If there was ever a year when my usually placid internal seismograph needle went through an ill-advised thrash metal phase, 2013 was it. Indeed, if it were at all possible to extract the graph paper (flimsy) from my person, the series of recorded megathrusts might be mistaken for a Rorschach test inkblot.
Still, it would be a shame to let an annus nowyourejusttakingthepiss get in the way of a seasonal tradition around these parts. So with more than a nod to the previous four annual recaps, I’ve rounded up a few inspiring things my friends wrote on the internet in 2013. Thank you one and all.
“We ask each other how we are, how we’re doing, sometimes how we’re “holding up.” When someone asks it in a formal, professional context, it means little more than “hello.” When our friends ask, they usually want to know a bit more, if not every single detail of recent lives. Weirdly, I suspect most of us aren’t in the habit of asking it of ourselves.”
“The larger the audience, the more I withdrew. The riskier the subject, the more I held back. Which brings us to where I am today: I’ve stopped saying what I want, and I’ve started being afraid of being wrong.
I am afraid of being wrong. I am afraid of being trivial. I am afraid of publishing something that will be seen as unsatisfactory.
So I publish nothing at all.”
“Putting our least polished selves out there for our peers to see—admitting, without shame, that we struggled through rough patches and that not everything turned out exactly the way we’d hoped—won’t expose us as impostors. Instead, it’ll make our work feel that much more real—and, in turn, that much easier for others to be inspired by.”
“There are so many days when ‘the work’ is remembering you can do the work. You have to start small. It’s okay, just get the facts down. Say what you know, one word at a time. Take a walk when your chest gets too tight. Be around people who make you happy to be alive. And when you sit down to work and that voice starts shrieking, give it a moment to wear itself out — and then do the work anyway.”
“I can promise you this: when it gets tempting to let my own crippling insecurities come crashing down and bring everything to a halt—it’s going to be a lot harder to let them stop me. I don’t have any more excuses to hide behind, and the ugly, purpose-robbing blob of narcissism that self-doubt really is, now lies exposed before me.”
“I want to be better – not at hiding my feelings, but at using them productively. And when something goes wrong on a project, I want my first reaction to be generous. I want to give clients and coworkers the benefit of the doubt instead of the kneejerk defense. I don’t want to operate from scarcity.”
“In a safe space you believe that you are enough. You have value as a person, irrespective of the choices you make and other people’s opinions of those choices. Consequently you’re worthy of love, respect, and compassion—from yourself as well as from others. People accept you for who you are, and so do you.”
“Integrity comes in the hard choices, from saying no to things you wish you could say yes to. It’s refusing to take a project you might enjoy and that would pay well, because you don’t respect the values of the organization. It’s walking away from a business partnership that offers you significant benefits in terms of exposure and collaboration, because you learn your business partner is not a man of integrity. It’s ending a friendship with a person you genuinely like, because you realize she doesn’t truly have your back.”