By Chris Klonoski

Here we are. It’s the end of the year. 

You did – or tried to do – all the things recommended for success: planning, strategy, execution, promotion, evaluation. You listened to your clients and customers. You dialogued with your colleagues. You self-cared. 

You nurtured your business and yourself according to all reputable advice, best practices, and your own moral compass. 

In short…you did it! 

And if you missed the mark in an area or two, does it really matter? 

In most cases, probably not. 

When we face an ending (or a beginning, since these things tend to go hand-in-hand) it is so tempting to fall into what went wrong and lessons learned. 

Instead, tell me what mattered. What resonated. What nurtured your business, your relationships, your self, your community?

What brought you peace, acceptance and clarity? What brought you success? However you choose to define it? 

A long time ago I worked in a government office where people liked to call and complain. As an intern, I was the lowest of the low in a world where power and perceived position was the defining measure of success. One of my responsibilities was to answer the phone, so I was the first person to respond to whomever was fired up enough that day to call. They were angry. Outraged even. They would yell, curse, threaten, berate and lecture.* 

I loved it. 

Eventually, all the crazy calls were forwarded to me. I enjoyed listening to them. The people were interesting and emotional and kind of entertaining. Usually they were also a little bit lonely. 

I started each call with a deep breath, a greeting, and then a pause. Not for long, they quickly filled the empty space. I would challenge myself by seeing how much time it took to get them to calm down. The less I said, the faster my time. Turns out, people like to be heard. 

I defined success by the end of the call. Would we wish each other a nice day? Thank each other for the conversation? Opinions were never changed. False promises were not made. But calm was established. Sometimes even civility and kindness. Voices were honored and experiences were witnessed. 

During those calls, nurturing was listening. 

In a blog post earlier this month we talked about slowing down as nurturing.

Today, getting everything done on my errand list is nurturing, because I want the rest of my week to be free. 

What does nurturing look like for you? What signals do you use to Pause, Reflect + Recenter?

What routine actions – starting your car, pumping gas, brushing your teeth, filling a water bottle – can you use to trigger a “pause” and turn off your brain for a moment? 

What is built into your business to generate a pause? How can you use these actions or moments to be sure your communication with your clients or customers is honest, soul-led and true?

Can you use the pause to nurture your relationships? Can the quiet moments help you become more aware of how to serve your clients, colleagues and business goals? 

Nurturing is not a goal and it isn’t a resolution. It’s an approach or a mindset. It’s organic. It’s truth. And it differs for everyone. Nurturing is what you do for you – and then – you are able to do for others. 

*It’s important to note that this was a long time ago and citizen outrage didn’t hold the same level of threat that it might in today’s climate. I was never scared, nor did I feel personally threatened.

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