Snowy view from my window of lower Manhattan; Freedom Tower in the backdrop I'm watching the snow fall from Storm Hercules this morning, still an exciting novelty for this Californian, and I can feel it: a quickening. Hallelujah, I can feel it.
What could be more fitting than a visit from Hercules, known for his strength and adventures, to dust the barren trees and boldly kick off this new year?
Something lifted and shifted for me on New Years Eve.
Laugh at the nerdiness if you will, but Monica and I had a great time staying in, brainstorming for our businesses, checking important things off our to-do lists, toasting with Apple Cider and talking about our words for the year over buttery popcorn.
After a year of Alignment — the precision, structure, daily habits of meditation, yoga and not drinking — I'm declaring this the year of FLOW.
The surrender, movement and momentum of Flow, but — lest you think I've fallen off the woo-woo reservation — served up with a healthy side of hustle.
Hustle & Flow
Grit and grace. Focus and release. Strategy and surrender. Effort and ease.
If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up. —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Function Follows Form
I've created the structure, I've stripped everything bare, and now it's time to unleash the floodgates and let the form be filled, to test it's mettle. It is time to re-ignite my purpose and share my lessons-learned outwardly and creatively.
In 2014 I'm excited to do more speaking: I'm positively giddy about the idea of bringing Speak Like a Pro to more organizations, as well as my Career in the Age of the App TEDx talk on thriving in the chaos and fast pace of the knowledge economy.
I'm thrilled to continue working with amazing coaching clients on the cusp of a major career or business transition. I look forward to writing more regularly, reviving my behind-the-scenes newsletter, and thinking about the next big contribution to my body of work. See also: one of my mentors Pamela Slim's fantastic new book of the same name.
But I will not be doing all this with brute strength as I have in the past.
Instead, I'll be doing my best to embrace a sense of ease and serendipity.
And for this structured template-loving Type A: lifting the oars every once in a while and just going with the flow. Or as another of my favorite sayings goes, trying not to "push the river."
Lao Tzu on Flow
When I think of flow, I think of water, and I think of one of my all-time favorite classic texts: the Tao Te Ching.
Water represents humility and quiet strength. It nourishes all things, but does so by staying low to the ground. Lao Tzu describes the sweet spot:
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” ―Lao Tzu
Prevent trouble before it arises. Put things in order before they exist. The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout. The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.
Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore the Master takes action by letting things take their course. He remains as calm at the end as at the beginning.
The ancient Masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable. There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is their appearance.
They were careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream. Alert as a warrior in enemy territory. Courteous as a guest. Fluid as melting ice. Shapable as a block of wood. Receptive as a valley. Clear as a glass of water.
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
The Master doesn't seek fulfillment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things.
2014, I think I love you
Now: let's strap on our lifevests and see where this rolling river takes us. I look forward to venturing out on another wild ride with all of you :)