My New Year’s resolution

The end of 2014 is near and it’s tempting to draw up a long list of lofty goals for 2015. I’ve done my homework for my business (and I’ll be taking part in Marta Stelmaszak’s free online January Business Camp to catch anything I may have missed). And that should be enough – most years it is.

This year, I am making an exception and have one major (and slightly scary) resolution:

In 2015, I will try one new thing a month that not only takes me out of my comfort zone but also may not be a raving success. My plan is to practice a graceful acceptance of not always being able to be excellent at something.

Let me explain. I have a strong perfectionist streak as do many translators. This is great for my translation work because it means I am constantly looking to improve my skills and be the best I can be. And I never make the same mistake twice. I am always pushing myself to do better.

The downside is that I too often shy away from the opportunity to try new things. The memories of past failures are alive and kicking in my mind. I can still vividly remember that audition for The Wizard of Oz in third grade that DID NOT GO WELL. Oh yes, my 8-year-old self is still mortified. The fear of being below par holds me back and that simply won’t do. There is a difference between being cautious and being chicken. Being chicken won’t get you far in the long run.

On a rational level, not being great at everything is nothing to be ashamed of. Failing at something means that you tried and now know that a different approach is required. Ideally, failing can be a learning experience. That is why I am determined to allow myself 12 chances to not shine next year. Every month, I will do something that I know I am not very good at. In February, for instance, I will give a presentation for my local business network. Public speaking terrifies me and it shows. If my presentation doesn’t go as smoothly as I would like it to, then my New Year’s resolution includes trying to not dwell on it. I would like to simply nod to myself and acknowledge that I am not ready for a public speaking career.

I have strong hopes that my 12 challenges won’t all turn out badly. Even if they do, I am convinced that by this time next year I will at least have become a little more fearless. Realizing that the world won’t stop if I don’t absolutely excel at something should serve me well in all aspects of life. It’s an act of kindness toward yourself to sincerely accept that you can still go out and do things, in spite of never being really good at them.

I wish all of you the best for 2015 and encourage you to allow yourselves to be less than perfect every now and then. Go write some bad poetry or bake that lopsided cake or nervously giggle your way through public speaking (which I’ll probably be doing in February) or rock that dance floor and let yourself enjoy it! See you next year.

There are 11 comments on this post

  1. Caroline Alberoni

    Your idea is absolutely fantastic, Else!
    As I always like to be positive, I’m sure you’ll surprise yourself with your presentation in February. And you may end up having one or two challenges not turning out so well, but I have no doubt in my mind that most of them will be lovely unexpected achievements to be grateful for in late 2015.
    Good luck!
    Happy New Year! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Happy New Year to you as well, Caroline 🙂 And let’s see what I have to say about my 12 challenges at the end of next year. I’ll definitely have learned something!

      Reply
  2. magda

    Else, happy new year and all the best with your dreams and new challenges. I believe you are gifted because of your sincerity and respect towards others. Those are things you cannot easily find. Be brave!

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Thanks, Magda! It’s a humdinger of a resolution and it’s going to take some courage to pull off. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Or do you steer clear of them?

      Reply
  3. Alessandra Martelli

    That sounds like a wise resolution indeed, Else 🙂
    May your 2015 be filled with strength, joy, and success!
    Cheers,
    Alessandra

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      A wise and rather daunting resolution. I’m quite curious myself how far I’ll get with it.

      I hope 2015 has only good things in store for you, Alessandra (and that we’ll meet again!)

      Reply
  4. Marie Jackson

    This is a fantastic resolution! Like you, I’ve always been a perfectionist, and this has only worsened as I started my business. I now immediately start thinking about how I could turn a hobby into a sideline (business is fun!), and get upset when an attempt at something new falls flat (how will my imaginary future business ever get off the ground if I’m awful?!). After a friend pointed out that it’s supposed to be a hobby, so I don’t have to make everything perfect, I’ve had a lot of fun giving myself permission to be rubbish 🙂 Good luck, Else! I’m sure you’ll start to really enjoy yourself once you’ve done it a few times. By the way, you may like this little comic, which I think is a great illustration of why we should try things we’re not good at.

    Happy New Year! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Thanks for your comment, Marie. That comic is perfect! I am very determined to see this resolution through and hope that you are right that it will get to be fun after a while 🙂

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      Reply
  5. Valentina

    “In 2015, I will try one new thing a month that not only takes me out of my com­fort zone but also may not be a rav­ing suc­cess.”

    I think I’m gonna try to do the same thing… and I’ll see what happens!
    I’ll also be following Marta Stelmaszak’s free online Jan­u­ary Busi­ness Camp to get new useful tips.

    Wishing you a very prosperous (and happy) 2015!
    Valentina from Italy

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Good luck with both endeavors, Valentina! And I’ll see you at Marta’s Business Camp 🙂

      Reply
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