Author: Cindy Koelbl, Chief Opperating Officer
It’s a new year! Generally, at this time of the year I encounter a myriad of written and articulated affirmations regarding the successful, positive, and bright year ahead. Individuals, as well as organizations, talk about New Year resolutions, goals, and opportunities. But given the realities of 2020 and our first seven days of 2021, what we encountered from universally impactful events that even yet are causing disruption, chaos, turmoil and even despair, it seems many feel more vulnerable, less sure, and less hopeful. In fact, chatting with folks approaching the new year with caution, concern, and anxiety is commonplace.
The truth is that 2020 – and now the beginning of 2021 – shattered well-conceived strategies, challenged beliefs and values, and upended “best laid plans.’ Accordingly, the tentativeness and concern one might feel is quite understandable, perhaps even wise. We are more aware of the importance of flexibility in our thinking, planning, and behaviors. We recognize the need to formulate contingency plans and consider alternatives perhaps like never before.
But where would we be without hope and optimism? It is wise to consider what we have experienced and what we can learn from all we have experienced and how these lessons can benefit us in 2021. On that note, here are a few general ideas to ponder:
- People matter the most. Our family, our friends, those we invite within our circle, those we work with, those we merely nod our head at, say hello to, greet in the routine of our lives. We cannot thrive without others. Real relationships, real connections, shared experiences, and interactions matter. Being fully present in the moments of our lives matters. Giving and receiving of love, affection and support occurs when we share life with others. Optimal health and well-being requires inclusion of others in our lives. What makes life grand are those we are fortunate to share it with. We need each other.
- Goodness is truly everywhere. In the ravages of the pandemic, time and again we heard, if not witnessed, goodness personified. We’ve seen unswerving dedication, caregivers sacrificing their own health and enduring days away from their own families tending to extreme numbers of gravely ill individuals; unfathomable care and concern heaped on others by more healthcare providers than one can count. I’ve heard soothing songs sung to people at the end of their life’s journeys by professional caregivers, shared in stories of final interactions between loved ones thanks to the usage of technology, and watched while those who retained jobs gave to and supported those less fortunate or at risk. We’ve seen an abundance of generosity and kindness lavished on folks known and unknown. At times this world causes us to pause, to wonder what the world has come to, but it’s then we need to take in the truth of the hearts of so many people as shown through their acts of kindness and good deeds. We are blessed with goodness all around us.
- Change truly is the only constant. Business as usual is a myth. We all know this, but oh how we cling to our comfort zones. How we avoid seeing things that are broken, that could be fixed or improved. But recognizing the inevitability of change sparks our curiosity, our innovation and creativity. Identifying with change as our friend compels us to think alternatively, develop and employ new skills, motives us, and enables stress avoidance. Embrace transformation. Seek to better yourself and your organization. Step into new opportunities. Be courageous. Sometimes change is the only solution to preserving employee livelihoods, the survival and sustainability of businesses.
- Strategizing and planning is essential. Moving from thinking about goals and to-do lists to documenting and implementing the “how to” is even better. In fact, it’s powerful. We need a purpose, a compass, direction – and we also need a path. Professionally as well as personally, we need to remind ourselves of what we most value, what we want to achieve, and how we expect to get “there.” Formulating personal, meaningful goals with clear paths to elicit achievement is empowering. It cultivates hope. It’s a great stress management tool. So focus on the process of getting to your goal – you’ll have small victories along the journey, and perhaps accomplish that goal and celebrate ultimate achievement. And what could feel better than that?
I could continue, the list of things learned long, the philosophies developed or edified equally lengthy. But it’s here I will stop.
We are fortunate people, Blessed with another year. Blessed with 365 days of opportunities to “get it right.” Let’s use our time wisely: honor the people in our lives, pursue kindness and goodness, embrace change, and mindfully command our journey. Here’s to 2021!