The word “normal” is so last year! 2021 is already begging us to toss out our personal and professional rulebook and rewrite new ideas, challenge existing boundaries and zero in on what makes us tick. If everything is not as it was, then by extension, what is possible now?
While many of us may be waiting for the momentum of the new year, or for things to right themselves, or for the unknown to be known, what still remains is that in order to move ahead, in order to recalibrate, we have to decide. Choice is power. Choice is self-leadership.
In order to level up every day pedestrian decision-making, infuse an element of serendipity and daring into the equation. Think back to your schoolyard days. If someone dared you to do something, it often elevated your game, increased the intrigue and doubled down on your competitive thought process. Daring erases what scares you just long enough for you to activate a new beginning.
The key to creating new rules? Be curious about what you are about to do.
Even if you are the expert on a specific topic, there is always something new to learn or modify. Probing a bit further, and engaging with an open mind says “yes” to fresh perspectives and refreshed ideas. If you are beginning something that you have never done before, or know nothing about, challenge yourself to research the topic and to interview others who are already successfully doing what you are interested in. Beginning anything starts with your ability to learn and advance. Exercise your right to explore. Then begin from wherever you are! Remember that you are not starting over, rather you are starting from the mid-point, bringing to everything you do all the skillsets and life history that got you to now.
Lean into the possibilities. Dare yourself to do so!
Each of these 10 dares is an invitation to create new impactful habits.
1. Dare to do something that scares you.
Then, debrief the experience. Was it exhilarating and fun, or mediocre and traumatic? What does this dare enable you to do more or less of now? Rinse and repeat this.
2. Dare yourself to spend time alone.
A date alone with your thoughts, perhaps doing something mindless to recharge, is often one of the things that slips through the cracks of a busy life. If you get to know yourself better, you up the energy on every other relationship in your life.
3. Dare to put yourself first on your calendar.
You may not be creating space for action steps after you pencil in everything else. So reverse engineer the process and create space for professional aspirations and personal down time first.
4. Dare yourself to be present.
Every time you focus on yesterday or overthink tomorrow, you rob yourself of today. Start with a weekend and challenge yourself to stay in the moment for all 48 hours. Keep your energy and your actions positioned on what you can do right now. What shifts?
5. Dare to ask for something you want.
Without even realizing it, you may be asking for things that you do not want to happen rather than those that you do. Let go of that narrative and boldly ask for a referral or a connection, or a raise or simply for something different.
6. Dare yourself to get one solid goal accomplished.
Then another. Instead of focusing on all of your goals and dreams, prioritize one or two important ones. Resist the need to overload yourself with other shiny objects and work strategically to accomplish what you envisioned. Once complete, move on to the next one. Can’t complete as envisioned? Then tweak and recalibrate your goal to move forward.
7. Dare to be more accepting.
The moment you stop tolerating is the moment you begin accepting. Acceptance requires you to let go of judgement and to authentically be okay with situations as they unfold, minus preset agendas and expectations. Acceptance frees your mind and elevates your energy level to expand upon what is possible.
8. Dare to forgive.
Forgiving someone does not mean that you forgot what happened or that you even agree with it. What it does mean is that you are willing to let go of that imperfect moment for the good of the overall relationship. Forgiveness frees your mind and your heart for greater expansion and growth.
9. Dare to set boundaries that fit.
Great decision-making begins with flexible boundaries. Running your own business with the same rules and strategies that defined your corporate role will hamper your success. Choosing the same rituals over and over again in relationships will, over time, begin to feel ill-fitted. That is because as you change and the world changes, the rules, boundaries, and traditions that define what you do and how you do it have to change as well. Seek the alignment between the moment and who you are in it. It is at that intersection that boundaries get re-written.
10. Dare to hold a mirror up.
Fact check your life daily. See your reflection, engage your senses and get in the habit of separating negative chatter from nurturing conversations, real from imagined and limitations from possibilities. It is only in consistently meeting yourself that you can understand to expand, and grow to know. It is only when you fully reveal yourself that you are organically present and with that awareness comes self-leadership and a legacy lived. Seeing things as they authentically are separates fact from fiction. It clarifies next steps. Self-reflection forms the foundation of every new beginning.
How do you want to reinvent yourself in 2021? How will you dare to begin?