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Who is Most Important?

Feb 14, 2023

Who are the most important people in your life? Do they know that?  How do they know that? Both personally and professionally, it is good to have some clarity on this.

Reflecting on Valentine’s Day, I wonder how often we think of it as just a day for lovers. And if we don’t currently have that special someone in our life, we feel like we’re missing out – or we feel alone in the world. I believe we can expand on that in a way that better serves both ourselves and others.

For example:  what about you? In what ways do you love yourself?  To what extent do you practice self-care? What are you doing to build resilience for those inevitable challenges life throws your way – are you ready? Have you forgiven yourself for the mistakes that you have made? What do you need to let go?

According to The Buddha, “you yourself, as much as anyone in the universe, deserve your love and affection.” If you are like many of the leaders I work with, you have a habit of beating yourself up, and criticizing and labeling yourself in unkind ways. When was the last time you tuned in to your self-talk?  And what was the quality of that self-talk- largely positive or largely negative?

Get beyond the discomfort and be honest with yourself.  What are the things about you that make you most happy about you? What are the strengths of character that show up for you day after day, year after year? What are those special traits of personality that define you? What are the things that bring you joy and that you actually make time for?

Now, what about others? Who depends on you and how do you show up for them? Are you a good spouse, parent, son, or daughter?  How would your friends describe you and how do you define them? Do you share the things you love about each other? When was the last time you expressed appreciation for your friends?

And what about your professional life? Are you a good leader, follower, and team member?  How do you support the people who are counting on you the most? When was the last time you expressed gratitude for the big and small ways that people enable your success? What habits do you have for giving positive feedback to others?  And what can you do today?  This week?  This month?

As part of my Valentine’s Day reflection, I started thinking about the people that have made a difference in my life, both personally and professionally. I realized it’s a very big list. I encourage you to reflect on some of the ways these people may have influenced your life:

  • Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents
  • Teachers that taught you special skills or took a special interest in you
  • Neighbors, childhood friends, and playmates
  • People who hired you and gave you insights and opportunities
  • Coworkers who taught you the ropes and supported your success
  • Challenging bosses and coworkers from whom you learned valuable lessons
  • Coaches and mastermind members
  • Miscellaneous service providers and people in your community, however you define it
  • People you met or knew briefly who made an impact or impression on you

So, here’s a final thought: what if every day was Valentine’s Day? And how can you make it so for the people who are most important to you?

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