Unhappy New Years

It’s New Year’s Day, and I made it through another one!  Not another year, but another New Year’s EVE; the most over hyped day of the year, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong.  I had a great time with my friends at home last night.  Staying home and getting together with a few friends and a pot luck,  is the one thing I finally got right on this day, after all these years.

I gave up on the dream a long time ago.  You know the one.  The Cinderella story of being all dressed up in the year’s hottest LBD, with no pinching from uncomfortable undergarments, and high heels that miraculously feel like Sketchers.

You’re dancing the night away at the perfect, uncrowded club, with a guy who moves like Johnny Castle, without sweating, and doesn’t complain that your taste for champagne is $45 a glass, or that the tiny 4 oz filet on the pre fixed menu was like beef jerky.

No.  The meal was scrumptious and affordable!  And after the kiss at midnight, amidst the confetti that drifted over you without getting lodged in your eye, you’re swept off back home in the back of a limo.

Maybe that happens for some girls.  People win the Powerball too.  It’s never been a winner of a celebration for me for one reason or another.

As a kid, my parents and family didn’t do anything at all to celebrate.

When I got old enough to go out as a teenager, I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party, and was kind of excited to experience it for the very first time.

The excitement wore off after about an hour when I realized it amounted to nothing more than watching a clock.  And as the final minutes drew near, the apple cider kicked in, and I found myself ringing in the new year in the bathroom.  Looking back, it was definitely some foreshadowing.

I didn’t attempt another New Year’s Eve “celebration” til my college years.  After my “freshman” attempts in my freshman and sophomore years, that made me search for another bathroom to hide in,  my celebrations turned to working as a waitress, chasing huge tips from those chasing the dream.

The New Year’s Eves in my 20’s were primarily about chasing money, too.  The end of the year in corporate sales was the last opportunity to make your quota, earn that final bonus, or qualify for the big prize, like President’s Club.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s were the busiest of the year.  And as the hard deadline approached, if it became clear you weren’t going to reach your year end goal, seeing midnight on 12/31 coming felt like a long walk to the electric chair.

I had a couple of those years; when you miss the mark so bad, you feel marked by the shame.  On those, New Year’s Eve wasn’t just something to dread out of dreading the “date”, but about having to accept failure and finding a way forward.

After one particularly bad year, I was at the office on the first day back from the holidays, and having a really hard time finding my feet and floor face. Yvonne Duhaime, one of  the nicest sales guys I worked with at Xerox, asked me how my year turned out.

When I told him, he said, “everyone has their pants down”.  I spoke some French at that point, but still didn’t know what he meant. He explained that spending time looking back at the past year was a complete waste of time, and that the only course was to reset at the starting blocks.  And at the starting blocks, everyone is in the same position, no one in the lead or behind.

That previous year end goal was gone, and it was probably missed by looking at the year end goal, and not planning my work and working my plan every single day.

I never missed my quota again.  The next year I not only made President’ Club but earned it early, qualifying for “Fast Start”.

And I never made “New Year’s Resolutions” again either.  It doesn’t mean I don’t believe in self assessment and continuous improvement. Quite the contrary.  But that can’t be attained by lofty, vague, “resolutions” with no plan, no strategy, no documented benchmarks and results.  It’s often a set up for failure, and they’re often failure focused. It would be like me saying, I resolve to never eating donuts or drinking coffee in 2017.  Um. Sure.

And, too many of these “resolutions” are based on looking through the “I suck” scope, instead focusing on achievement oriented plans meant to capitalize on frequently acknowledged attributes and skill.

This year, “I resolve to _____ ………because I sucked/failed at _____”.  Most resolutions don’t complete the sentence, but it’s implied.  No wonder people struggle to fulfill something so steeped in their own failure.

I learned to set daily/weekly/monthly goals, based on previous track records of documented achievement, building on success, not struggle. Basing my focus every day on what I did well, not on what I failed to do.

I still struggled to fulfill the dream New Year’s Eve, though.  There was the time my cab driver got a DUI, while I was in the back on my way home.  There was the year my Los Angeles boyfriend took me to a wake.  Yep.  Not a typo.  I can’t forget the year one boyfriend invited his mother.  It was worse than a wake, and he’s lucky he survived.

He did, but the dream for the perfect New Year’s Eve died.  I let it go, like the year I missed quota.

My reset at the blocks involves inviting my neighbors over for a block party; in jeans and comfortable shoes, eating foods with nothing in common, like pot stickers, enchiladas and sausage/cheese balls, except friendship.

Ringing in the new year at 9 PM, with the East Coaster Americans, because getting a good night’s sleep is more fun that not. And the conversation is so easy and flowing that no one even stops to kiss at midnight, and if they do, it’s whoever happens to be next to you at the time.

It may not be everyone’s dream of a Happy New Year’s Eve, but it makes me happy.  Lifelong resolution achieved.

As for my professional dreams, those shifted too. I left corporates sales to work in media. It’s a different “customer” base, but I get to draw upon the same skill set and approach to success.

I’ll be working on my “1st quarter action plan” in the next few days. It will be based on my own game, from the stating blocks, keeping my eyes ahead and not on anyone else’s lane.

There are many who closed 2016 ahead of me, but as for today, we all have our pants down. No resolutions intended.










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