Sharing our Christmas Spirit
I love Christmas. I can still remember the anticipation of waiting for Santa to arrive, putting out the milk and cookies and trying to sleep for what seemed like endless hours until daybreak. What kid can wait to open Christmas presents at the crack of dawn. My parents used to get ‘Santa’ to call us on Christmas Eve to ask if we were naughty or nice that year. The threat of a bag full of coals and switches served as incentive to my siblings and me to keep our high-jinx in check!
Going to church was always a central part of our Christmas celebrations. We always gave thanks for how fortunate we were to have a loving family, food on the plate and we always gave to those less fortunate than ourselves. My parents wouldn’t have it any other way. They wanted us to realise how lucky we were. Even though my relationship with the church has changed through the years, my spirituality and since of family traditions is firmly intact.
Naturally, everyone has different experiences. This time of year I have clients who worry about how they will cope with the Christmas holidays. There’s so much pressure to buy things regardless of whether you can actually afford them. There’s the stress of mounting debt you could face in the New Year. Of course, Christmas also reminds us of loved ones we’ve lost and those we feel obligated to spend time with who in fact have a way of ruining the Christmas spirit for everyone.
In reality, if we can peel back the commercial and material facade of the holiday season and put aside our personal differences for the sake of briefly uniting our families, then perhaps we can get to the real spirit of Christmas, the celebration of a life force inspiring us to be all things good and great. I realise that is not easy to follow the light in a world full of so much darkness. However, we must persist. Where would we be without hope?
Those of us who have a good quality of life should quiet ourselves long enough to say thank you for the blessings and the challenges that touch us in this life. Furthermore, this is a time to give, not just gifts, but give of ourselves to those who could benefit from our help. Whether it’s time, food or money, every bit helps. Perhaps you will be touch and inspired to continue to give to those in need well into the future. Giving feels good. It’s a gift to yourself.
Christmas is not the only season to give but it’s a great time to start.
I know it’s the holiday season, but in between sipping bubbles, give yourself the gift of ambition by networking with someone who may be able to help you get to the top of the job ladder. In today’s incredibly competitive working world it’s important to master as many business skills as possible and knowing how to effectively network can potentially secure you future business opportunities. Still many people would rather play wall flower than mix with a room full of unknown faces! So here are my top tips on how to get the hook-up:
- Choose the right events to attend. You’re not going to chit-chat you’re going to make business connections. So don’t go to mingle at an Art opening if you should be at a lawyers gathering.
- Do your prep work. Try to get a list of whose going; identify who you’d like to meet, who can advance your career and get researching. When you arrive, find your targets and use your confidence to approach them.
- This is the hard one; look for physical clues that people are willing to be approached. Find a group or pair that is not in a closed conversation. Suss out who the leader is and ask to join in the conversation. If you can’t bare this idea, then ask the event organiser to introduce you to the person you’re keen on meeting. This is more direct and my preferred method.
- It’s not all about you. No one wants to do business with someone who talks incessantly about themselves. Be an active listener, interesting and articulate. Be discriminating about who you give your business card.
- It’s not what you do; it’s what you can do. Don’t talk about what you do, talk about what you can do for your target. It’s far more appealing to your prospective business connection.
- When you get your moment, know what you want to say. Have three or four key points you want to stress about your business acumen. Keep it short, smart and sweet.
- Don’t forget to follow through. Nothing is more annoying than the person who says they’re going to send something and it doesn’t materialise. If you say you’re going to do it, then do it. Don’t be the one who flakes. You never know when your networking will pay off!
I’m not saying this is easy, I’m saying it’s worth it!
A few days ago one of my clients mentioned that one of her close male friends broke down and cried about the amount of university work and stress in his life. My response was good for him. Obviously he needed a good cry. When I met her friend a few days later, she mentioned in his presence that she had told me about his upsetting moment. His immediate reaction was to deny the incident; however, after I quickly chimed in that many men come to my office and breakdown, he perked up. “Really” the 20 year old replied, “yes, really.” I said. I’ve had CEO and board directors cry their eyes out and use up an entire box of tissues over the course of an hour session. They will all tell you it was a cathartic release. They felt so much better after opening up the dam and letting the tears flow. But, I’m not sure how many of them would tell their friends that it’s okay to cry.
In this day and age it seems so ridiculous that there is still so much negative stigma attached to a man crying. Boys are told to toughen up and “take it like a man”. It would be much better to tell your boys and your men to let it all out. Not only would it lessen their burden but it would help them to communicate more effectively. I’m not recommending a blubberfest, but I am saying when a person is overcome with emotion, let the water flow! Free yourself with emotional intelligence.