focus on that. Add to it. Be a force.
And lastly, this excerpt from Advice to Myself, by Louise Erdrich:
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
With fierce affection,