I probably heard this statement many times in the last week, “New Year, New You!” I hear it every year. There is nothing good about that statement to start off the New Year. There is no “new you”. You are you. Nothing more, nothing less. And that is a beautiful thing!
You cannot be “new”. You are already here on this earth and have been for some time. It is a danger to say “new you”, as if the old you was bad or defective, or not really that good. I hear it so many times when I conduct life coaching or career coaching seminars that people do not like who they are or where they are at. And one of their goals becomes: I want a new “me”. I used to say that too. And it’s ok. We’re human and when we hear something that sounds exciting, we roll with it.
I realized, however, that creating a “new” me did not work, and produced poor results.
Year after year, I would get ready for New Year’s, all pumped up and writing everything down. Early in my career, one of my goals was to become a great manager, so I wrote down the goal of “New Year, New Me, New Manager”. I was struggling to be a respected manager, and employees were constantly taking advantage of me. So when the New Year arrived, I started being a jerk to my employees. I took on the personality of being extremely tough, and would not budge on anything. My whole management style had changed almost overnight. I had some solid results early on, and let go of a few poor performers. However, I alienated the good workers on my team, and several of them left the company. My team went back to where it was, and people respected me less.
You see, I took on a new me and became something I was not. Instead of improving my skills as a manager and a leader through training and feedback, I changed who I was at my core. I did not need to be a jerk, just someone who maintained discipline and solid communication. I had some really good people skills, and they went out the window
with that change.
When you say, “New Year, New Me“, you basically are saying that you want to change who you are at your core. When you do that, you become inauthentic, and start to be someone you are not, just like I did. You become lost, lose your identity, and return to the bad habits you were trying to improve.
So how did I realize that saying “New Year, New Me” was not a good thing?
I was still struggling, at that time, to be a great manager, so I went for a drive on back country roads to clear my head. I stopped at a park and walked around. Then I asked myself some questions, “Who am I?” “What do I want?” “How do I improve?” When I asked myself those questions, it became very clear. I answered the question of “who am I?” with the answer, “I am me!”
That was a huge shift in mentality for me. When I answered with, “I am me”, I knew I no longer needed to be “new”, all I needed were updates that would continue to improve my skills. I came up with versions of me. I called that early career manager, “Joe Version 1.0”. I was still me at my core, but a better person. When I made this shift in thinking, my career skyrocketed. I used my past experiences, both successes and failures to lay a solid foundation. Today, I am now “Joe Version 14.0” and it is still me!