New Years Resolutions 2013

S Clare Honest

A couple days ago, LinkdIn posted The Biggest Ideas of 2013. Thinkers and writers including Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, and Ron Baker wrote about what they think the big new something will be for 2013. The writers tackled a wide range of topics varying from the culture of the workplace to the war on drugs. Each writer had unique ideas and perspectives, but one theme caught our eye here at S. Clare Inc. Many of these writers called for a shift in the way we think. The big ideas they suggested required reorienting our priorities and looking at the world through a different lens. There was a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, and it seems that many of these writers do not think things will improve if we continue down the path we’re on.

In her discussion of the holiday season and the new year,  Arianna Huffington called for two things, “first, acknowledging that we are overstressed, and second, taking the necessary steps to identify the sources of our stress and course-correct.” She argued that if we can make this shift, we can reduce the negative effects of stress on our lives to “reconnect with our own creativity, wisdom, and joy.” Who doesn’t want to be more creative, wise and joyful?? I do! And all I have to do is identify and counteract my stress? Great! Though that’s a little easier said than done, isn’t it? When was the last time you were stressed? Did you stop, think about the cause of your stress and reorient your life so that the stress factor no longer weighed down on you? No, probably not. If you’re like me, it’s more likely that you systematically tore all your fingernails down to nothing, downed two cups of coffee, ate three (insert junkfood here) and told yourself if you had more time it wouldn’t be this bad… Ok. So maybe that would be a pretty big shift in the way we live our lives. It’s an ambitious new years resolution, but a good one, I think. I’m sure I’d be a more successful employee, sister and friend if I could make the shift that Huffington is suggesting.

In a similar vein, Ron Baker argued that our tendancey to prioritize efficiency over effectiveness is dangerous and possibly damaging. His big idea for 2013 is a shift of cultural priority from an emphasis on efficiency to effectiveness. That’s a brave statement. The idea of efficiency permeates our society at every level. Since the innovation of the assembly line, we’ve been pushing for new ways to be more efficient. We bemoan government agencies when they’re efficient. We struggle daily to be more productive at work. We use keyboard shortcuts to eliminate the nanoseconds used up by moving our hands to the mouse. And where do you think the idea of fastfood came from? We’re busy people. We constantly look for ways to be more efficient so we can cram even more into our days. But does accomplishing more tasks in a day, especially if it’s stressing us out, really make us effective humans? I don’t know. Ask Arianna Huffington.

The idea of resolving to change our priorities to be more effective citizens in 2013 ran through almost all of the posts, and it got us at S. Clare Inc. thinking. The comments on the culture of the workplace especially resonated with us because we like to do things the fun way. One of the most wonderful things about being the small business that we are is that we get to pick and chose the projects we work on, the people we work with, and how we work. So we go for things we enjoy. We do projects that interest and excite us, and approach them in ways we think are fun and innovative. Isn’t it great not to have to be a stick-in-the-mud all the time? No, offense to sticks-in-the-mud, we’d just rather not be one if we don’t have to.

This line of thinking lead us to The Agency Post’s Top 10 Agencies With The Best Company Culture. Did you hear about this? Wexley School For Girls, our neighbors up in Seattle, are on that list. And here’s why:

Yes, yes that is a mini golf course winding through the desks. It looks to me like the folks up at Wexley have already made the shift that Arianna Huffington is calling for. I think I would have a hard time being stressed out if I was hanging out with a statue of Merlin the Wizard every day. The Agency Post says that “Employee profit sharing ensures that everyone at Wexley is committed to success, and after an employee’s first three months, they are offered $3,000 to leave. Wexley boasts a wall of voided $3,000 checks — one for every employee they’ve ever offered it to.” So, go Wexley! If we’re to start shifting the way we live for the better, what better place to start than at work? The folks at Wexley seem to have already resolved and followed through on the resolution to cut back on stress and focus on effectiveness. So I wonder what they’ll resolve for 2013.

I’m with Arianna Huffington this year. I’m resolving to orient my life away from stress … and to exercise more. What are you resolving?

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