feel-2016Welcome to (hopefully) the next 365 days with the gift of life. Happy New Year! How will you make your difference this year? But, even more importantly, how will you feel?

I ask because it occurred to me that it is way more important how life feels on the inside than what it looks like on the outside. What looks like success may feel like a lonely struggle or worse. Rich people can be terribly unhappy. High performers who make all the targets and earn big bonuses may forget what the woods or the sea smell like. Slim people have to deny themselves every sweet desert to keep their figure.

Organizations that are dominating their markets make many sacrifices, too. They look fantastic and people may envy those who work there. But how does it feel when you’re inside?
Winning teams may look like energetic groups that help you raise the bar but they may turn out to be energy vampires exhausting you. They burn their members but look like a splashing pool of upbeat energy.

It matters more how life feels than what it looks like from the outside Click To Tweet
People looking back on life when death approaches never reminisce about the visible facts – the figures in their bank account, their houses, and cars, the number of spouses and children, the numbers of trips. They remember how they felt. They remember when they were happiest and saddest.

How do you make others feel?

Of course, we sort of know this. But as human beings, we tend to forget some of the truths we discovered. We can’t be consciously aware of all our wisdom all the time. So, this is a simple reminder for you and me.
It is like Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The same counts for how we treat ourselves. How do you make yourself feel? When planning for the year ahead and setting intentions or goals – why not take into account how this would make you feel?

How do you feel?

Let’s not fool ourselves with how things look from the outside. Let’s not keep up with the Joneses. Let’s truly value ourselves and choose goals and activities that may make us feel good. When you feel good, you have access to your highest potential. You can make your most positive difference.

When you feel good, you have access to your highest potential. #makeadifference Click To TweetWhen you don’t feel good (even though you look like a success on the outside) you cannot access your best self. Exhaustion, irritation, fear, anger, self-doubt, stress, grief, worry, and anxiety narrow your scope in every way. They cut you off from what you can be.

When you don’t feel good (even though you look like a success on the outside) you cannot access your best self. Exhaustion, irritation, fear, anger, self-doubt, stress, grief, worry, and anxiety narrow your scope in every way. They cut you off from what you can be.
Feeling goods equates a free flow of energy and ideas without holding back – and you will radiate. You will BE the difference that uplifts others too.

Mindfulness

feel-which-door-to-openIf you take feeling seriously it will bring you back to small things and pleasures. It is mindfulness in action. Your life is not about the next promotion or car. Your life is not about being appreciated by your boss or neighbor. Your life is about developing yourself, learning, feeling good, and contributing with your unique presence to the lives of others, to the workplace and the world.

Next year is about that walk in the woods with your kids. The joyful moment of your first coffee in the morning. The smile you exchanged with your friend or the receptionist. The warmth of the sun on your skin. The lovely indolence of your muscles after sports. The pride you feel when your team member does that presentation just right. The conversation with your direct report that yielded one big insight for both of you. The hug you gave and received. The feeling of being understood by your boss – and being supported.

How would your New Year’s resolutions or intentions or hopes change if you take the feeling seriously?

How and what would change?

What would you change in your workplace, or in your team, if you departed from feeling instead of what the figures should look like? Of course, sometimes we have to give up some comfort for success. We want to see great sales figures. But imagine how you feel achieving those figures. What would you have to do to manifest those targets?
Ask your team what would make them feel great and what would make them feel at their worst. Next, adjust your goals or change activities to make them more balanced and realistic.

Wise people change their actions based on how they feel. I know someone who stepped down from a management position because the conflicts and stress kept him awake at night. A couple who sold their big house to be able to work less and not worry about the mortgage – while enjoying more time with friends. People who deliberately let go of the status and success symbols on the outside to focus on their inner life. Not out of fear or incompetence but as a conscious choice – because it feels good to be their best self and make their unique difference. If that feels right for you, try to follow that path!

Feeling good may improve your visible results as well #makeadifference Click To Tweet
Feeling in our private lives is somewhat underexposed because you can’t see it directly. We are dominantly visual. Let alone feeling at work. We shouldn’t bring emotions to work is what we’re taught. Work is about thinking rationally and getting things done. Feeling is what you do at home. But we are whole. There is no way we can deposit our emotions at the entrance when we enter the company building. We bring ourselves to work.

Let’s be aware and acknowledge how we feel. Next, adjust what is needed to feel better (or really good!) so you can truly make a difference.

Let’s be brave and ask others how they feel and what they need to feel good. This small, courageous question may change your team…

If you can’t see you have to feel, like the mole does. How can you feel your way into the new year? Can you feel which new doors you need to open?

If you start feeling more it becomes easier to follow the energy. You may improve your timing because you respond to energy. You will feel the ideas that generate enthusiasm, the tasks that jump out because they “want” to be done, the projects that you need to join – just feel, follow your energy, and go with the flow. You may improve your visible results on the outside as well!

How do you feel right now? I’d love for you to share your thoughts and feelings with me…
Wishing you a fulfilling, feeling-good 2016!

Marcella Bremer is an author and culture & change consultant. She co-founded this Leadership & Change Blog and OCAI-online.com.