“When the music changes, so does the dance.”

“When the music changes, so does the dance.”

—West African proverb

Image from Unsplash by Mitchell Orr

For most of us, it has been quite some time since we’ve gone anywhere to dance. Weddings and other large gatherings where we celebrate and let loose with our best moves seem like distant memories of better times.

It feels like we’ve been engaged in a kind of musical chairs where the chairs are being removed and the music of change starts and stops without notice. We’re all on heightened alert, anxious about staying in the game and securing our seat.

As we look to find our footing in the new year, many of us are beginning to feel the beat and rhythm of new opportunities and possibilities to dance again.

EXERCISE:

How can you make and listen to the music of a better future for yourself and your communities? Where can you discover and create new opportunities to dance and celebrate your life in the year ahead?

“No man steps in the same river twice.”

“No man steps in the same river twice.”

—Heraclitus, Ancient Greek, pre-Socratic, Ionian philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Roma Ryabchenko

When you examine the pace of change in your life, what do you see?

When you look at your various communities, where do you notice small, subtle changes? Where are the tectonic shifts far more noticeable?

Just as a river changes its flow and its course over time, our lives are always flowing from one day to the next. To fight or resent such change is like grabbing a handful of air.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently upset and angry about the course of your life?

Where are you trying to paddle upstream against the currents of change?

How can and will you instead step into the new river of each day, embracing and influencing your journey?

 

“Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction.”

“Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Eunice Stahl

Few of us are sailing the high seas or doing much boating these days. All of us, however, have seen dramatic climate changes in the weather, and in society. To what degree are you being buffeted or pushed around by the winds of change?

Alternatively, how are you learning to adjust your personal and professional sails and rudders to navigate toward safer harbors and a better world?

How is a meteorologist different from a sailor? Which of these professions reports and forecasts the changes occurring — and which uses that information to direct and adjust their efforts towards desired destinations?

EXERCISE:

How can and will you take more mindful moments during these dynamically changing times to clarify and pursue your path?

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.”

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.”

—Rick Godwin, American Pastor

Image from Unsplash by NeOBRAND

We all know in our heads and even in our hearts that change is inevitable. The law of impermanence is pretty evident, yet our need for control has us always swimming upstream against the currents of life.

What is there to lose? is a question worth exploring deeply. It is this real or perceived loss that troubles us most. The Serenity Prayer, originally written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932, can be helpful to navigate such waters. The modern version reads:

God grant me the Serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things
I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference

EXERCISE:

Where and how can a shift of mindset to a positive, opportunistic view of change help you explore and realize previously invisible gains that await you?

“You cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction.”

“You cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction.”

—Edward de Bono, Author of Six Thinking Hats

Image from Unsplash by marianne bos

Many of us are doing a lot more thinking about our thinking these days. With things changing all around us, most of us are taking significantly more time to explore our perspectives, attitudes, and values.

Where has this expanded and broader view taken you? Where are you simply looking harder in the same direction, hoping for the old normal?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you move beyond looking harder in the same direction to take some new and courageous steps in a better direction?

Please reply to this post with any insights you are inspired to act upon today.

“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”

“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”

—Sir Tom Stoppard, British playwright and screenwriter

How has your life changed over the last few months? Where have you exited from the familiar aspects of your pre-COVID-19 life, into uncharted waters? What have you done to right your ship and chart your course forward as you enter each new day?

A tool coaches often use with their clients in the development of goals is called the Wheel of Life, in which each spoke represents a priority in one’s life. The list can be modified based on your areas of greatest importance:

• Family • Relationships • Health • Finance • Adventure
• Spirituality/Faith • Work/Profession • Community • Personal Growth • Learning

EXERCISE:

Consider discussing your own life priorities with family, friends, colleagues, mentors, a coach, or other trusted adviser to more fully explore your own transitioning efforts of exits and new entrances.

How can the support of these individuals help you live a more full and meaningful life?

“A level-headed person is one who doesn’t get dizzy doing good turns.”

“A level-headed person is one who doesn’t get dizzy doing good turns.”

—O.A. Battista, 20th Century Canadian-American chemist and author

Image from Unsplash by Dayne Topkin

There is no question that the world is a dizzying place these days. What has recently changed in your personal and professional communities that has turned your life upside down?

To help you stabilize your world and regain some footing, many folks are bringing new levels of empathy, compassion, and generosity to those around them. What good turns are you observing these days in your various communities?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you both acknowledge and actively participate in these efforts to realize a more level-headed world?

Please reply to this post with some examples of the good turns you are seeing and doing to regain your footing.

“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you either need to change your habits or change your dream.”

“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you either need to change your habits or change your dream.”

—Sam Horn, American author and communications strategist

Image from Unsplash by Jakob Owens

Thoughts become things only when we take action.

Wishful thinking is not a good strategy for success. Even new millionaires who won the lottery knew they had first to buy a ticket.

To pretty much guarantee yourself a winning ticket in your life lottery, take a good look at your habits and daily practices.

If you are healthy inside and out, you likely eat well, exercise, get adequate rest, and probably have a few other self-care and spiritual practices.

What are your dreams for this year and beyond? To what degree are you progressing toward them through your daily efforts?

EXERCISE:

Consider swapping out one new good habit for one that is holding you back. To explore how to do this, consider studying and applying the work of Charles Duhigg in his brilliant book, The Power of Habit.

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

—Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational speaker/author

Image from Unsplash by Isaac Smith

Do yourself a big favor and set some worthy goals for the new year.

If you are like many of us, you are thinking, I do this every year, or maybe why bother?

Perhaps, like many people, you stick to your resolutions until sometime in February, when things fall apart due to bad weather, waning discipline, or competing priorities at home or work.

Whatever you do or don’t do, you can bet that changes are coming. The question to ask yourself is whether you are going to control their direction, or simply react to whatever comes your way.

EXERCISE:

Please consider improving your odds of success by adding a variety of social and structural supports. To learn more about how to do this, put the book Influencer – The Power to Change Anything on your holiday and new year reading list.

“All beginnings are difficult.”

“All beginnings are difficult.”

—Rabbinic maxim

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.

Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?

In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”

Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?