As I sit and reflect on the year that was 2021, sipping on my hot cup of coffee, the only thing I can hear is the running heater. This year was anything but quiet for our family but for this brief moment I sit in the silence and think of the rustling noise from the year. Some of the noise was a blast from a loudspeaker, others more of a soft and gentle whisper like a gentle tap on the shoulder.
For each of the past several years, I've had one word to focus my energy. Sometimes the words are more prominent than others. My word for 2021 was OvercoME. ME is intentionally capitalized. Through my own work over the past several years, I'd realized I was holding myself back in many ways. There are several things in my life that I hadn't dealt with, and frankly more still today. Often times I don’t even realize I haven't fully processed and released things until they come up again after the fact and trigger something in me. An uncomfortable, unsettling feeling that won't immediately go away. Some things are from many, many years ago. This year I wanted to focus on peeling back those layers, an unraveling of sorts, so I could release the old to allow for the new.
As part of that unraveling I've learned and grown a lot, as a person and as a professional. One could say starting your own business teaches you a lot, and it certainly does. When I talk about the growth and learning for me, it has a significantly deeper meaning as well. It's the growth and learning about myself, understanding my triggers, knowing myself well enough to know what I need so I can serve others (my kids, my family, my friends, my clients). It's a deep and meaningful slower pace to be intentional with my thoughts and actions. It's leaning into, and out of things, when it doesn't feel right. It's establishing boundaries to protect my energy. It's acknowledging and accepting of myself and others, just as we are.
And most importantly it's maintaining a growth mindset, full of positivity, affirmations and faith that can help me serve more people. The mindset of the past was full of fear, worried about what others thought and pleasing others that won't get me where I want to go and is no longer serving to me. I came to know and understand that wasn't/isn't healthy for me so had to make changes in me and the things I was feeding myself.
The reality is that everyone is always going to have an opinion or thought on what you "should" and "shouldn't" do in the choices you make, the actions you take, the career you have, every step along the way. Each life, each set of circumstances, each person's goals and dreams are different. Very few people in your life, other than those who keep you from drifting (check out the blog post 'Drifting'), truly know your situation, your aspirations, your hopes and dreams. We have one life to live - why live in fear and focused on and making decisions based on pleasing so many others? This ultimately leaves one with an empty tank full of activities and a full schedule, without room and energy to spend on themselves and with those they love.
For me, this has in turn translated into serving individuals and organizations in a more profound way through my business! As leaders, our job is to know ourselves enough so we can lean into those we serve (teams, organizations, family, etc). We have to do the things that fill our energy tank and empower others to do the same. Our job is to unravel our own patterns to release the egos and insecurities, so they don't get in the way of our team's success. That, my friends, is HARD work. And without awareness to where that might be showing up, it impacts more than one would think.
Where does this show up? How am I getting in the way of myself, or others? What are my own triggers, and why? As I work with individual clients, asking those hard questions is essential. As I work with teams, bringing that trust and transparency about not only who they are as people, how they are intrinsically wired, but at times going a few layers deeper. This awareness and understanding allows people to accept others as they are, knowing and appreciating their similarities and differences. Learning and growing within ourselves each step of the way. Individuals staying true to who they are with different strengths and blind spots working together towards a goal is far more valuable than individuals trying to fall in line with each other.
So as you reflect on your own learning and growth this year, I ask you…
What did you learn about yourself in 2021?
What might you be holding onto? What patterns do you see in your life that you've yet to address that could unlock more of the goodness of what's to come? Where might that be showing up as you lead people?
What do you need to accept about yourself and the other people in your life?
Do you have a word that keeps coming up for you that might have a deeper meaning in 2022?
When you think of who you authentically want to be, what habits and routines did you establish in 2021 that you want to stay? Which ones do you want to stop? Which ones do you want to start in 2022?
I encourage you to lean into your own "learning and growth" on your personal journey with me! Figure it out for you, and no one else. Don't dim your light to fit in or please others. Go and shine, my friends!!