Doing It Differently in 2016: Humility, Gratitude and the Resiliency of Service

As the hustle and bustle of the new year begins to subside and we start to take on having a fresh start in stride, the time has come to keep the resolve we mustered up just a week ago to do it differently in 2016. I did not make any formal New Year's resolutions; however, I did set a few goals for this year as a result of taking time to reflect. Over the last year, there were things that went well, really well, and there were things that let's say did not go according to plan...

The truth is, on at least two occasions, I completely fell on my face in 2015. Anyone who knows me knows I physically fall on my face all the time (blame it on my four-inch stilettos and any place with stairs), but in preparing to do it differently in 2016, it behooves me to take a moment to acknowledge the times where I have figuratively fallen on my face. It is in these moments that give us the opportunity to grow, appreciate and course correct as one strives to continue to improve. Sparing you the gory details of these two or more occasions, I will say it got ugly, really ugly, with business, friendships and personal relationships all going awry. I certainly have a part in creating these challenging times, but there is something energizing about having made a mistake, facing the consequences head on and taking full responsibility for one's part with a big o' spoonful of humble pie. It is humility I found to be much needed, which gave way to gratitude, which gave way to the kind of fortitude that underlines the resiliency of service.

Humility
Humility, defined as a "modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance," helps me get right sized about how I conduct myself in the world, even when I am well-intentioned. No one wants to be taken advantage of or stepped on, yet too much focus on one's self can lead to behaviors based in fear, past traumas, and resentments that cause us to do more harm than good... it happens to the best of us. With the times I fell on my face in the last year, I can genuinely say they were honest mistakes, but each situation gave me pause to relook at my ethos, and the value I place on honesty, character, and my personal sense of integrity. More importantly in taking full responsibility for one's part and being open to feedback from others, we may be amazed that we are able to withstand whatever the consequences of our actions may be. We may not like it, it doesn't feel good, in fact it downright sucks, but we will make it through to the other side, with the lessons on how to do it differently in tow. It is in these lessons that we find gratitude.

Gratitude
Having gratitude for the opportunity to do things differently in 2016 begins with keeping in mind that we live within a higher purpose outside of ourselves. It is remembering that we are here living, breathing and experiencing the new year when so many are no longer with us. It is keeping in perspective the work that lies ahead coming off a year of resilience where Black Lives Matter continues to seek justice for the lives of our children taken at the hand of law enforcement, the citizens of New Orleans embarking on the next phase of the city's revitalization 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, the families of those impacted by acts of terrorism in Paris and around the world still picking up the pieces of their stolen loved ones, and it is being reminded when we fall, to take a moment to step outside of ourselves to join in making a positive impact on others and find our resiliency in being of service.

Resiliency of Service
There is this amazing thing that happens when we keep the focus on being of service. It becomes a breath of fresh air when we have been closed up too long, it's a balm on an open wound, and it proves as it will time and time again that service makes one's life infinitely better. In true service there is humility, putting one's own agenda aside for the greater good whether at the organizational, community or global level, or finding ways to give back big or small without the want for something in return. It is drawing inspiration when we see gratitude in others, or if you are a New Yorker like me it is seeing the resiliency of service in a one-legged breakdancer stealing the show on a subway platform doing more pop locks and flares on two crutches than I could have ever done at the height of my career as a contemporary trained dancer. My goal in this coming year is to push the reset button on humility, gratitude and the resiliency of service. To recognize that our actions do impact others and how I respond in situations is up to me because we cannot control anyone else's behavior. We are human, we make mistakes, and we fall. But we can choose to live in gratitude, be resilient, and know there is always an opportunity to do it differently going forward.

Doing it differently in 2016, is asking the question where do I want to put my energy this year? I encourage each of you today to take a few moments to reflect on how you have been blessed over the last 12 months in the good and the ugly. Let's take the opportunity to pay it forward by doing it differently with humility, gratitude and the resiliency of service.