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Up Your Punxsutawney

It’s Groundhog Day. That most revered of all holidays. A time for reflection. A time for taking stock. A time for looking deep into ourselves and realizing that we are but tiny specks in a vast universe that will one day go on without us. Actually, that’s more like Christmas or New Year’s or something, but when you’re a long-winded workaholic like me you’ll take any occasion to trot out the ersatz poetry and try to impress the other blowhards in the blogosphere.

It’s Groundhog Day. That most revered of all holidays. A time for reflection. A time for taking stock. A time for looking deep into ourselves and realizing that we are but tiny specks in a vast universe that will one day go on without us. Actually, that’s more like Christmas or New Year’s or something, but when you’re a long-winded workaholic like me you’ll take any occasion to trot out the ersatz poetry and try to impress the other blowhards in the blogosphere.

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But, come to think of it, this might be a time for reflection. What does old Punxsutawney Phil do but stay buried underground, only to briefly poke his head out to look for his own shadow? And if he sees that shadow? It’s back to a cold, loveless universe for six more weeks. Not only that, the country follows in lock-step with this buck-toothed little rodent, assuming that what he says goes. Aren’t the lives of those of us trying to find work-life balance much like Phil’s? (Phil the Groundhog. Not Dr. Phil. Nobody’s life is like his, thank God.)

But don’t all of us confront our “shadow selves” on a daily basis? That shadow being the side of us that works too hard, that hasn’t taken a vacation in years, that would rather keep going on a project than take a moment to enjoy the little moments in life with our family? We know that shadow is there, but every time we see it, we go back into our hole. And, we expect everybody else to just accept that we don’t have any intention of coming out of that hole for six more weeks. Or years.

Well, I’d like to start a new catch phrase for this time of year. Join me in saying “Stuff The Groundhog!” (Okay, it could be taken two ways, but this is the Internet and you have to post things fast. When I want to take my time with subtlety, I’ll write Groundhog: The Novel.) Let’s not be enslaved to what this piece of prairie puffery has to say every year. Let’s forge our own path, confront our shadowy shortcomings, and not retreat to the lower depths when they rear their ugly heads!

All right, I have to get back to work. Whoever gives out the awards for most inspiring blog, you know where to find me.

TOP THREE TAKEAWAYS

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  • There are many ways in which the groundhog is a metaphor for our inability to take action. Chief among these is his fat, lazy ass.
  • Don’t confine your moments of self-reflection to the more obvious holidays. Get cracking on Arbor Day!
  • Try as I might to keep Dr. Phil out of things, that pain in the butt just works his way in somehow.
  • Tom Stern is the founder of Stern Executive Search and the creator of CEO Dad, the syndicated comic strip about executive dysfuntion.