Welcome to the New Year — at least for those of you following the Gregorian calendar! Are you ready? Is your organization poised and equipped to make significant positive contributions to this planet of ours? Do you have organizational traditions to kick-off the new year and encourage employees to strive towards new goals?
Most cultures of the world have very special traditions for sending out the old year and bringing in the new one. In Mexico where I live women wear special undergarments on New Year’s Eve — either red for love or yellow for gold or money — symbolizing what they most want to receive in the year ahead. Those who would like to travel carry a suitcase out into the street and around the block.
In Japan where I lived previously, the end of the year is a time to clean the house, purging it of things from the past that are no longer needed. We cook osechi foods, the beautiful make-ahead kinds of delicacies that will feed family and visitors through the first few days of the new year, and allow everyone — including the cook — to enjoy a respite.
What are your traditions for saying goodbye to the past year and greeting the future? Do you make resolutions, set goals, or make plans to learn something new?
My absolute favorite New Year’s was spent with good friends nearly two decades ago. On New Year’s Eve, we wrote down the hurts we’d experienced, the negative habits or memories we continued to carry and wanted to get rid of, the qualities about ourselves that no longer served us, the visions of ourselves, others or our businesses that were not constructive. We made a big bonfire, and we had a field day burning these no-longer-wanted items. Oh how liberating it was! We all felt so light, so energized!
On New Year’s morning we woke before sunrise. We had written, on paper we’d folded into origami boats, the qualities we wanted to receive and nurture in the new year. The positive habits and qualities we wanted to cultivate, relationships and moments we wanted to consciously treasure, and healthy visions of ourselves, others and our businesses that we wanted to hold close. We launched these items into the ocean, setting them into motion.
The beginning of a year is a good time to reflect on our cross-cultural successes (Cultural Effectives) as well as to learn from our mistakes and misunderstandings (Cultural Defectives) and decide what kind of year we want in 2013. Back in October we published a post about intercultural fitness. In November we reiterated why such fitness is so important, why organizations need intercultural fitness.
Maybe reading these posts has helped you to decide what to throw in the fire and what to set out into the water? If your fire is full of cultural missteps and your boat contains a desire to expand your intercultural competence, maybe it’s time you took action!
Cultural Detective wants to encourage you to get fit, too — interculturally fit! Much like committing to an exercise plan or a sensible nutrition plan, committing to prioritizing intercultural competence in the coming year will serve us well personally, in our families, as well as in our work lives. Also, just like a gym, it can be fun. We can spend as much time as we like and we might meet some really interesting people.
The new year is full of special offers for gym memberships, exercise classes, and diet programs — ways to encourage you to get fit in 2013. Just as gyms and diet programs offer incentives this time of year, the Cultural Detective Online intercultural competence gym is offering complimentary three-day subscriptions to help get you focused and motivated!
Here is how to get yours:
- Log on to http://www.culturaldetective.com/cdonline/orders/trial before January 31, 2013.
- Enter your name, email address and the promotional code: NewYearFitness
- You will receive a verification email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to clear it in your spam filter! Click the link in the email, follow the instructions, and explore a new way to improve your intercultural fitness 24/7!
We hope you will take advantage of this special offer to learn how Cultural Detective Online can assist you at home and abroad, with colleagues and friends, in your community and in your organization! Feel free to share this offer with those you care about — we think the world could benefit from a little more intercultural competence on everyone’s part!
Best wishes for a peaceful year ahead from the Cultural Detective team!