It seems like just a few weeks ago we were enjoying balmy autumnal days. December has come so quickly. In some traditions, year-end is a time set aside to rest after the hard hours of other seasons. In our Wunderlin Company tradition, year-end is a time for our annual Top Ten. This year’s theme is Value.
We may use the word value as we bemoan the price of grapes at the grocery store or as we consider our personal values in the context of others. As a noun, it means the worth something is held to deserve, or standards of behavior. As a verb, it can mean the worth or importance of something or someone. Personally, it’s what we hold most deeply or what’s most important to us. Each of these tips highlights some value for you to consider as we move into 2019.
1. Value adventure- Explore 2019’s Unusual Food and Drink Trends
Food and drink trend predictions this year could be called peculiarly physical. Trend spotters are naming gut health as a top obsession for 2019. We’ve moved beyond the Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt ads into a blooming kombucha section at your local grocery. Get ready for more fermented foods, miso-based dishes and gut-friendly vegetables. Continuing on the healthy body / healthy gut track, you’ll also see more healthy plant-based protein on menus and at the store. For the most intrepid foodie try bug protein, which contains up to four times the protein as beef and is consumed by 80 percent of the planet. Cricket flour anyone?
Craft mocktail’s popularity continues to rise as the under-35 crowd eschews alcohol in favor of killer flavor combinations with no or low ABV. The younger crowd is also driving the resurgence of pink drinks. Millennials can’t get enough of rose (and accompanying pink-themed festivals). Sales of the ‘frivolous and fun’ wine have been rising since 2014 and its ascent is predicted to continue. Across the pond, gin is having a moment...(including pink gin). Product launches this year include flavors like basil, lovage, and sour cherry.
Last but not least, the humble Timut peppercorn is the must-have spice for 2019. With a grapefruity, zesty flavor it is a perfect pairing for both food and drink. Fans claim it also reduces pain and inflammation – for just a few dollars it’s worth a try!
2. Align Your Core Values and Core Skills
We’ve written in the past about understanding personal values, and the New Year is a good opportunity to inventory your core skills to ensure they’re working for you to help you get what you want out of life. To do this, it’s important to understand what you want in life and why. Do you want a promotion? Better work life balance? More collaborative work? Honest assessment can help avoid the empty feeling that sometimes comes when we pursue something without understanding the reasons we’re pursuing it. When making a plan or weighing opportunities, consider the whole package. Does it align with what you want? Is there another way to get the recognition, time, or interactions you value? Once you’ve established what you want take time to clearly articulate your top strengths and skills. It may be that your core skills fall outside of your current job description. Ask yourself how to pivot responsibilities to better use those core skills.
If you’re lucky enough to use your unique skill-set every day, are you making the most of opportunities to build the life you want – both in work and personal life? If you have the skills for the next level of responsibility, how can you show that you’re ready for that promotion in your current job?
James Altucher is an entrepreneur, podcaster and author best known for his book “Choose Yourself.” Altucher strongly advocates for this deliberate approach to using your skills to build a well-rounded life based on your values is helpful for changes big and small. He is also a proponent of our next value -curiosity.
3. Value Curiosity
Considering your values and curiosity go hand-in-hand. Altucher espouses a curious approach when making a decision (or having it made for you) to change careers. On a recent podcast, he hosted Dan Roth, Editor and Chief of LinkedIn, to discuss constant learning. Roth says that constant learning is the key to meeting an employer’s needs. Whether it be reading new books or studying the updates on a program you use at work – “If you are not keeping your skills up to date, you are not going to be able to get ahead of whatever job you’re in”, he says. He suggests everyone have a ‘Plan A, Plan B, and Plan – Z’. Plan Z, he explains, is the thing you have cooking outside of your 9-to-5. Plan Z is the place where you play with a new idea with no restrictions – your “side hustle”. If you’re not familiar with the term – a side-hustle is a job or hobby you do outside of your normal work. It could be freelancing, a hobby business, or an exploration of a new interest to grow your skill-set. Altucher and Roth are not alone – Psychology Today’s # 1 reason to start a side-hustle is gaining a competitive advantage in your career. Think about starting a business in your downtime that lets you practice an under-utilized skill. Just be sure your out-of-office job doesn’t become a distraction from your day job.
