Right now, I’m looking out over the sunlit, snow-covered backyard . . . the rolling contours of the garden beds are broken where I dug out some kale yesterday. But aside from the reminders of that little skirmish, the yard is peaceful. All you have are snow-softened hints of the busy backyard life that comes each growing season – gardening, fruit trees, and the noise and activity of goats, chickens, turkeys and pigs.
Inside the house is peaceful too. A few sounds as wood shifts and sparks in the wood stove. The dishwasher is humming along. In the back room, my daughter just did a short run on the old treadmill the kids repaired with their dad this week. And my son is nestled in his room with a good book.
My family’s in good health. Our relationships are strong and vibrant. We’ve got food for the winter, a warm house and a nicely growing bank account as well – thanks to the continuing success of my freelance writing business and our frugal ways.
But here’s the thing I’m intensely conscious of . . . the contentment that reigns here right now isn’t happenstance. Last night our friend Marty caught himself when he started to tell my husband that we’re a lucky family. He corrected himself and said, it isn’t luck. It’s decisions and work that has helped us enjoy such a good new year.
Certainly there have been opportunities that have come our way. But we’ve also been ready to grab them.
Underlying this is a clarity on priorities.
Every day I step up to my desk to work, I can pour all my attention into my work because I’m not worrying about my two teenagers. Or fretting about what’s going on in my marriage.
It isn’t because things don’t come up. We have arguments here. We have confrontations. And I’ve had plenty of days when the last thing I want to do is focus on a project because of doubts and frustrations tugging at my mind.
But those days are not overly frequent. Because when things do come up, I’ve learned from my wise husband to jump on them and address them. [To be honest, many days he has made sure I don't hide away from them!]
See, my tendency is to avoid dealing with the messy stuff in relationships – to dive into work where I can easily find signs of success in letters of recommendations and paychecks. It’s a terrible lesson I learned well from my parents. But I’ve slowly come around to putting relationships first in my daily schedule.
I’ve learned to shift the obligations that I can when something comes up and do what needs to be done to hear the other person out, address the problem and then start shifting the mood and repairing the damage. I’ve also learned to make nurturing relationships something I work on every day. Unlike the myths I grew up with, I don’t wait for a few big events or grand presents to make up for lost moments of closeness or simple acts of love that just takes a little awareness and intention.
And interestingly enough – the more I’ve made this a priority, the more I’m able to get done when I work. And the more I’m able to accelerate my growth as a businesswoman and writer.
But perhaps most importantly, the more I’m able to enjoy the beauty of this new year. And feel within me the growth of a person who is not growing older per se . . . But growing wiser and more competent, ready for the new year.
Relationship Wisdom For The New Year
If you’d like to apply some of tactics and strategies I’ve learned to use to keep the relationships in my life strong, I’ve got a great resource for you. I’ve summed up many of these discoveries in The Healthy Home Biz guide to Relationships. Here’s where you’ll find insights – specifically geared towards you, the home business owner, on how to nurture your relationships and consequently make your home business stronger.
It’s probably one of the most powerful parts of The Healthy Home Biz course – now that I look back at what has made 2013 such a good year – and brought so much promise to 2014.
If you’re struggling to try to figure out how to make it all work, you owe it to yourself and your family to check it out. It’s a wonderful well of wisdom that I still go back to to keep myself on track (I told you about my tendencies).
But bottom line, whether or not you decide to check it out is beside the point. Don’t ignore the importance of relationships in your life. Don’t justify ignoring growing problems because your business demands your attention. You’re undermining yourself, your family and – as I’ve explained – your business.
Don’t saddle yourself with the bittersweet taste of success that comes with frayed connections and broken families. I wish you and your family all the best for 2014. Take that wish seriously and build on it!