Sheer Clarity’s New Year’s Eve Resolution Checklist

Sheer Clarity New Year's Resolution CheckList

Yep, that’s right. You read it correctly. This is another New Year’s Resolutions List. Why is this one different from all the rest? Because it’s not doable. At least not by the end of 2020. It’s a list of things you will resolve to improve for the rest of your life. You start 2020 by deciding to work on yourself and all your relationships. You want to be a better human. This is how:

  1. Be more vulnerable. Face your fear that someone will think less of you if you admit you are, well, not perfect. You might get hurt in the process. There is no guarantee that someone won’t be a jerk and make fun of you. Or worse, take advantage of what they perceive is a weakness. You still come out a winner. You will reclaim a lot the personal and professional energy you are currently devoting to protecting yourself or hiding what you think is unattractive. There is a bonus. An overwhelming majority of people respond with appreciation and understanding.
  2. Be more open. This is a close cousin to vulnerability. It means allowing yourself to let others see more of you. The whole you. It also has a second meaning. Lose your quick-to-judge self. Allow for differences in every category. Be more open to other viewpoints, new ideas, and challenges to your way of thinking. Be open to those who disagree with you. This increases your approachability.
  3. Be more conscious of the power of trust. Are you trusting? Are you trustworthy? Do you work on being trusted as both a competent person and a person of high character? You need both to succeed, especially at work. If you are on a team, work to earn trust and keep it. It is the foundation of a true team. Make firm commitments and keep them. If you find you may miss an engagement, fess up and recommit. Vulnerability and openness are going to help you. Nothing increases your brand and impact more than a reputation for being trusted.
  4. Be more honest. This is more complicated than it sounds. First, you must be honest with yourself. No faking it, challenge yourself to question if you are being honest with yourself. Second, resolve to be more honest with others. Remember, a defensive reaction is more about the person having it than it is about you. Finally, find out if others are being honest with you. Inquire point-blank. “Are you being completely honest with me?” Invite people to tell you the truth, even if it stings. And above all else, do not get defensive, even if you feel the incoming honesty from another is simply not true, at least from your perspective. You must accept and manage that those perceptions are accurate for that person. You will survive. 
  5. Be more committed to work-life balance. Learn to say no to work and yes to spending time with family and friends. Make additional time for yourself. Keep a diary for a few weeks about how you spend your time. You already know instinctively when your life is out of balance. Too many people just ignore it until it’s too late. The penalties can be severe. Ask anyone whose marriage took the hit in exchange for climbing the corporate ladder. 
  6. Be on the lookout for imposter syndrome. It can catch you by surprise. At some point, you may find yourself wondering if you have the chops for a new promotion. You have risen to a level where self-doubts can show up. Don’t pretend. See vulnerability, openness, and self-honesty above. Ask for help. Leaders who say, “I’m not sure exactly what to do, but I am 100% sure we will figure it out together”, are held in higher regard than actors who try to fake it.
  7. Be a humbler leader. It means forgoing your own needs for control and recognition for the sake of others. Give away the praise. Put others on the podium to receive the awards. It’s not about you and your success. It’s about helping others succeed.

How’s that for your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions List? Simple to define, hard to execute, but worth the effort. This is the year you resolve to be that person we all love, respect, appreciate, and admire. Start the journey to be more vulnerable, open, honest, trusting, balanced, authentic, and humble. Progress, not perfection. Don’t worry if your application for sainthood gets lost in the mail. You get to enjoy the rich rewards from deep, lasting relationships with every person who is lucky enough to come across your path. Resolve that your light will shine brighter. We need your light in the world right now, more than ever. Happy New Year.

Sheer Clarity with J. Kevin McHugh