20 for 2020

As published on LinkedIn Influencers on January 1st, 2020.

It’s 2020. Say what?! Does anyone else vividly remember New Year’s Day 2000? Does it feel like it was just yesterday? It does for me, and yet when I think about where I was 20 years ago, holy moly, it was indeed a lifetime ago. At that time, I was still a partner at Goldman Sachs, I was six months pregnant with my second child, and I was living in Connecticut. Today? I’m long retired from Goldman, I’m beginning a new chapter professionally, I have two adult children making their way in the world, and I’ve been living in Utah for nine years.

I am a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I am also a fan of taking time to reflect on life experiences and allowing them to inform future choices. So in that vein, here are my 20 for 2020 (in no particular order).

1) Be present in the moment. When I look back over the past 20 years, I realize how much I rushed through things just to get to the next thing, or I was distracted because of the constant competing interests. Slowing down to enjoy the now, doing one thing at a time, and just not rushing has improved my life dramatically.

2) Be a better friend. Be a better mentor. At the end of the day, life is about relationships. Take time to be there for the people you love, and help others to achieve their goals. Just a few months ago, a woman came up to me at a Goldman reunion event and told me how much something I did 25 years ago made a difference for her and her career. You might never know the full impact of taking the time to mentor others, but trust that it is there and do more of it.

3) Always find time to exercise/work out.

4) Be generous. Give what you can of your time, your money, your network, your access.

5) Ask for what you want.

6) Work on your self-awareness. This is a really big one, especially as we get older, and especially if you have a lot of power, as defined by positions, money, and/or influence. I really want to be a good, decent human being, and I strive to be someone who treats others with kindness and respect. If that is also your goal, then seeking feedback on your words and actions and taking the time to reflect, learn, and change is critical.

7) Sing and dance. As much as you can, whenever you can, wherever you can.

8) Have a few good jokes in your pocket. Try to be more fun.

9) Be positive. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “For the New Year, Say No to Negativity”. It talked about how bad experiences affect us so much more powerfully than good ones, and it gave tips on how to deal with this destructive bias and overcome it. Of course there are times when being negative is required, but don’t throw it around if you don’t have to.

10) Seek deeper spiritual connection and community. This has been something missing in my life in Park City. While living in Connecticut I attended the most awesome church, and we had a wonderful small group. It has been challenging to find that in Utah but it’s time to try again.

11) Get a dog. Love a dog. Of course, I know that not everyone can afford one or has a life conducive to having a dog, but if you can, do it. We got our first dog 14 years ago when our children were young, and she quickly became the best part of every day. So many of our BEST family memories revolved around our beloved lab Sunnie. As of four weeks ago, we have a new lab in our life. Meet Sadie.

Our new puppy Sadie

12) Forgive others. Forgive yourself. We make mistakes, others make mistakes, and carrying around bad feelings, including guilt, shame, and resentment, is such a waste of time and energy.

13) Try new things/do things just for you. My ridiculously accomplished and very busy brother-in-law was visiting us for the holidays, and he shared that he just started mandolin lessons. He said that while working to build his business and be the best dad he could be, for years he did little for himself. It is not selfish to do something for yourself that helps you bring joy to the other aspects of your life.

14) Read poems. A recent post of mine included a poem that a street poet created after I told him a short story. I read it every day, and it has been such a powerful tool in helping me deal with the grief of losing my dog Sunnie. It has reminded me of the power of this medium. While I have always had my favorite poems and enjoy sharing them with others, I now try to do that even more.

15) Journal. There are so so so many benefits to this practice, from unleashing creativity, to capturing memories, to helping you cope with life events.

16) Tell the people you love that you love them. Often.

17) Tell the truth. Try to hold others accountable for telling the truth as well.

18) Put more intention towards how you use your financial resources. This means so many things for me including continuing to invest in women entrepreneurs and implementing an impact lens on all our investments.

19) Practice joy. Practice gratitude. Every day we have a choice on how we want to show up in the world. Life is not a bowl of cherries for everyone all the time and I get that. But as much as you can, with as much effort as you are able to muster, try to be joyful. What really helps me when I am feeling like I want to punch a hole in the wall is to take a minute to be grateful for small things, and big things, but just, things. Being joyful is a practice.

20) Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

Oh no… I hit 20 and so many more popped into my head. Here are the bonus 5, lightning round. Please add to the list in the comments section. I’d love to hear your top resolutions for 2020.

  • Read and support independent news, media, movies.
  • Be politically engaged.
  • Do more to reduce waste and protect the environment.
  • Support local businesses.
  • Read good books.

Happy New Year! May 2020 be a great year for you and yours.