As the year speedily comes to a close tonight in just a few more hours, I’m reflective of the past year and the many insights I’ve gained. As I sip my glass of Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon, I'd like to share seven personal observations inspired by the last 12 months:
1. Go after what you want.
Don’t live the dreams of others but instead find what’s in your heart. My desire to spread my message to train others in how to create a supercharged integrated happy and productive life took me in front of many audiences this year as a keynote speaker. In January, I spoke to 200 CEOs from all over the country about "Time Management" and how to expand time effortlessly Two weeks ago, I gave a keynote talk at the Florida Encounter Convention at the West Palm Beach Hilton about the Wellness Tourism Industry and tips for personal wellness. In between, I had tons of speaking opportunities. One highlight was having the honor of addressing the World Conference of the USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) teaching coaches about how to access the “zone” intentionally for heightened performance. Here’s an excerpt from that presentation.
And by the way, speaking gigs can pay very well. So here’s my advice on getting quality prospects.
2. Let go of “stuff” that isn’t serving you.
When a Category 5 hurricane was barreling towards our community, Patrick and I made a quick decision and evacuated in just 90 minutes. I believed our home would be irretrievably buried under a tidal surge or windblown to bits. Our impulsive decision came at the end of a long day and forced me to instantly evaluate what “things” are important. What would I take? What would I leave behind? We survived with surprisingly little damage but the thoughts of loss were still weighing on my mind about possessions that actually have significance beyond my immediate existence. I would be sad to see them lost forever. I have several collectible photographs on my office walls by some of the greatest 20th Century photographers. I also have an enormous set of inherited Waterford crystals and stunning China dishes that I rarely use. It’s time to pass them on. Unfortunately, the generation following has no interest. One task for the New Year is to review and delegate which items will go to auction so they hopefully land in a home where they are appreciated and used to their fullest. I'm letting go!
3. Value your relationships.
Every day I’m grateful for the caring and supportive man in my life. My thanks became even more intensified this past June when I stood by his side through a total hip replacement. I trusted that he would be fine but there were always those niggling questions of “what if.” Not only did he come through the event victoriously but he now quips that since he also has titanium knee replacements, he can no longer opt for cremation but will have to go to a smelter.
This past year has also increased my awareness of the importance of family and friends and the connectedness that gives our life sustenance and meaning. I was particularly excited to reconnect with Cordelia, my former Greenwich Village roommate after 30 years. Here’s that story about friendships and the powerful secrets they teach us.
4. Every day, consider what you can give rather than what you can get.
In my books, programs and writing, I’m focused on sharing tools and techniques to make a difference in someone else’s life. My hope is to encourage and inspire others by walking my walk and teaching what I have learned. By giving, I’m always awed to realize how much I receive in return. In July I got an email from someone who said he was so touched and motivated by my book Escape From Anxiety—Supercharge Your Life With Powerful Strategies From A to Z that he went on to study at the university about stress and anxiety. He’s now written his own book to help his people and was emailing me to ask if I would write the Foreword. He lives in Tehran. You can read my contribution here. I could not have imagined through all the hard challenges I faced in completing my book that this contribution “out there” would reverberate in the far-away land of Iran.
Then just last night, I was touched by a Facebook post in which I offered my free course in setting intentions rather than making resolutions. (Here’s the session.) A student whose husband had been a coaching client of mine wrote: "...hoping to get to have more Peggy Sealfon time! I miss coming to your classes!" A simple heartfelt comment affected me deeply.
5. Collaboration is key.
Being part of the fastest growing personal development book series in the world has given me international contacts of like-minded individuals who are creating change and influencing their circles! It’s reaffirmed the impact of aligning with others. I’m co-author in Volume 9 of The Change—Insights into Self Empowerment, originally launched by Jim Britt (Tony Robbins' first mentor) and Jim Lutes. In a flash, I’ve linked to over 200 other coaches, musicians and movers and shakers scattered all over the globe. The synergy in this group is exciting and engenders hope for a better world.
