The New Year is a time to refocus and recharge. The mood should be optimistic and new challenges should be embraced with a clear mind.
For some reason, I started off the first week of the year stressed, slightly frustrated and cranky. I usually wouldn’t think twice about it, but it’s the complete opposite of how I am usually. The ‘shutoff the negative button’ hasn’t been doing its job. Maybe it’s still on holiday vacation. Life and business are good and that should be enough for a better attitude to start the year.
But enough on the attitude, that’s not what I want to focus on. I want to get back to a line of thinking that has proven to be successful for me when I fully engage it.
That brings me to last Thursday night: I just wrapped up the final television class with ‘July Night’ students at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. We completed a final project shoot and edit to finish things off. As with each group of students I instruct, I like to leave them with some words of encouragement on the way out. Despite being on my 14th hour of the day and having come down with a head cold about three hours before, I felt a burst of energy. I relish moments where you get to reach inside and share what you’re feeling. This talk is as serious and pointed as I get during the semester because I know how hard it is out there.
I laid out that if you work hard, do things for the right reason, and take time to reflect, you’ll set yourself up to succeed and have positive things happen. Hard work is a given. Business is competitive, and if you’re doing well, there are plenty of people that will want a piece of the action. Hard work can keep you in the driver’s seat and ahead of the competition.
You need to do things for the right reason and the right way. In my book, if you don’t do that, there’s no reason to do it at all. People notice how you conduct yourself and more importantly, be true to yourself. Why you are doing something is just as crucial as the end result.
Also, take time to reflect and be thankful. Reflection needs to take you to all aspects of your life and act as a check and balance. We easily lose sight of all the small things that make up the big picture. There’s not only a reason to be thankful for the concrete, but also the abstract. The ability to be creative, to express desire and harness ambition.
I was thankful to have the chance to be in a class where my students respected and looked to me for guidance in what they hope will be the start of a career. That’s a pretty big deal when you think about it.
It took that class last Thursday night to serve as my check and balance. I had spent the day working hard and doing things the best way I know how. I spent the car ride home that night reflecting on all the things which I have to be thankful for. Sometimes it takes the students to remind the instructor what it’s all about.