I love this time of year. It brings back happy memories and, even better, the opportunity to create many more happy memories.
It’s also a great time to ponder what gifts you want to give yourself to set you up for an awesome 2023. Now, this isn’t a new wardrobe, an expensive holiday or anything that has a monetary value attached to it. It’s gifts that you can freely give yourself – should you choose to do so.
The saying goes – The best things in life are free – so here are fourteen ideas to get you started.
1. Gift of adventure – Life is an adventure, and it’s your choice as to what you do with it. Take an interest in exploring new ideas. Meet new people. Go to new places. Break the cycle of the familiar and seek what is different.
2. Gift of courage – Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is the first step in growing. Try new things and explore the boundaries to see what you can achieve.
3. Gift of curiosity – There is so much to learn and understand. Be curious about what you don’t know and be interested in finding out what you can learn. Take the time to think about these new learnings and what they could mean for how you live your life.
4. Gift of forgiveness – Holding a grudge against someone is unhealthy. Are there ill feelings that you need to let go of, or someone you should have a conversation with to get a relationship back on track? Remember, forgiveness often starts with forgiving yourself.
5. Gift of friendship – Connections and friendships are crucial for a happy and fulfilled life. Reach out to people and extend the hand of friendship. Seek friendships beyond your usual circle to help broaden your perspective and challenge your assumptions.
6. Gift of Gratitude – It’s said that gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we have. When you are grateful, you focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. It’s easy to be pulled away from what you really want out of life by focusing on what others have. Each day, take a moment to appreciate what’s in front of you. At the end of the day, finish it well by thinking about your day and reflecting on what you will do tomorrow.
7. Gift of imperfection – We are all imperfect beings, and when we are ready to accept that, it becomes a much easier place from which to move forward positively and productively.
8. Gift of learning – Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? If so, what is it, and how could you make that happen? Enrol in a free online course. Read a book on a topic that you know nothing about. Book in for a course that will take your leadership and personal development to the next level.
9. Gift of patience – This is a gift for yourself and others. We all make mistakes. The difference is what you do with them and the learnings you take away. Have the patience to understand your mistakes and the patience to apply a different approach next time.
10. Gift of service – Doing things for other people makes you feel good. Acting in service of others is not a chore but a gift that you can offer each day to those around you.
11. Gift of space – Carve out some ‘me’ time in your busy schedule. It can be easy to put your needs last, but when you are tired and worn out, no one benefits. We all need alone time and time to recharge our batteries. Perhaps it’s scheduling a daily meditation or an afternoon walk. Whatever your selection, it’s an activity that is just for you.
12. Gift of time – Time is one of our most precious commodities, as there never seems to be enough of it. Are there people in your life you want to spend more time with? If so, what can you do to allocate some time that is just for them and reconnect or deepen the relationship? Are there activities you are doing that add little value, or are you only continuing because of habits? Consider the things you can stop doing to give you the space to do something else.
13. Gift of tranquillity – You need space to hear yourself think and to ponder. As one of my teachers used to say: ‘Reflection causes learning’. Reflection is critical if you want to understand yourself and what drives your behaviour and decisions.
14. Gift of ‘yes’ – Whilst we need to know what to say ‘no’ to; equally, there are times when we need to say ‘yes’ even when we don’t want to. Are there things you have put off doing for a long time? A new skill that you need to learn or something that you’ve always been afraid to try? What could it look like if you said ‘yes’ to the opportunity rather than ‘no’?
That’s my list of the fourteen gifts. What would you add to the list, and most importantly, what would you prioritise?
Everything in life is a trade-off, and when you spend your time and energy on one thing, it takes you away from something else. So while there may be no dollar value attached to these items, there is always some form of cost – be it time, energy or opportunity cost.
My priorities over the summer months are clear, and I hope yours are too.
This is my last weekly insight for 2022, and I will be back in 2023.
My wish for you is that you have a wonderful Christmas, holiday, festive season or whatever it is you do over this time of year – be it with friends, family and loved ones.
Enjoy and stay safe.
Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®
Michelle Gibbings is bringing back the happy to workplace culture. The award-winning author of three books, and a global keynote speaker, she’s on a mission to help leaders, teams and organisations create successful workplaces – where people thrive and progress is accelerated.