20 Under 40 20_3“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

As finish one calendar year and get set to embark on a brand new one, this famous quote from the classic 19th century story about a young girl who dove into a rabbit hole chasing the white rabbit should give us all pause for thought. The reasons?

We are much different today than we were in December of 2016. As much as some people loathe the thought of change, we’ve all done it whether we liked it or not. If Alice can theorize that we are different people over the course of just one single day, imagine the change over 365 days. The events (happy, sad, and everything in between) alter our perspective; people both new and established impact our thinking and challenge us; and the opportunities for growth and resilience occurred daily whether we recognized them or not and the results and consequences changed us.

This has been a year of tremendous transition for me personally and professionally. In the last year, my wife Barb has joined my practice and works side by side with me; I’ve added two new substantial partnerships that has enhanced my work and ability to serve my clients; and my granddaughter was born and that has forever altered my view of the world. To say I’m the same today would be, well…. mad.

My dog Captain Jack relentlessly seeks out rabbit holes, likely with a different purpose than Alice. He understands that somewhere in that hole is opportunity. He may not know where the path will lead him, what (or whom) he will find along the way, and what potential obstacles lay in wait, but he does know one thing; he’s moving forward to find out.

It’s time to boldly dive into our own rabbit hole. Let’s start by exploring what the quote at the beginning means for you:

Stop focusing on closed holes. Too many people allow past failures and missteps to keep them from jumping into a new rabbit hole we affectionately call “next year.” Instead of ruminating on what could have been and constantly looking back, accept the change and seek out new adventures in front of you with the same zeal that Alice had in chasing the rabbit.

Additionally, focusing on the “good old days” gets stale and stops one from trying anything new. If there’s one thing we are learning, the world may be turning at the same speed, but innovation, knowledge, and change are racing like no other time in history. You need to hang on!
Honor the struggle. You won’t go through a full year without being tested physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. Each of these are tools in the journey that help us grow and achieve resilience. Instead of avoiding them, we can accept (there’s that word again) and honor them as part of what builds us into better humans.

Honoring the struggle wards off low self-esteem because it gives credence to perseverance rather than lack of worth.

Seek out new points of view. We seem to be losing the ability to hear different and new points of view without making judgments on people. We see a Mad Hatter in our way and we dismiss them without learning more.

Holding fast to our own beliefs and only keeping company with those that agree with us is a recipe for stagnation and decline. There are many different characters that are ahead in our rabbit hole; there’s an opportunity there to improve ourselves if we allow it.

Allow time for a tea party. Life balance can get most out of balance for entrepreneurs. The reasons are many, yet the control always lies with the boss. The best way to assure that this next rabbit hole is a successful dig is to make sure you’re mentally and physically able to sustain the journey.

Poor life balance leads to high levels of stress and low levels of mental and physical health. If you want your tomorrow to be better, then save some time everyday to enjoy what you have and take care of yourself.

Fear is the real Queen of Hearts. In the story, the Queen of Hearts is constantly trying to lop off someone’s head. In our stories, fear is constantly trying to sever our spirits. It’s easy to say to not allow fear to drive our decisions and actions, however in practice we are human. Fear is innately in us to keep us safe from things that will harm us, like being burned in a fire. We’ve acquiesced to this wicked queen to allow us to fear what others might think. Having a healthy balance of the “good” fear is necessary for survival. Eschewing the fear that keeps you from unleashing your potential will allow you to consume more tarts along your way.

January is the best month to plan your journey into a new rabbit hole. Who will go with you, what will you take, and most importantly, will you be accepting of whatever comes your way? There’s a lot of uncertainty and there within it lies your adventure and your journey that will change you every day along the route.

Sounds mad, doesn’t it? Good. Because we’re all mad here…

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