Are you having a good year?
That question was on my mind as I set out snowshoeing.
It started snowing, adding to the fresh blanket received overnight. Somewhat addicted to challenge, rather than an easy valley trail, I headed up Blackcomb Mountain.
Portions of the trail were moderate with others steep enough, and the snow deep enough, that I was thankful for snowshoes.
In snowshoeing, as in life and leadership, when the going gets tough, keep taking the next step!
My goal for this trek was several switchbacks above me and it occurred to me that focusing on a goal was motivational. Focusing on the steepness of the next few hundred steps was not. Just keep taking the next step.
As I hiked up, I was thinking about life and, in particular, the year that is quickly drawing to a close.
I was in the mountains, on vacation and “off the grid” relaxing. It was yesterday that I last did work-related email and I wasn’t planning on opening my inbox any time soon. Rather proud of myself for having ignored my cell phone when it rang, and having successfully ignored a few text messages (they could wait till later), I did succumb and respond to one work-related text message (no one’s perfect). I decided to ignore further alerts from my mobile to just enjoy the majesty and solitude of my surroundings.
Was I having a good year in 2012? I thought some more. Overall, yes!
However, it has been a year with a wide range of events including good times, big challenges, huge disappointments and awesome blessings. A lot of ups and downs just like the mountains.
Personal highlights included the African Missions Trip Nathan and I enjoyed in the spring, our children’s BCIT Convocations and Awards in June and Jordan & Brittany’s Wedding in August. My wife Judy and I enjoyed a great trip to Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore in the fall as well as one to the Grand Canyon (stay tuned for a post).
There were definitely challenges and disappointments along the way. We heard about and prayed for several people who faced health challenges and are so grateful for those who were healed. We mourned and shared condolences with those who had loved-ones pass into eternity.
At work, there were also ups and downs. I learnt some valuable leadership lessons.
Success is not measured solely against your own internal targets. One needs to put targets in perspective. I burnt too much energy being disappointed over missing internal targets while our team significantly outpaced our industry and outperformed competitors.
Our team delighted our loyal customers, worked well with our supportive supply chain partners and, to top it all off, we were recently delighted and honoured to see Creation Technologies named EMS Company of the Year by Circuits Assembly and to read their The Creation Resonation article.
While reflecting on some of our team’s accomplishments, I reached my target elevation on the mountain, took a few photos and started the tramp down.
It was easier snowshoeing downhill so, to keep things interesting, I wondered to find deeper snow. As I said, I like challenges. It occurred to me that there are other times when I don’t like the fact that I like challenges.
Along the way, I took more photos. In life and leadership, it is important to enjoy the journey!
I was getting tired and my jacked was white with snow. I kept taking the next step, enjoying the journey.
Back at my computer I started writing, turned on Christmas music and heard the song used in the Charlie Brown Christmas special, a favourite of mine!
Throughout the past year, despite challenges, our Creation Technologies team achieved many great accomplishments. I’ve blogged about some of them, including Here We Grow Again in Mississauga, Enriching Lives Through Work That Matters, Ascending the Peak, What Are People Saying About Creation Technologies San Jose, Welcome Creation Technologies Mexicali and A New Home for Creation Technologies Changzhou.
Tired yet refreshed from snowshoeing, I started to think about intimacy and Christmas. Though we expect to spend some intimate time this Christmas with family and friends, I was actually thinking about a different relationship between intimacy and Christmas.
In his great book Soul Cravings, Erwin Raphael McManus recounts how he proposed to his wife. She turned him down (a few times). He relentlessly pursued her with his love until she said yes. Erwin noted:
“I did not send my brother, nor did I send a friend. For in issues of love, you must go yourself.”
Christmas is the story of God intimately pursuing you and me!
McManus comments further:
“This is the story of God: he pursues you with his love … you have perhaps not said yes. And even if you reject his love, he pursues you ever still. It was not enough to send an angel or a prophet or any other, for in issues of love, you must go yourself. And so God has come.”
“This is the story of Jesus, that God has walked among us and he pursues us with his love. He is very familiar with rejection but is undeterred. And he is here even now, still pursuing you with his love.”
You may be early on in your spiritual journey or may have little interest in spiritual things. Whatever your situation or beliefs, this Christmas, why not let yourself be pursued by God’s love?
Or, like me, you may have experienced God’s incredible love through Jesus. If so, I hope you share that love with others at Christmas. It is the greatest gift you could share with anyone.
From me and my family to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!
So, did you have a good year in 2012? Are you taking the next step and enjoying the journey? These are not just rhetorical questions. I’m interested in your comments below.