During the Holidays people are implored to focus on the joys of giving rather than receiving. While I wholeheartedly agree that giving is one of the best ways to share our gifts and experience joy, I often find with my coaching clients that one of the greatest challenges they face is in allowing what they want to come to them. Often we are so busy chasing what we believe will make us happy that we fail to see that our lives often already contain much of what we want.
Hyper-commercialized notions of Holiday bliss are hard to avoid in the onslaught of marketing encouraging us to buy lavish gifts, entertain extravagantly and push our bank accounts and credit cards to the limit—this is how we make the American economy works, right? But, like discarded wrapping paper, the anticipation and joy in material gifts often don’t last much longer because they aren’t what we truly desire.
When I ask clients what brings them to my office in search of greater satisfaction with their work, clarity in their contribution or greater impact in the world, at the heart of their search is a desire to feel fulfilled, happy and content with their life moment-to-moment and day-to-day. When I ask them what that would look like, people often describe travel adventures, more leisure time and greater satisfaction in their close relationships. Interestingly enough, the Holiday’s offer an opportunity to open up to all of these elements.
Travel, leisure and time with loved ones as the focus of our holidays would dramatically shift frenzied days that often have us fighting crowds in search of gifts, while the ones we long to share the experience with are at home awaiting our return. We work to earn money to spend time buying things that often keep us from joyful experiences we want more of in our lives. How about taking on a leadership role this Holiday Season and create one that is in sync with what you want not what you are told you want.
Being a leader at the Holiday’s is easy, because giving the gift of yourself is the greatest gift you can give. Why not plan a trip, near or far, that you have wanted to take and just haven’t allowed yourself to do? Or perhaps instead of running around to purchase one more gadget or toy, why not commit to spending the day with loved ones—however they would like. Or is there something you have been longing to do? Cook a great meal? Make something creative? Out of your leisure pursuits can come that one-of-a-kind gift that someone will treasure.
One of the most exciting moments in the coaching process is when people recognize that all that they are looking for “out there,” already exists within them. The Holidays open up the opportunity for all of us to come to that realization—the happiness we desire is in us and in our choice about how we conduct our lives. Each of us can make this year everything we want it to be by simply acknowledging to others and ourselves what we most desire and then having the courage to create it. If you choose this path, I guarantee that not only will you have a beautiful Holiday experience, you will be on your way to a very Happy New Year.