Fuel for Thought
By Kent Lewis
The holidays are typically a time of reflection, a time to evaluate the highs and lows of the past year. For some of us, it's also a time to think about and plan for the year ahead. Since 1995, I've written down New Year's resolutions, and evaluated my performance at the end of the year. I find it to be a wonderful way to achieve goals and put markers in the ground that make me feel like I've done something productive and evolved just a little bit more as a person.
Looking back on my 2004 resolutions, I was able to cross off 10 of the 12 items on my list, a few of which I never really thought I'd actually do (road trip to Glacier, first trip to Europe) and others that have been on my list for years, as I've been unable to get around to them (triathlon). On the plus side, the 10 items I did complete were important to me and give me a sense of accomplishment that will provide momentum into 2005.
I've also recently started a separate, but related, list that is equally inspirational. It's a list of reminders in my Palm of why I should feel excited, grateful and perhaps a little lucky to be alive and kicking. Whenever something uniquely wonderful happens in my day, personally or professionally, I add them to my list. You'd be surprised how quickly positive happenings can add up when you keep track.
For example, a professional peer of mine recently asked me to lunch to bounce some ideas off of me. She said thought of me because she respected my perspective and experience. That felt really good. Also on the professional side of things, my greatest accomplishment was turning a client around from being prepared to discontinue the relationship with my company at the start of the meeting, to committing to an annual budget for 2005. Personally, I've been blessed with an amazing wife and a baby daughter, both of whom give me new reasons to feel special on a daily basis.
While my company, Anvil Media, has been around since 2000, I only really ramped it up as a full-time venture in January 2004. Since then, I've hired four employees, serviced 40 clients and surpassed our revenue goals. Most importantly, I feel like Anvil Media has the best team and client base I have ever worked with. I do enjoy what I do for a living, but it's just a piece of the puzzle. I volunteer for a variety of non-profits (SMART, Loaves & Fishes, Raphael House and Portland Advertising Federation) and plan to continue supporting those efforts.
I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking up (and writing down) your own New Year's resolutions, and start your own list of reasons you're happy to be alive. It will offer you a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence and well-being that will make your life (and the lives of those around you) that much better. And don't forget to give resources (time or money) to charities that inspire you. Happy new year.