Curiosity can also be an indicator of team success. Take a recent Harvard Business Review article that noted multiple benefits of a curious approach to tasks: fewer errors, more innovation, reduced conflict, and better team performance. Employers who “model inquisitiveness” and employees who explore new questions make for a wonderful company future. As if those weren’t enough reasons, curiosity also bolsters intelligence and increases grit.
Curiosity has its benefits outside of work too. Terry Gross, the venerable host of NPR’s ‘Fresh Air,’ recently shared advice on having better conversations in a The New York Times article. Her number #1 secret: ‘being genuinely curious, and wanting to hear what the other person is telling you’. A conversation peppered with real curiosity is both memorable and enjoyable. Curiosity is a many-faceted jewel to explore in 2019!
4. Value the Present – When are You Planning to Pretire?
Deferred gratification can be a good thing. It is important to plan for the future and prepare for goals. However, it is possible to take deferred dreams too far. If you’re scheming about your retirement years….why wait? Pretirement is a way to take advantage of passion, youth (or relative youth), and freedom (planned or unexpected). If you’ve been dreaming of a scuba certification, a safari or even life on a farm in eastern Europe, take the plunge. Spread your retirement over your life — take advantage of a career change, accumulate some PTO, or request a short sabbatical to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience while you still have plenty of lifetime left. Pretirement can happen at any stage of life – like the couple who saved throughout their 20s to have an adventure before they had children in their 30s. A former member of TWC team took his children out of school and went around the world for a year. Karen’s son is almost finished with a year long odyssey at 29 before he reaches 30. Pretirement can also happen later in life – when you’re finished with your first high pressure career but are not quite ready for full retirement (just ask Merrell).This a great time for a ‘wind-down’ career which affords more flexibility for pursuing those big goals. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself dreaming about ‘someday when..’ ask yourself….‘why not now‘?
5. Value Your Body – Get More From Your Workout
Though fitness goals in January is an old chestnut this year’s on-trend fitness advice may seem counterintuitive. Women’s Health is predicting a focus on less active self-care such as getting lots of lots of sleep, and taking time for a good recovery between workouts. If you prefer a more traditional approach, lifting is coming back with force. When doing compound movements like the deadlift or squat you activate a complex array of muscle and neurological control that builds comprehensive strength. Take the deadlift: a simple movement where you load a free-weight bar and lift from low to high position. When executed with proper form, this method of exercise is easy, burns fat, and best of all, prevents injury when you do other exercises – whether lifting a couch or riding a bike. If you are looking for a more novel way to get you moving, trend spotters predict a rise in boutique and hybrid studios.(Think HIIT Fusion or Ninja Warrior gyms)
6. Value Freedom – Practice the Art of Subtraction and Letting Go
When faced with a problem, we often add something to try and resolve it. We don’t feel well so we take another medication. We can’t stay focused on eating right so we buy another diet book. We add a rule to correct an issue at work.
Via Negativa is a way of describing something by describing what it is not. Instead of adding, often it is better to practice the art of judiciously removing. When working with coaching clients, we ask what could you stop doing? What could you avoid saying? Bad habits, relationships, employees, or policies could be shelved to give good things the chance to flourish. Figure out what is getting in the way in your business or your personal life, and let it go.
This holds true for emotional barriers as well – including grudges. The Mayo Clinic says that letting go of old grudges vastly improves your health. If you are not sure where to start, this Vice article suggests a few helpful tips including ‘evicting’ the person who is bothering you – from your head!
7. Value Exploring and Make Travel Happen in 2019
TWC team are big fans of travel. Merrell will be the first to tell you the best time to visit Patagonia (it’s November to March in the Southern Hemisphere in case you were wondering). Last year, Karen visited the Galápagos Islands with her 85-year-old mother. And Christy spent time in China. An epic journey can be the best way to force yourself out of stale routines to take a breath and open up to life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel the trans-Siberian railroad, or Route 66. Maybe you’ve heard about volunteerism vacations and would like to give back. Whatever your journey, make this the year you say yes to exploring. If you’re looking for some new ideas, travel watchers say ‘forgotten destinations’ is a trend gaining traction. Searches are up for cities that were once all the rage but fell out favor as new generations look for something new. Culinary travel continues to grow in popularity. You’ll also find a new emphasis on solo travel, which can have many benefits like time for reflection and opportunities to make new friends.
