I attended two New Year’s events this season that featured bonfires. At each gathering, we were encouraged to say goodbye to anything negative that happened in 2012 by burning lists or symbolic items.
These annual cleanses resonated with me because I believe that God taught me some huge business and life lessons last year. I had so many betrayals and disappointments to let go of by way of the flames and smoke, but I realized that the painful incidents taught me to reclaim my power.
If you want a fresh start this year, these steps can help you reclaim your power:
1. Prune Your Life of Negativity: I’m all for working things out with folks and finding compromises, but sometimes, a relationship or situation is difficult to redeem. A lot of times, these circumstances are temporary in nature and you have the ability to make sweeping changes if you choose to.
For example, if you have a boss who constantly sabotages and poisons the well for you, how about moving to another position? If a so-called friend has seriously burned you, how can you distance yourself? Have the courage to do some pruning. Once you are free of a draining situation, a more energizing one can come into your life.
I’ve never regretted leaving a bad boss, and I’ve never regretted replacing backstabbing “friends” with genuine friends. Looking back on it, my only regret is not having the guts to make changes sooner!
2. Examine Your Life for Patterns: If you’ve noticed an influx of icky treatment in your life over a particular period of time, what happened? Did a life change bring it on? I can tell you that I’ve noticed surges of dishonest and unethical behavior from people around me when I have a big success in my career or personal life. Despite my generosity and willingness to pay it forward, some people seem to cave to the green, ugly monster within when I achieve something great.
Coming out of my denial and noticing this social pattern has helped me establish more effective boundaries. Although it’s disappointing when people are threatened by my successes, I realized that I can reduce nasty surprises by being more purposeful about who I partner with and allow in my inner circle.
3. Refresh Your Environment: You deserve a positive environment to thrive in. A plant needs the right soil and the proper amount of sunlight and water to grow healthy and strong. You, as a person, need a hospitable environment to do your best, too. Is your office neat? Do you have your most important paperwork at home organized? What images do you have around that are inspiring and lift your spirits?
Admittedly, I’m still a work in progress on this note, but I bought a bunch of nifty and economical home organization stuff from Ikea a week ago. Take one step at a time if you struggle with tidiness. Even a few minutes a day could improve your mindset, and reduce the time you spend scrambling for lost items or feeling bad over your mess.
4. Build a Supportive Network: You will reach your goals so much easier if you intentionally keep awesome people around you who cheerfully support what’s important to you. I mean, how many times have you not done something because so-and-so gave you a discouraging look or comment? Good advice is one thing, but if you feel constantly dragged down, that’s different!
For example, I am expecting my first child and want a natural, healthy birthing experience. I realized that my original doctor’s office and hospital did not share my philosophy. I switched to a baby and mother-friendly birthing center and hired a team of doulas. I feel so much better! Now, I have people around me who champion what I want and who I want to be.
Making these changes in my life has reminded me of cleaning my house. In order to bring new and better stuff in, you have to throw away the old and broken items first. But what a great feeling when you purge. It’s like a breath of fresh air! And oxygen is power.