Never is it more important to have a set of guiding principles than during the year-end holiday season. For most of us, there's an added dose of stress this month (whether it's due to anxiety to please family and friends, pressure to complete business projects, added financial burdens, or anything else), making it all too easy to lose focus, composure, or sometimes both.
These five simple but effective principles can help you to maintain strength and sanity regardless of the situations you face. So, in the spirit of holiday cheer, here's a primer for using Impact's HEART Model™ to get through the holiday season…
Hear and understand
Holidays inevitably involve plenty of interpersonal communication, and one of the best ways to ensure a successful two-way conversation is to hear and understand the other person. This requires you to actively listen and to sincerely try to appreciate the perspectives of other people. This simple measure builds rapport, increases empathy, and edifies your own learning.
One of the best (and least expensive) gifts you can give someone is your undivided attention.
Expect the best
Expecting the best during the holidays means maintaining a positive, open attitude toward your responsibilities, activities, and social situations (even the dreaded ones).
When dealing with colleagues, friends and family, take an optimistic approach and expect that each encounter will be pleasant and fruitful. Just by applying this simple principle, you influence people and situations in a constructive way.
The principle of "expect the best" may not be 100% foolproof for every holiday situation, but it's a lot more fun than the alternative!
Act with integrity
Only you know what integrity means to you. It's a unique synthesis of the values of your society, your upbringing, and your own belief system. By acting with integrity in all your interactions and responsibilities (even during times of high stress), you'll be able to maintain poise and self-respect regardless of the outcome. You'll also inspire other people to do the same.
This is a time of year when most people observe some form of religious or cultural celebration. By respecting the diversity of others' observances—or even just the varied, harried ways they deal with the holiday season—you'll enrich yourself and broaden your own knowledge.
The dawn of a new year is a great time to set some realistic goals and to challenge yourself to attain them. Little else gives as much satisfaction as challenging yourself to improve in some meaningful way. To put this principle into action, take a look at your personal and professional lives over the course of the last year and decide what changes you want to make for 2010.
Following are a few tips for success:
- Focus on one or two goals at a time so that you don't overwhelm yourself and become discouraged. Once you've achieved these aims, you can move on to some new ones.
- Don't discount the importance of transcending yourself in small ways. From the miniscule (resisting unhealthy holiday temptations) to the momentous (conquering a character flaw), the pursuit of self-transcendence is always rewarding.
- Have fun with it. Transcending yourself is just a way to continuously "play" at the game of life.
- Be sure to celebrate your success. Only then can you assimilate the feeling of accomplishment and maintain your motivation to transcend yourself even further.
To all Impact's clients, friends, and followers: Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and HEART-filled new year!