Travel costs can add up, but the internet has made even the most exotic travel affordable. Check out these sites that help take a smaller bite out of your wallet.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights free or paid subscription daily airfare sale alerts can open doors to international destinations you thought were out of reach.
- One Mile at a Time or Nerd Wallet’s recent reviewed the best credit cards for travel rewards – Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture cards were top winners.
8. Value Time – Give Yourself the Gift of a Few More Minutes…(or Even Hours)
If your day starts with the standard ‘roll over, check texts/email/Facebook’ it’s time for a routine reset. Get rid of the temptation by using a physical alarm clock instead of your phone. If you don’t have to snooze your screen, it’s easier to ignore the phone a few minutes longer. New York Magazine’s list of the best alarm clocks (based on the most exuberant Amazon reviews) can get you started. Once you’ve subtracted the phone from your morning- choose a new morning routine. According to experts, the healthiest mornings include stretching, meditating, and sipping hot lemon water. Having an attainable routine ‘sets a tone of accomplishment’ for the day.
As you move through your day, try a screen-time check up. Apple introduced a screen time tracker in the latest iOS. If you aren’t sure how to use it, this video will help. For Android users, the Quality Time app can help too.
Once you are on the web, be conscientious. We’ve all been down an internet rabbit hole, but next time ask yourself- ‘Are the choices that the internet is making for me right now the ones I would make for myself?’ If not, it’s time to learn how to manage your cookies. A quick web search will help you learn how to manage cookies for your browser and gain some control of what you see on the web.
9. Value Bold Moves – Try Talking to Your Hero
In the age of the internet, there are a million ways to connect with others – including your heroes. Karen has sometimes reached out to the author of a book club book with surprisingly frequent success. Social media can be a real bridge between you and your favorite writer/icon/cultural leader. If you’ve ever had a question for someone you admire, it’s a great time to ask them. Try their Twitter or Instagram feed. A thoughtful question or a (short) message about how their work inspired or changed you is a great way to connect. If social media isn’t your thing, try the old-fashioned way – via a mail address, publicist, or website contact form. You never know what dialogue you’ll start!
If reaching for the stars doesn’t appeal, invite a community leader or someone you have admired from afar for coffee. Your local hero is likely busy so be respectful and come prepared with insightful and meaningful questions.
If you’d rather be inspired solo, try time with an inspiring book (that isn’t self-help or career related). Esquire has a tremendous list of the best non-fiction of 2018. The list begins with a poignant note that perfectly captures our recommendation: “By looking at the real world around us, we’re better equipped to understand ourselves.” It includes a variety of stories and genres, including dispatches from war zones, true crime, memoir, autobiographies and comedy.
We might curl up with this little gem….ok it’s a little work-related.
10. Value ‘Being’ and Stop Living to Do
We end this list at its natural conclusion – taking time to value ‘being’. There is no better time to reflect on what is meaningful in your life. The easiest (or hardest) way to do that is to spend time ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. We all get in ‘doing’ loops – at this time of year there is always another holiday task- photos for holiday cards, gift buying, and end of year planning. Unfortunately, those ‘doing loops’ can make us stray further from what really drives us – being present in the moment. If you’ve looked around recently and wondered, “Well, how did I get here?” (as in the classic Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime) – stop for a moment. Check out this highly relatable story from news anchor Dan Harris, who once had a panic attack on national television. That wake up call (which he calls ‘the most embarrassing moment of my life”) was a completely natural reaction to his incredibly demanding field and non-stop ‘doing’. It set him on a path to find a little calm in his life and eventually starting a meditation program and easy-to-use app for ‘meditation skeptics’. It is beautiful in its simplicity – proving that a moment of being can be beneficial for anyone – even ABC news anchors. Moments of being, practiced regularly, give you the strength to navigate the turbulent times and come out stronger on the other side.
We’ll close this note with a wish that you find new value in yourself, your loved ones, and your wonderful life in the next year.
Until we meet again,