How TED* Helped Create Our “Great Year”
Guest blog by Steve Gibbons; certified 3VQ Trainer and leadership coach.
On New Year’s Eve one year ago, I stood in the Coki beach surf, with the warm sun on my face, 3600 miles away from the frigid temperatures of home. On a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary, I had my beautiful wife by my side and a week away from work, but something was off. All day, I had been in a funk. While touring Coral World Ocean Park, eating an alfresco lunch, and snorkeling in the bay on St. Thomas Island, my wife Noreen patiently waited for me to be able to verbalize why I was in a mood.
We like to get away as the current year wanes, to map out the next one. A few days before, Noreen had printed 2023 calendar pages on our way out the door to the airport. We went full analog and plastered our ship’s cabin walls with them. The days prior to this fateful beach morning we had been laying out our “Great Year” plan. We set and scheduled our financial, family, travel, personal, and business goals. We are both busy professionals with five young adult children and I’m in a choir that performs internationally. There was a lot to plan!
I walked back onto the beach, abruptly sat down on the sand, and finally blurted out, “I don’t want to be old!” Noreen was a little shocked that this was the issue I was upset about, but instead of being put out that I had essentially ruined our morning, she went straight into Coach mode to get to the heart of the matter.
We have been TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® enthusiasts for years in our home and professional lives, embracing the roles of Coach, Creator, and Challenger. Noreen knew that her next questions needed to come from a place of encouragement, rather than Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer. For the next hour, we worked through what was actually bothering me. I wasn’t having a mid-life crisis, and I’m not afraid of aging, but wanted a lot more physical activity and play on our calendar than we had currently planned. We set a new outcome on the beach that afternoon that we want a life that embraces active play.
That evening, when we got back to our wall of calendar pages, we erased everything already planned for Saturdays and replaced it with our “Playlist.” We chose an activity theme for each month based on the season and planned weekly outings accordingly. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, biking, pickleball, jet skiing, and boogie boarding all made the list; 12 activity themes in all. Now the “Great Year” plan was complete, and we went home energized to put our new outcome into action.
A year later, we are grateful to have met most of our 2023 goals, and the focus on our active play outcome was a game changer. We experimented with new activities and old favorites. We found that all day, every Saturday, was more than necessary to feel active and young at heart and settled into a twice-a-month cadence. We were not perfect with our plan, nor were all the activities a success. There was a snowmobiling trip that ended with our youngest child on crutches, and pickleball month gave way when our eldest’s June wedding came on the calendar. But we skied, hiked and biked, boogie and paddle boarded, and took out a Sea-Doo (Noreen’s personal favorite) on three different lakes.
We are now working on our “Great Year” plan for 2024. We are setting and calendaring our family, finance, travel, personal, and business goals and are excited to create our new “Playlist”! For sure there will be lots of jet skiing, exactly zero snowmobiling, and this year, pickleball (which I know is David Emerald’s favorite)!
The TED* way of relating—especially as Co-Creators and being a Coach to one another—provided a powerful framework for our “Great Year.” And we encourage you to take the time to create or Co-Create your best year ever in 2024.
Stephen Gibbons is a leadership coach, manages the coaching and mentoring program at a major healthcare organization, and is a certified 3 Vital Questions Trainer. Noreen Gibbons is an assistant principal, realtor, and TED* enthusiast. Learn more about them at: TheShoulderCoaches.com