I realized over the holidays that there is a voice in my head that often says to me, “You can get through this.” The voice is especially prominent when I am facing some new challenge. It could be anything from a disagreement with one of my teenagers to a business threshold that I just can’t seem to get past. And the end result, I have noticed, is that I do get through it. I succeed. I cross the line. And for that I am grateful to that little voice in my head. I imagine it has gotten me through a variety of obstacles that appeared insurmountable – I certainly have had my fair share of those in my 58 years on the planet.

But, when I had this realization I decided I wanted more than to “get through” these challenges, I want to build on my successes as well as my set-backs. I want to go to new levels of success. So, I have been saying to myself in the last few days, “I can build on this.” I realize everyone has a different interpretation of these two little phrases, and I am not suggesting either is the phrase for you. What I know is that this second statement is helping me to see new possibilities, to break through barriers I have been living with. Maybe there is a phrase out there that would do that for you.

Here’s an example: One of my teenagers, who will go nameless to preserve my life, likes to spend a lot of time in bed playing video games. I also know that this person is a bigtime dog lover, just like me. In my effort to extract them from their den of iniquity I invited this teenager to accompany me when I took our dog, Sita, for a walk. It worked, and I said to myself, “I can build on this.” And we had such a great walk, with engaging conversation all the way around. Then, I invited this child of mine to continue accompanying me through my day. It was after all, the holidays here in the states, so I had a lot of flexibility in how I spent my time. Before you know it we had spent many hours together out and about all of it laced with fun and revealing dialog. That night I went to sleep feeling very good about our engagement, our conversation, the quality of our relationship, and, of course, the exercise out of the house that was part of our time together. That’s a small example of what this thought, ‘I can build on that,’ is doing for me.

As I write this, just 8 hours before 2018 begins here in Washington, D.C., I am ready to have a year of construction, to take all of my wins, partial wins and failures, and build on them to create major wins.

Happy New Year!

“Small things done consistently in strategic places can create major impact.”
-David Allen