I am sitting in my family room watching the Ohio State/Michigan game, laptop in lap, posting on the topic of preparing for the Year of the Peer. A few moments ago, I received a text from a friend I met since moving to California about eight years ago. The message read: Just wanted to say that post Thanksgiving, I have a real sense of gratitude for all the family, friends, and acquaintances in my life. Hope I’ve been good to you, too!
Hard to think of a better way to prepare for the Year of the Peer than thanking the people you care about, sharing how much you appreciate them, and letting them know you hope you’re making a positive difference in their lives as well. It’s something we don’t do often enough, yet being the recipient of such a message has already made my day and inspired me to complete this blog post (game notwithstanding).
After thanking the people who are making a difference in your life, here are 10 other suggestions:
- Commit yourself to the idea that who you surround yourself with matters. Recognize that so much of who you are and what you achieve in life is a reflection of your peers.
- Take stock of the people in your life. Who is lifting you up, holding you at bay, or even dragging you down? Spend more time with the people who will help you raise your game.
- Ask yourself: Who did I meet this year (whom I didn’t know last year) who has made a positive difference in my life? Consider how you can advance those relationships to your mutual benefit. (And if you don’t have anyone new in your life, take note of that for next year).
- Ask yourself: Who have I lost touch with over the years? How and why did that happen? Not every relationship in our life is meant to last forever. However, often times we can lose touch with someone without even realizing it. Before we know it, x years have gone by and we just never realized it. Don’t let that discourage you from reaching out! You’ll both be glad you did.
- Seek out individuals who will challenge your world view. Too often, we hang out with people who are similar to us – for some of us, maybe too similar. In the movie The Sure Thing, Professor Taub tells her students: “Have conversations with people whose clothes are not color coordinated.” Good advice!
- Assume a posture of learning rather than judging. The more often you can take the default position that you can learn from anyone if you just pay enough attention, the more likely you actually will. Don’t judge others, or rate their opinions/answers to your questions, learn from them.
- Ask more questions of people and listen for understanding. This is tough to do if you’re inclined to judge all the time, which is why being a learner is so essential. Too often when people make statements we don’t agree with, we counter with our own diametrically opposed viewpoint. While you can’t fathom how someone could hold such a view, you’ll never find out either if you leap into an argument. Be curious instead. If you do, you may never achieve agreement, but you might come to a mutual understanding and even develop a respect for a different point of view.
- Share what you do know with others who will benefit from your experience and wisdom. Effective peer-to-peer relationships are powered by generosity and reciprocity. As you learn from others, be sure you are returning the favor.
- Avoid the urge to make a New Year’s Resolution. If anyone asks you, just say you’re not doing that this year. According to the University of Scranton, while nearly half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, 92% of them fail. People fail largely because their resolution lacks specificity and because they typically don’t ask for help. Why be one of them?
- Set goals for yourself instead. Once you’ve defined your goals, whether you want to run a company or run a marathon, surround yourself with people who have done it or want to do it. This is where joining or starting a peer group can be incredibly effective!
Take these 10 thought starters (11 once you’ve thanked your peers for the year), add to them as you see fit, and share any ideas you may have for how you will prepare for the Year of the Peer in the comments section. In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to our Year of the Peer video podcast on YouTube. The link to iTunes will be available soon. Enjoy your Saturday!
Image: Thank you.
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