Welcome to 2017! I had a wonderful extended holiday with my family and just returned this week to my day job and my freelancing. I had not realized how much I need the extended time off until a few days into the vacation, then all the emotions and exhaustion released. I had been pushing myself hard at the end of the year at work and preparing for the holidays with family. Being able to spend extended uninterrupted time with my wife and daughters between Christmas and New Year’s rejuvenated my mind and spirit.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
My experience over the holiday is summed up well by this quote by Maya Angelou. I can say nice things to people. I can do nice things for people. I can do my work well. Yet these can be forgotten. Even more, if I do the “nice” things but my heart isn’t into them, then they can come across shallow or even cold. It is how I interact, how I respect, how I relate personally, and how truly I care for people that has a lasting impact. My family made me feel loved and appreciated, which energized me and encourages me to make others feel the same.
I am not going to make the generic resolution to “be better” to everyone this year, nor to be “more sincere” with everyone. I have spoken before how much relationships matter as a freelancer and in life. That has not changed and is still a focus on mine. But this year, I want to make resolutions to two very specific things.
A co-worker of mine has been doing something similar to this and I want to try it myself. When someone asks me “How are you doing?”, “How are things?”, or “How are you today?”, etc…I am honestly going to answer them rather than consider this a euphemism for saying “Hello.” I am sure this will startle many people, and frustrate quite a few. Likely, quite a few won’t be interested or have the time to talk. But, even if just one or two have the time, then we can have a meaningful and heartfelt conversation about each other and get to know each other more. And I am going to ask people “How are you?” and take the time to truly listen to them. Think what it would be like if we each did that even just once a week and it spawned a longer conversation? Who might we get to know better? What new friendships could we build? What opportunities would open up for us to help others with something challenging them?
I have a friendship that became strained over the years, and I plan to focus time this year on mending that relationship and building it back up. I am sure my friend reads my blog occasionally and likely will see this, but he already knows about this decision. I reached out to him already and we have taken the opening steps, but it will take some time and energy for both of us. We are both looking forward to developing a new and stronger friendship this year, and for the years to come.
Relationship-building is more than just saying and doing nice things. It is about putting your heart and mind purposely into the entire process. See who you could startle by being sincere with a “How are you?” question.
Beyond resolutions, there are some exciting things I am looking forward to in 2017:
- Relationships with new publishers. Toward the end of 2016, I began working with three new publishers and look forward to seeing where these projects lead and how the relationships grow.
- Really looking forward to attending the 50th Anniversary of Gen Con with my entire family. We have the same accessible hotel room booked that we had last year that worked so well for my family. We will be setting up/tearing down and working the Modiphius booth again. This could be our last year doing this together as a family, which leads to my final item.
- My twin daughters begin college this fall at Taylor University which is exciting and emotional. They are beautiful young women preparing to experience a whole new world away from home, and I could not be prouder. But this daddy will shed a few tears moving them in and then returning home to a much quieter house. Have to get a lot of gaming in this spring and summer before they head off to college.
- Returning to GMing a long term RPG campaign. I had taken a break for a while to be a player, and now I am ready to return to the game master role, refreshed and ready to build epic collaborative stories.
- Increasing my involvement in The Tavern and InnRoads gaming events, including trying my hand at running a game or two on Roll20.
- Hosting quarterly Community Game Nights at my church and perhaps encouraging other churches or organizations to host game nights as well. Be fun if I could get one going at the local library or coffee shop as well.
What are your 2017 resolutions? Are there relationships you really want to build or strengthen?
Happy New Year!