Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Take-a-Bow Tuesday

The crisp winter air invigorated me as Iris and I walked to the car from dinner on Sunday evening. It had been a long day and I still had much that I wanted to accomplish. I climbed behind the wheel, turned the key and pulled onto Main Street heading west towards home.

As the defroster filled the car with warm, dry air, my sense of fatigue returned. My get-it-done auto-pilot kicked in running the series of pre-launch activities that brings me focus, clarity and energy, but something inside me resisted as though the park brake were still engaged. My energy was increasing but compromised.

I looked at Iris and said, "Wow, I don't know why I feel so tired tonight. It's only eight o'clock and I still have so much to do tonight."

Iris looked at me smiling and said, "Maybe it's because you've been working for the last fourteen hours?"

"Huh?", I thought. "Oh yeah, all that stuff happened today."

I'd been so caught up with all I hadn't yet done, that I'd completely lost sight of all I had done.

Then Iris said, "You know, you should really try to get better at being grateful for yourself and acknowledging all you do!"


Part of me thought, "Yeah, that would be great, but then I'd probably end up slowing down and doing less."

But another part thought, "Hmmm, let's give that a shot."

I replayed my day from the beginning, trying to recall all the activities: firing up the wood stoves, cleaning up the kitchen, juicing the veggies, posting a blog, coding software, recording tracks for a couple of new songs, preparing lunch, working on new characters for my novel (that's another story), practicing trumpet, practicing bass, catching up on email, packing up gear and heading out to a five-hour rehearsal. Okay, so I did do something after all.

As I ran through my list, a sense of satisfaction welled up inside of me. A satisfaction that didn't make me feel complacent, but instead, inspired to continue.

I considered all this and it occurred to me that one of the side-effects of becoming really process-oriented (versus goal-oriented) in the pursuit of individual activities is that you often fail to notice all the goals you've accomplished. So I'm thinking my new mantra might be:

goals in the future,
process in the moment,
accomplishment in retrospect

That Iris has some good ideas.

This morning as I stood before the kitchen sink cleaning dishes and washing veggies, it occurred to me that, as the curtain draws on the end of the year, it's easy to get caught up in all that you didn't accomplish this year or all that you want to accomplish in the new year. It's easy for those two to squeeze out any recognition of what you did accomplish.

Perhaps it's time to take a moment to recognize our accomplishments (independent of whether or not we achieved our initial goals) and the accomplishments of those around us, to take a bow as the 2010 curtain is drawing to a close.

In celebration of the winter solstice, I'd like to declare today, Take-a-Bow Tuesday! So at lunch today (you can do this with your colleagues at work) or dinner tonight (with your family and friends), have each participant stand up and take a bow by listing his or her accomplishments of 2010. Others can chime in to inspire or add to the list. You can even applaud (holding applause to the end is optional).

Time to celebrate all that you've done!

Happy Take-a-Bow Tuesday!

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