Happy New Year and Life Lessons from a 7-year-old!

Last year the Sixth Sense team embarked upon a fantastic programme called Best Year Yet. It enabled us to focus on the things that matter and set some positive, tangible goals. I am proud of what we have achieved last year with the publication of Staying Sane in Business, the acquisition of Positiveworks Limited and the interesting client work we had the privilege of delivering. It really was the best year yet (so far)! Yes, there were moments of frustration and even failure and sadness, but that’s all part of real life isn’t it?

Like lots of people I am thinking about the year ahead, now that the festive period is over. This year I want to focus on how I want to be, not what I want to achieve. If I get the how I want to be bit right, then I hope that I will achieve things that matter to me anyway.

So how do I want to be? This is where I can learn from my delightful seven-year-old daughter and her wonderful friends. This is what I observe from them:

  • Express your emotions – they let us and each other know when they are angry, sad, frightened or surprised. The very act of expressing what they are feeling enables them to move back to joy and happiness quickly.
  • Follow your dreams – they have hopes and dreams and they move towards them with enthusiasm and energy, without being inhibited by those automatic negative thoughts that can hold as back as adults.
  • Be spontaneous – they do what they feel like doing when they feel like it, as least they do as much as we let them! Yes, this one may not always be realistic as a grown up, but we can sometimes suffer from commitment entrapment or be stifled by sense of obligation.
  • State your needs – they say what they want and when they want it. And if they don’t get it they ask again and again! Why is it so hard from us as adults to say what we really want and need, even to those who matter to us most?
  • Be curious – they explore what is around them with endless fascination. How many times do they ask ‘why’ and it makes us stop and think because we have never thought about that topic in that way before?
  • See and be seen – they see things for the first time and look at everything through a lens of optimism and excitement. At what age do we stop really noticing and appreciating some of the simple things in life?
  • Get creative – they can make something out of practically nothing. By really using our imaginations we could achieve so much more and this will require us to say ‘and’ and not ‘but’ a little more often.
  • Learn – they are like sponges, constantly absorbing new information. We can be so busy doing that we don’t give ourselves time to think and reflect. Reading books and attending training courses etc. are essential to personal growth, not luxuries.
  • Be forgiving – they can argue and squabble and even fight. However, they soon forgive and forget. Holding grudges does not occur to young children.
  • Have fun – they kick the Autumn leaves, climb trees, throw snowballs and splash in muddy puddles. How often do we watch the fun and laughter and want to join in? Instead, so many of think we need things like alcohol to let some of our inhibitions go.
  • Be healthy – they eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, make time for friends and hobbies and go to the doctors when they are ill! Sounds simple doesn’t it? What’s more they do all these things because we help and guide them. So why don’t we do all of these things for ourselves? Caring for ourselves rarely gets prioritised. But sometimes we really should consider ‘putting on our own oxygen masks before we put on others’ to use an airline analogy! If we are healthy and happy we can give far more to others.

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and productive New Year from Jackie Sykes and all at Sixth Sense Consulting.



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