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I'll just do the best I can

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By Alice Du Pont

The new year invariably makes me think of the year that is going out. I'm reminded of things, personally and professionally, that I wish I had done differently or I wish I had not done at all. I can't dwell on those things because I can't bring those events back.

What I can and will do is make every effort to learn from my mistakes. This is not some sort of New Year's resolution because it has been my habit not make resolutions because they are too hard to keep and can be too much pressure for someone like me. I think it's important to look back occasionally to reflect on the actions that one has taken in their lives. I'm not saying rethink every decision you've made, but all of us can use some improvement.

Like a lot of people I sometimes tend to take on too much and I find myself running around like a chicken with its head off. Now that I think about it, all I had to do was to say, "No, I can't do that." I find that when I take on too much, I don't do anything well. Something always slips through the cracks or something goes completely undone. Thinking back has made me come to grips with the fact that I am not Superwoman and that I can't work full-time and be a full-time volunteer for whatever causes that are important.

That's also true when it comes to communications. Comments do not have to always be blunt and sharp as I once thought. The reason is rooted in my early years as a journalist. Men didn't take me serious unless I sounded forceful, direct and blunt. It became almost a survival mechanism when conducting difficult interviews. Each year, as I reflect on how I have handled things, I can see some improvement. And I can count that as growth in all levels of my life.

Growth is important to everyone, no matter the age. The only way to grow is to take an honest and critical look at some of the things. A lot of people think that introspection has to be painful. No, you don't boo-hoo-hoo like some out-of-control talk show guest, but to assess your own behavior is helpful when moving forward. I believe that only the individual can look at themselves and change because only the individual knows all of the circumstances that led to the decisions.

Looking back on 2008, I have made a lot of improvements. When I look back on 2009, it is my hope that the improvements will continue.