Friends, I can hardly believe 2021 is almost over. It’s been a tough year for so many and overwhelm is the new norm. As the holidays approach, we may experience both the joy of the season and the grief of all of our losses.
As for me, I’m grateful for you, my valued friends, clients, and colleagues. It’s been an honor to coach some incredible leaders this year and to contribute to depolarizing dialogues across the country.
With that I offer five of my most valued learnings of 2021:
- When things get overwhelming, I ask myself “What can I do to make things better for myself today?” I focus on each day and ask again the next day.
- When talking about difficult subjects like politics, look for nuance. I remind myself, “It’s probably more complex than I think.” This does not mean changing my opinion; it means seeing the fullness of the person I’m talking with.
- When speaking to someone from a different culture, open to the practice of cultural humility. For example, rather than assuming that all Indians are vegetarian, I might ask, “Do you have any dietary restrictions?” This mindset leaves more room for adaptive growth.
- Empathy is a gift and a shadow. Working in the areas of conflict and coaching means lots of empathy. That part is easy for me! It comes naturally. What is not so easy is setting boundaries on helping. I often return to my coach training which tells us that clients do not need to be fixed or rescued. They are already wise and whole. You can only do your best in any given moment. It’s okay to let go sometimes.
- We still need dreams. COVID has turned the world upside down. I still exercise caution in many areas of daily life, and the pandemic is not over. Humans aren’t designed to be under constant threat for so long and we may lose hope at times. But we still need dreams. As my favorite drummer, the late great Neil Peart of Rush said, “Dreams don’t need to have motion to keep their spark alive.” While we may not be able to act on our dreams now due to fatigue, responsibilities, or illness, those dreams still matter. Write about them, talk about them, ask yourself how they might be adapted for these difficult times. Just don’t give up.
I cannot express how privileged I am to be connected to all of you. I wish for you strength, courage, inspiration, endurance, and care this holiday season. See you in 2022!
All the best,