Locally, I’ve been collaborating with a New York State Broadcast Hall of Famer Arnold Klinsky to provide workshops and training in improving speaking, presentations and networking skills, eliminating fears and obstacles. GreatPublicSpeaker.com We've already reached many awesome individuals through these programs.
An innovative program I had the privilege to launch in May with Debi DeBenedetto of Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau is The Wellness Tourism Visionary Task Force to establish a collaborative initiative of healthful, life-changing opportunities to attract wellness travelers from around the world to Southwest Florida. The ultimate purpose is to establish Florida’s Paradise Coast—with all its innate treasures—as a wellness destination and capitalize on the fast-growing multi-billion dollar wellness tourism industry. My personal interest lies in being able to offer more of my programs closer to my residence in breathtaking Naples, Florida. What collaborations are you pursuing?
6. Be open to synchronicity and serendipity.
Are you searching for your soul mate? A new job? A fun activity? When you allow yourself to surrender to the flow of life, miracles unfold. While attending an outdoor pool party hosted by the United States Tennis Association, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. We chatted and she mentioned a State tennis tournament was going to take place the following week in our area. “It would be fun to play in it,” I said casually, adding: “But I don’t really have a doubles partner.” Without hesitation, she suggested: “Why don’t we play together?” I heard myself agree and it seemed a bit far-fetched as we had never played doubles together. "Heck," I thought. "Go for the gusto." Amazingly, we were finalists which now sends us to compete in the Nationals in April 2018. Who’d ever have thought such an outcome was possible? We're now working on our doubles game together and enjoying every minute of it!
Another unusual experience happened when a student in one of my classes shared that he’s a farmer and his local biodynamic farm is a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. I was totally intrigued and immediately bought a share. Every week during growing season, I get to be nourished by delicious, nutrient dense foods grown not far from where I live. The farmer writes the most engaging and entertaining weekly newsletters describing the “morsels” he will be sending our way and also tales of his farming challenges. I’ve talked to him about turning a year in the life of his biodynamic farm experiences into a book of stories and recipes about unique Florida produce and sustainable foods! I’m hopeful we will complete this book project in 2018! The moral is that when you let go of judgments and are mindful, remarkable things can happen!
7. Patience and faith are worth cultivating.
On a Sunday morning in November as I was about to launch into the day's tasks, my hard drive crashed. Yep, it got corrupted and shut me down. At first I wasn't even concerned about the fact that I hadn't backed up any data in the previous six months. My immediate challenge was that I had a radio interview scheduled for Noon and the details were now irretrieveable. Fortunately I'd scrawled the name of the show on a piece of paper so I went to Patrick's computer to access the website which refused to load. What to do? I loaded my broken computer into my car along with my cellphone and headphones and parked outside the retailer Best Buy where I would spend the afternoon after waiting for the radio show's host to phone me. He called and told me they were waiting for me on the studio line. I explained my dilemna and he laughed confessing that his website had just crashed that morning. And so began the radio interview about dealing with stress and anxiety. Quite authentic! Afterwards, I bought a new computer, an external hard drive and left my corrupted device with the Best Buy Geeks to see if they could retrieve my data. In the meantime, I worked on loading what I could on the new one. Within a day, the brand new computer crashed. Got another new computer. It got stuck in a BitLock recovery screen. So I got yet another new computer (all major name brands) and it wouldn't load anything. Just spun and spun. I could've had a melt down. Well in truth, I did sob uncontrollably one afternoon. Then I practiced what I preach. Here are some of my hacks for dealing with overwhelm and exhaustion. After three highly frustrating weeks of lost productivity, I finally ended up with a far better result. I now have a very elegant big-screen desktop and a small 2-in-1 laptop for travel. It brings to mind an I-Ching mantra: Perseverance furthers. I'm so happy with my new set up and the reminder to exercise patience!
While politically in the United States, I have been filled with uncomfortable and aggravating reactions this year, I keep coming back to a deeper understanding that it is what it is. I posted this on Facebook yesterday:
Ultimately I believe we must walk our walk and be true to our own values. Live with integrity, purpose and embrace the new year with enthusiasm, energy and wisdom!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!