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She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.

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Let me be the first to welcome you to the New Year. I am excited because I fully believe this is going to be a good year – in spite of all the predictions, politics, and pundits… I believe in the message that I shared last week about Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year…so with this in mind at this time in the lull between the holidays it is a good time to survey your life and if needed – let’s adjust your sails so every day is the best day in the year.

One of my favorite quotes is, She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.  (by Elizabeth Edwards)

Wow – how great is that thought… because friends sometimes we’ve got to adjust our sails when the winds blow against us and they will – so you and I must make a decision to continue to fight the wind and inch along or re-group – adjust our sails and go…

I have quote on my work-wall that says, Deb – ride the wave, instead of fighting the current… even in my own work I have to stop many times and re-direct so I am not wearing myself out fighting something that could be so easy with a small adjustment.

As you know by now – I love the water – I am drawn to the ocean, lakes, streams, pools, baths, showers – I love water and I find it calming… but I can tell you in vivid detail about the storms I have seen crash upon the beach, or how we had to fight against the coastal waterway change in tide to make it to safety or watched a calm lake churn into a force to be feared.

Now I’m not much into sailing – I prefer a motor to do the work, but I have seen and been around enough sailing vessels to admire the dexterity of the controls for the mainsail…

I speak and train in Boston and I love to watch the kids in sailing school on the Charles River… from the safety of shore it is fun to watch the little boats go in circles until a good wind will adjust the sail and then they sail to the shoreline…all smiles in their success in harnessing the wind…by simply adjusting the sail…

How about you… as you reflect on last year did you make substantial progress in your journey, or did you go round and round in circles?

Did the wind catch your sail and bring you into a bountiful shore or were you sailing on a hope and a prayer to make it anywhere safely….

Either way it is my hope for you this year that with a positive mind set, a workable plan and an eye for opportunity that you will find your wind, adjusted your sail and sail to outrageous success.

Let me share a few things about adjusting your sail for a good new year… sometimes we have to make allowances for others – meaning sometimes we need to unload the extra weight that is harming us by their actions and attitudes…and when we do that… it in turn…can make our lives easier to do what we were born to do

To make the sailing vessel lighter – we need to throw some things overboard – things that are weighing us down, things that feel like an anchor around our neck dragging along the bottom of the sea floor, things that take up valuable space on our ship and in our lives.

Please allow me to suggest a few things that I have seen from my speech coaching business…

The question I like to ask my audience is what can you do to help others, which in turn will ultimately help you.

Now really only you can answer that… I know it seems odd to help others when you have your hands full with your own life…but allow me to encourage you to consider doing these 3 things…

Now on this 1st one… I want you to be careful because it can be messy and some folks are so full of vim and vinegar, bile and hate, and seething anger that you need protect yourself – mentally, emotionally, and physically and perhaps spiritually – please note that this will not work in every situation so use your common sense…above protect yourself…

But for some… would you consider giving others a specified timed freedom to speak their mind…I know you don’t want to hear it…it’s the same old chatter they’ve been bellyaching about for years…and for some people you’re opening a door for all their pent up hurt and anger to come spewing out…I know it’s ridiculous and you know its ridiculous but if you can (meaning you have protected yourself and your feelings in advance) allow it to be said…then you might be able to put an end to an ongoing exhausting situation.

Allowing them freedom to speak their mind to have their say…and then cut it off and be done…and make sure they know that you’ll listen with an open mind this one final time – so say your piece and put a lid on it…

I happen to witness a situation where a conversation between a couple went from friendly to irrational verbal sparring… and instead of fighting back – the one person just let the other vent until it was over…and then it was over. It had all been said. It wasn’t easy but by setting a guard and a shield around them knowing this was coming – they obviously withstood the firestorm until the flame went out…

Because remember for some people nothing haunts them like the things they didn’t say…and for them to heal and set you free – sometimes you’ve got to let them speak their mind one final time…Remember I’m trying to clear your path of these weights so you can set your sail and go…

2nd Listen more – remember that most people do not listen with the intent to understand they listen with the intent to reply…

Leo Buscaglia is famous for saying – too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around….

I talk a lot about… that your voice is the only voice that someone might actually listen to or hear…I’ll add to that – that sometimes the only person they want to “hear them out” so to speak is you

Listening is not easy but sometimes your encouraging silence will allow them the space to find and set their sail and then set out for a new course… this year would you consider listening more…just allowing others to stand in the light and shine on their own…now whether they shine or not is not your problem – you just moved out of their way so they could find their space… In my speech coaching I have a saying about the value of your words – it goes like this – allowing someone to finish a sentence is a form of self-esteem and I’ve come to believe that listening to what is being said also provides a sense of self-esteem… by my silence in allowing their words to flow I’ve given them a gift…

It’s been said, A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words…

3rd Help others forgive… I saw a great quote – if you carry the bricks from your past relationship, you will end up building the same house…

Wow that is so true – I find that many people would like to absolve a situation but will not out of respect or deference to you – they’re your friend first and foremost…and if you were hurt they are hurt and will hold your grudge, but you have the power to allow them to remove themselves from the situation since really it is not their issue…

I have a friend who is divorced, and she wants all her friends to carry the weight of her hurt and anger for the other woman and her friend because the mutual friend did not step in to help stop the behavior before it got out of hand…

I understand that she is hurt (no doubt and has every right to be) but to ask all of her friends to maintain a grudge for years afterwards… is rather silly…and most of her friends are done with the exercise in futility since the ex is re-married and moved out of town…and to top it off he is now divorced from the “other woman,” so karma happens…

Asking others to hang on to your grudges, hurt and anger is not being a true friend…its showing your immature selfish side and as my favorite internet sensation says – aint’ no one got time for that…

Remember forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart…

Friend this year consider adjusting your sail to help you glide across the waters of life at your pace, at your command, on your journey…without the baggage of last year…

She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.   

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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