Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The fuel door on my car is busted. We had a little mishap at the gas station the other day and the fuel door latch was thankfully the only minor casualty. It won’t take much to replace it however the interruption to the crush of work and holiday schedule is annoying. It sounds odd perhaps but I think it was my car’s way of telling me to slow down the usual pace before moving forward. Compatible to the inevitable year-end reflection and resolution-making, the following is my glimpse in the rear view mirror and course corrections for the road ahead:

o Encouragement. This has been the all-purpose road sign of the year! Vague ideas, frustrations, cocktail conversation, and constructive feedback all incited action in 2009. Starting the blog, my recent published article (“Be the CEO of You”), and a significant de-cluttering of the clothes closet were a few new things that made it into the line-up. Support and encouragement from others indicate that people are listening, observing, and willing to engage. We all need propping up when the going gets rough, but encouraging someone when they have momentum or enthusiasm is just as important. It can come from anywhere and you have to be open to receive it. Many consider encouragement the personal green light giving you permission to go-go-go. I view mine as a yield sign, allowing me to assess the surroundings appropriately before moving ahead.

o Patience and Persistence. This combination is my fuel. I need more and will use more to go farther. One without the other is like sand in the gas tank! I have learned to be more persistent about achieving my goals, and to be patient so that results will come with the right level of persistence. Onward.

o “Social” is my word of the year. Yeah yeah, “social networking” is the latest buzz phrase. “Tweet” is not a verb in my vernacular, although I make good use of online networking tools. It provides an avenue to stay connected with clients, customers, colleagues, friends old and new, family members (who are among my very best friends), and assorted professional contacts developed over the years, all who have and are becoming more than just a roadside attraction. Online activities prompted more in-person interaction which is both professionally and personally rewarding. My chosen career as a legal search executive requires constant interpersonal interaction which is one reason I like it so much! Lawyers, business executives, recruiting and HR professionals, it’s a fascinating mix! Best scenery for this driver is one that changes all the time. Social is always part of my course.

o Community. Regardless of your political views, election and inauguration days were momentous occasions in our nation’s history. Voting speaks. So does other political activism like writing to elected officials or engaging in political forums and political action committees. The future is too important to abdicate by inaction. Contributing to community helps people help themselves, which has never been more important in a time when others are struggling. You are likely reading this because you have access to the internet, which puts you among a privileged group of people. Good, that means you have something to spare.  Time, money, goods, or services – write a check, cook dinner at a shelter for families in transition, help out once a month at a legal aid clinic…. it isn’t rocket science. Contributing improves life for others. We all live in each other’s ripple. Speak up! Get with it! Get on the bus Gus and take the damn wheel!

o Wildlife encounters. From bears in the backyard to seals on the city beach, animals are sure to cross our path. Animal interaction reminds us we all share the planet. Be mindful that we share a precious resource and we will all have somewhere to go for many years ahead.

o Humor. My motor won’t engage without this essential. Drama is meant for the theater. As my cousin Kai was fond of saying, “get over it.” Sometimes you have to stop and see the levity. Be willing to snicker at your own foibles. A little good-natured giggle on occasion keeps your blood pressure down and the fun factor high.

The 2009 road was riddled with the potholes of a lousy economy, and careers and retirement plans for many detoured by recession. The signposts of fabulous family, friends, and colleagues all kept my roadblocks manageable. For that fact alone, I could not be more grateful. My packing list for the next journey includes those lessons learned, a bright-eyed wonder of what lies ahead, and the confidence to maneuver around the roadblocks. As soon as that fuel door is fixed, it’s a quick trip through the car wash and back on the road to 2010. I’m just hoping for fewer mishaps!