Time To Punch In

If you’re reading this, I surmise that you—like myself—have survived yet another holiday season. Seems like the real world goes on hold for the better part of a month, what with shopping, putting up decorations, baking cookies, visiting friends, giving and receiving presents, polishing off the rest of the cookies, taking down the decorations, and returning to the stores to exchange presents and replenish gift wrapping supplies at bargain rates.

And so we arrive at the New Year: tired, relieved, overweight and with the tail end of a sugar hangover. Thus prepared, we must face a new calendar full of opportunities, responsibilities and of course, those pesky resolutions.

I’ve never been one to mark the passage of time with the New Year. For me, the World Series is a much more significant benchmark. I can tell you where I was for each of the last 40 or so World Series: 1975: watched Pudge Fisk’s body English home run from the All American Bar in Minneapolis; 1982: watched the beloved Cardinals best the Brewers from the comfort of my rented apartment; 1986: enjoyed cheering on the Red Sox with David Shapiro in a Santa Fe tavern…right up until Buckner’s error; 1990: well, you get the idea. On the other hand, with the exception of 3 days ago, I have no idea where I’ve been on New Year’s. And not always for the reason that people typically can’t remember their New Year’s antics.

So for me, the New Year doesn’t represent the vanishing of another year as much as it does a return to work. After a month of putting off business activities, the dawn of 2010 is a time to punch in. It’s time to contact prospects and existing clients, develop new offerings and get busy creating and selling value.

But it’s also a time to punch in as a human being. December tends to be a month of personal amnesty: I pardon myself to eat too much, drink too much and generally avoid future-focused activities for the lure of the now. Don’t get me wrong: I love the holidays, especially Christmas. And it’s not just because it’s my birthday. I find the Christmas season to be one where I (and most others I encounter) are cheerful and joyous toward one another. Even that guy who took the primo parking spot I had been waiting for got an extra measure of slack from me, whereas at another time of the year he might have gotten the “Flying Finger of Friendship” and a brief lecture on proper parking lot etiquette.

So, as I face this new year, I’m going to make an effort to build myself as well as my professional brand. I’m resolved to:

  • Keep the spirit that powered me through the holidays as I venture forth into 2010
  • Remember that not everyone’s behaviors are driven with my best interests in mind…in fact, some don’t even know I exist. So, when something they do makes me unhappy, I’ll bear in mind that it probably wasn’t their intention, and let it go.
  • Hold the joy I felt on Christmas Day throughout 2010. After all, I have much to be grateful for, and believe that the best is yet to come.

So, for 2010,  I’m going to punch in and strive to make all the days of the next year like those just past: full of friends, colleagues, clients that I treasure, full of laughter, smiles and the wonderful feeling that doesn’t have to come but once a year.

All of that, and perhaps a little less sugar.

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