By Dierdra Howard • January 03, 2017•Writers in Residence, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
I will open myself to new opportunities and experiences in all aspects of my life and welcome the uncertainty they bring.
January is the beginning of the calendar year, a month of fresh starts, resolutions and renewal. It offers each of us one more chance to get it right. Use this as a launching pad to establish fresh goals and to open yourself to new opportunities and experiences. Deviating from the familiar can be anxiety provoking, I know; I’m a woman who ate the same packed lunch for the better part of a year. Change has not always been a friend of mine. However, walking into the unknown often yields the most life altering results.
I’ve found that the adage is true; in order to have something you’ve never had; you often have to do something you’ve never done. I first moved to the DC area from northeast Ohio in 2012. I accepted a lateral position with the hope of securing a promotion in an area with more options. It was a serious gamble professionally, in that I was leaving a legal community that I had been actively involved in for seven years with no promise of promotion. It was also a gamble financially. I had a mortgage in Ohio and rent in DC, with no significant increase in salary. I was using a small savings to offset the rent that would allow me to make it for just one year. Frankly, it could have been a complete failure. Now, I didn’t just walk perilously into the unknown. When you take a big risk, it should be calculated. You have to take steps to place yourself in the best posture for a favorable outcome. I reduced my rent significantly by living with two close friends in DC, I hit the ground running with respect to applying for promotional opportunities and I was very prudent financially, forgoing tempting happy hours and online shopping so I could save as much money as possible. After that, I left the rest up to fate. Taking my hands off was scary; however, this leap not only opened the door to a promotion four months shy of my one-year deadline, but also wonderful experiences both professionally and personally. I would not be where I am today had I not taken that chance on the unknown.
As you start your 2017 journey, seek to accept new opportunities and aspire to new goals that you may have shied from in the past. This year may be one for big changes or just small adjustments. What matters is not the size of your ambitions, but that you open yourself and embrace the unknown.
Accept a project, assignment or invitation that you normally would decline as falling outside of your comfort zone. Make peace with the discomfort and uncertainty and experience it fully. Allowing yourself to actually feel the anxiety and push past it, will ease future fears of deviating from the familiar.
TRY SOMETHING NEW! To a certain degree, we are all creatures of habit, especially when hectic schedules require us to be good stewards of our time. But there is some wiggle room to try something new. Whether it’s changing gyms, walking to work, or trying group classes, give something new a chance. Participating in an unfamiliar physical activity not only challenges your body, but it gives you the opportunity to experience new people, perspectives and energy.
Asana of the Month:
Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana): This standing pose will physically open you to all the possibilities this year has to offer and help you push past some of your anxieties.
Stand tall with your feet together, raise your arms over your head and interlock your fingers with the exception of your index fingers. Bend back as far as comfortable, dropping your head. Hold the pose for three deep breaths.
You can find additional breathing space by visiting me on Facebook at Project OM and on Twitter at @Project__OM (double underscore)