Four Steps to the Best New Year’s Gift You Can Give Yourself

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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“Those who live in the past limit their future.”

This was the message I received on my Yogi tea bag last night, as I enjoyed my nightly cup of tea. How timely and appropriate as we bring 2014 to a close.

We all know this to be true. It is difficult to move forward into the future when we have one or both feet firmly planted in the past. How do we make the transition from current state to desired state? This is the core of the work I do with my Successful Culture clients… I move them forward.

Mission, Vision, Values, Strategy, Culture, Business Plans….all absolutely essential for business growth. However, we can’t create any of these, or implement any of these, if we can not release what has not worked for us. This is so much easier said than done.

This is also where we encounter the intersection between business growth and mindfulness. One aspect of mindfulness is the awareness of the thoughts, situations, and people that hold us back and deplete us. Once we are aware, then we can take action.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  ~Buddha

This mantra is a core tenet of my life. In both our personal lives and in business, conflict is to be expected. How much do you empower the anger that creeps in when you encounter conflict? Anger is not only counter-productive; it is harmful. Again, developing an awareness of how anger impacts your relationships, your results, and your life is the first step to neutralizing its effects.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Once you have become aware of what is holding you back, and how the anger shows up in your daily thoughts, actions, and even physical responses, the hard work of forgiveness begins. Forgiveness of others is the very best gift you can give to yourself because it releases YOU from the chokehold of negativity.

Releasing negativity from the future, letting go of anger, and extending forgiveness. These are complex and difficult tasks, and certainly not intentions that one can master simply from reading a single blog.

However, every journey begins with a single step. Here are the first few steps I propose for you as you move your business goals and relationships forward into 2015, with as little baggage and as few shackles as possible:

1: Identify one person in your business life with whom you have unresolved conflict. This could be a partner, a former employee, former employer, former customer, a vendor or anyone else that has been a part of your business evolution.

2: Acknowledge that by extending an olive branch or attempting to bring peace to a contentious & difficult situation is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a sign of strength, and a requirement for releasing negativity to make room for positivity.

3: Write to yourself a letter or note articulating the situation with this person, and the resulting feelings & results that it has created for you. Be honest, and don’t hold back.

4: When you are ready, call this person. Don’t email or text. Call them. Tell them that you want to move into 2015 with a clean slate. Wish them a Happy New Year, and release the situation. The purpose of this conversation is to release the anger and the negativity within you, and make room for healthy, positive, and productive relationships in 2015. Regardless of their response, you are releasing the negativity from within you.

For many people and for many situations, this can be a difficult – if not impossible – task. Business is unfinished, wounds are deep & raw, and you may not be near a place of forgiveness. However, other situations may be ready for closure. This closure is the best New Year’s gift you can give yourself.

I know for many, this type of outreach is way beyond your comfort zone, and risky. It takes tremendous courage to be vulnerable. Just try it with one person.

Release the negative to make room for the positive by bringing closure, and clearing space for new & healthy connections. You have way too many goals to achieve to be weighed down with negative relationships.

I’m looking forward to a healthy, productive, and prosperous 2015 with all of you.

Happy New Year!



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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.

Ready to move forward? Email us today at [email protected].

Connect with me on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with me during my morning Periscope sessions as well (@marissalevin).

Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.

~Marissa Levin
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”

photo credit Stuart Miles via

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