December 2021 From the Executive’s Desk: The Best Time of Year

Hello everyone! For me, this is my favorite time of the year. Yes, we are still extremely busy—yet there is also a festive quality to each day, each week, each month. As I sit here in my office in a mode of reflection on this year to date, I can’t help but be pleased with ASPE’s continued overall progress and growth opportunities as we all work together for our future.

Every year, once the New Year has begun, we all focus so much on getting off to a fast start and attempting to hold on to that pace throughout the year. Well, a fast start doesn’t do us any good unless we can successfully maintain momentum and finish strong through the end. However, to have a successful year, you don’t always have to focus on your work life every moment of the day. I would like to use this month’s column to change our focus from the everyday hustle and bustle of the “Industry Life.”

When this column is before you for reading on ASPE Pipeline, the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, and each of us is celebrating the remainder of the holiday season, which covers many holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you respectively celebrate. For each of us, each day should be held as special in its own right or place. However, during the holidays things just seem to be a little more focused if we are maintaining a proper balance of importance. The most important thing is to make sure that we are spending quality time with family and friends during all of the specials events and/or times of the year that provide these opportunities.

Upon further reflection on this time of year, we should be thankful for so many things, yet many times we find ourselves focused entirely on what’s next rather than being in the moment with our most treasured resources, our families and friends, making lifelong memories. In seeking those lifelong memories, please remember that no Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or other holiday celebration is perfect. Some of the best memories can come from when we view inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree, a non-flaky pie crust, or a burned brisket won’t ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. At the top of your holiday wish list, make sure that love and laughter are 1a and 1b. At times, the barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. In remembering what is important, we should scale back and remind ourselves that what makes a great celebration is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations, or gourmet food.

As I attempt to bundle together all of my thoughts relative to the term “family and friends,” I can’t help but consider so many of you, our ASPE members and industry partners, as family members as well. We could consider many of our joint efforts as participating as a family as we strive together to advance our Society and industry. This may include our chapters, committees, working groups, special-interest groups, and industry partner collaborations—the list could go on and on as we work together to advance our profession and to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public. Regardless of what you do, even for our relationships with families and friends to be successful, there has to be a concerted effort of establishing and working within a proper team concept: one direction, one mindset, one unified effort, period. Let’s all focus together to be that team as we look toward the New Year.

Another great area to focus on during the holidays is the opportunity to volunteer in any way possible to help the many who are less fortunate. With the fact that our Society is a volunteer organization, the importance of volunteering should ring loudly in our respective ears or shine brightly in our eyes if we just look and listen for opportunities to share with others.

Also, while enjoying the holidays through the remainder of the year, another critical focal point that we all should consider is to take time for yourself.

Many times, there may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do—others will benefit when you’re stress-free. Go for a long walk, get a massage, or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries; by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals. Yes, I will admit that I need to take some of my own guidance and direction here. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to taking the time to recharge effectively. That will be one of my goals.

Speaking of goals, I hope that each of you will be finishing 2021 successfully, having productively managed to accomplish the items set for the year. I suggest that we all spend some quality time appropriately planning our goals for 2022 in a way that they are not just measurable, but also attainable. With each New Year come new and fresh opportunities, as well as the next steps in our continued efforts in developing additional benefits and tools that provided the obvious reasons you made your choice to become an ASPE member and why you should remain an ASPE member for many years to come.

In closing, I hope you really do plan for and enjoy some relaxing time with family and friends over the holiday season. Thanks to everyone for your respective efforts within our industry and the advancement of our mission relative to the health and safety of the public.

Stay healthy and safe!

Carry on…

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