The Lessons From 2017 Can Sharpen Your Focus In The New Year

One of the first things a new year gives us is the opportunity to reflect. We look back and feel warmth from our positive experiences, pride from our personal successes, and emboldened from our near misses for the motivation they provide.

We also feel the shadow of sadness when we remember the heartache and hardship that occurred. That's particularly the case this past year.

Hurricanes and wildfires engulfed regions. Unspeakable tragedies occurred in supposed safe havens of frivolity and tranquility. Divisiveness and discord often colored our collective mood.

Many of us are ready to move on to the clean slate of a new year and leave the old one behind. But as we do, let's take with us some of the lessons it offered.

Even on the most difficult of days in 2017, a simple but important message could be heard. Maybe it came from a survivor on the news or directly from someone close to you. Maybe you said it yourself.

This puts things in perspective.                                 

Perspective is powerful. It can frame how you view things. It can guide how you live your life.

This past year, these words from Ernest Hemingway came to life: "The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places." With rolled-up sleeves and clasped hands, broken communities went to work on rebuilding, recovering, coming back even stronger.

This perspective can be carried over to the areas where you live and work. Help others who have lost more than you, who have less than you, who need more than you. Turning your focus outward can significantly change how you feel inward.

Perspective can also help you move forward. Use it to direct your attention toward your most meaningful causes and projects. Focus on being truly present wherever you are. Start each day fresh and then spend the next hours filling it with what makes you feel alive and brings you joy. Avoid getting bogged down by life's petty annoyances. Express appreciation.

And, most important, hold tighter to what is most important to you.

This new year, may you find your best perspective.

From left to right: Bret Hodgdon, John Davis, Michael Thompson