Chinese New Year: A Fresh Chance To Start The New Year Again

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year – the year of the Tiger. It is also known as the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival.

And it gives those of us that are off to a rough start this year, a chance to start the new year again.  It’s like rebooting January 1.

My own plans for this year went amiss when I caught whatever nasty bronchitis it was on December 23. I seemed to get well a week and a half ago, only to get sick again. I finally feel better today.

During the week or so that I did feel good, I began walking two and a half miles a day only to have my knees call me a bitch and swell like a puffer fish three times their usual size.  Lovely.  I now feel 6 weeks behind.

It seems like my year is off to a rocky start.

I can give up.

This would be the easy thing to do. I can just quit this dream of having an interesting website chronicling the lives of 8 women as they go about facing their fears around achieving a dream, nestled with the hope that I can also encourage others to do the same. I can shut it down and walk away.

I have thought about it — more than once.

During moments of exhaustion, when hitting the wall, something always reminds me why I am doing all of this. It reminds me not to quit.

A reminder came this week in an email notification announcing TED.

You know, that crazy conference that I am so in love with, which happens only once a year.

The annual TED conference in Long Beach brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Every time I want to feel sorry for myself, or forget the human possibilities, I travel out to the TED website and listen to one of the hundreds of TED lectures on innovation, curing poverty, or flying through the sky in nothing but a modified wet suit.

I am rejuvenated enough to think, “Someday I will tell my story there.”

The first TED lecture I ever watched was Seth Godin on Standing Out. It was filmed at TED 2003 and released April 2007. The 2nd lecture I watched right after, was Sir Ken Robinson on Schools Kill Creativity.

I was hooked like a Hummingbird to sugar water.

I decided to stop by Seth Godin’s blog and see what he has been up to. Clicking through to his site I land right on his February 8th post:

Frightened, Clueless or Uninformed?

He writes (as if shouting to me from the page), “In the face of significant change and opportunity, people are often one of the three (frightened, clueless or uninformed). If you’re going to be of assistance, it helps to know which one.”

Thanks Seth.

He goes on to write –

” . . . Uninformed people need information and insight in order to figure out what to do next. They are approaching the problem with optimism and calm, but they need to be taught. Uninformed is not a pejorative term, it’s a temporary state.

Clueless people don’t know what to do and they don’t know that they don’t know what to do. They don’t know the right questions to ask. Giving them instructions is insufficient. First, they need to be sold on what the platform even looks like.

Frightened people will resist any help you can give them, and they will blame you for the stress the change is causing. Scared people like to shoot the messenger. Duck. . . “

Then he writes “. . . Comfort the frightened, coach the clueless and teach the uninformed.”

Seth, in his infinite wisdom, reminded me that change is hard for everyone.  We do need each others help to navigate the tricky, wild waters taking us to a new place. However, if I can help us understand which of the three states anyone of us might be in at any given time in this process, then I can make a difference.  I just need to ask the right questions more often.

And follow them with an answer like Seth’s other advice with Sunny Bates on Linchpins, Passion and Fear

It’s Chinese New Year.

We can start new.   I can list my goals again, re-commit to my resolutions.  I can shake off the dust on the marketing plan and set it in motion.  I can ask for firm commitments to our dreams from everyone.  I can follow my daily planner that I completed before Jan 1, which includes time for a daily meditation.

Are you ready to start the new year again?

I know I am.

Gung Hey Fat Choy!



  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you Remy and I see that offer rejected many time with my teenage son. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  • Remy, the photographer

    He writes (as if shouting to me from the page), “In the face of significant change and opportunity, people are often one of the three (frightened, clueless or uninformed). If you’re going to be of assistance, it helps to know which one.”

    Cath, this is so timely and helpful. I have also found out recently that despite my good intentions, sometimes my offer of help is not only not needed, but rejected by the one I’m trying to help. I have ways of dealing with frightened and clueless, but uniformed is harder, cause in my experience, there is a layer of defensiveness with that state of being.

    Don’t give up. You are doing an incredible job – You have mentored me to motivate myself to find ways of just making things happen. Thank you! Love Rem

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you Terry for your insights and breath mints.

    Samantha – going from birthday to birthday is a great idea.

    Heather – year of the tiger here we come!

    Thank you all for your comments!

  • You know the saying “Taking the Tiger by the tail”? To go with the Year of the Tiger, here is a great definition that correlates to what we are all doing by chasing our dreams:
    “take the chance”, or “run the risk”. Go for it!

    Way too perfect!

  • Samantha

    This is great. I’m glad I came by this blog and clicked on this post. This year hasn’t started out so great for me either. I was kinda bummed about it this weekend. I never thought about using the Chinese new year to restart my new years resolutions. It feels like this year is racing by and I haven’t done anything. My best friend also suggested that I use my March birthday as the beginning of a new year and set my goals from birthday to birthday, which is another good way to start the new year again, but I like the idea of using the Chinese new year. I can put my goals on red paper too! The video is kinda an ass kicking too. It makes me want to stop winning and just get on with my life. I know who Seth Godin is, but have never really read his blog. Now I am going to have to go check him out. Thanks xoxxxoxxx Sammie :-0

  • Teeco

    You can’t quit. This blog/website gets better and better each month, as many of you hit your stride. Each day it becomes more like the magazine you want. It becomes more re”markable”. Isn’t that a Seth term you like?

  • Teeco

    So I take it this is why you have an upside down Chinese Fu symbol on your front door.

    Great short video on finding your passion, moving past fear and just “doing it”.