Wild & Precious Life
Often around this time of year, we spend some time reviewing our lives over the past twelve months, whether for the traditional holiday newsletter, reviewing what goals we had set for ourselves, or simply reminiscing over all the memories.
This year was a big year in many of our lives– 45 dominated our conversations more than we wished, climate change, natural disasters, and the loss of loved ones. Time magazine’s Person of the Year piece pretty much sums it up… In 2017, women collectively found the courage to stand up and speak out. We marched. We told our stories. We persisted. And we know there’s more to do. Big beginnings invite big endings. This year, especially, offers us an opportunity to take a deeper look at our own lives and set into motion intentions for 2018 and beyond.
Here’s a story I’d like to share as you begin your year-end reflections. I was on a canyoneering trip with some friends last year. We were doing one of Zion’s iconic hikes, Subway, top-down. I was having a blast, not only because of the adventure and immense beauty, but also because I was spending the lovely day with new friends, including an older, very fit and experienced man. As can often happen, we shared life stories and philosophies, and we hiked in easy conversation. As the day progressed we came upon one of the most amazing features in the Subway– dinosaur tracks, that is, fossilized dinosaur footprints. These footprints were over 200 million years old! I just stood there. I was in awe. “We really are just a blip on the timeline, aren’t we?” “Exactly!” My new friend responded.
“So how do you spend your time here?”
Photo credit: geochristian.com
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
Exactly. As you review your year, consider, what are you going to spend your time and energy on next year? What intentions will you set for 2018? And notice that I’m not suggesting that you figure out your entire life. That’s too big. Plus, any number of things can happen between point A and point B. But, you can take small steps, and a good first step might be, start with why (with a nod to Simon Sinek). What is your inspiration? What gets you up in the morning? What makes you smile and your heart sing?
Here’s one more story I’d like to share. Several years ago, I was invited to present at my daughter’s high school for their annual Career Day. I would be speaking with sophomores and juniors on what it means to be a product manager. As I was preparing my presentation, I thought over the topics I wanted to talk about– the soft skills that will allow them to empathize with their customers and build collaboration among teams, the design and technical chops that will allow them to communicate with engineering, and the business acumen that will be needed to be an effective “CEO of a product.” But the key message I wanted these young men and women to hear is the message I would like to leave with you. After spending thirty minutes talking about product management, product design, and the challenges and opportunities for women and people of color, I left them with this final message: