The end of 2023 was busy for many people. It was a race to get everything finished while still trying to connect with friends and family across the festive season.
By the time you got past all your festive obligations, the last thing you may have felt like doing was reflecting on the year gone past or the one about to come.
Cut yourself some slack if you’ve felt guilty seeing other people’s social posts listing their end-of-year reflections and setting out goals for the new year.
I recently opened my Kindle for the first time in nearly a year. I read a lot but keep the Kindle for reading for pleasure and hard copy books for reading to learn.
Reading fantasy novels is a guilty pleasure. It lets my brain switch gears. However, I’m wary about opening the Kindle as I can consume book after book when I get caught up in the worlds created by other people’s imaginations.
I’ve managed to rack up four books in a week and, to be completely honest, feel better for it because I needed to re-energise before I could reflect and think about the year ahead.
I read the last page of book four, set the Kindle aside, and now feel refreshed and ready to do some deeper thinking.
If you can relate, now is the time to pay attention to any signals that shouldn’t be ignored.
Especially if you’re like thousands of managers and executives hitting their professional stride that Richard Boyatzis from Case Western University and his colleagues worked with. Boyatzis and co identified the value of certain signals to take stock and reawaken a passion for work.
Signals that include feeling:
- You’re not the person you want to be
- Your ethics are being challenged
- Called towards a mission or
- Life is too short not to make a change.
If you feel the urge to heed one of these signals, try to avoid feeling like you must have all the answers now. The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to take stock. It doesn’t have to be about arriving at a specific destination; it’s okay to focus solely on starting the journey.
If that journey starts forming in your mind, take Amy C Edmondson’s advice and ‘Make your goals hypotheses, not facts. This way, they can be tested, pursued, and modified as you learn.’
If you’ve ever made pancakes, remember that the first one always turns out a bit odd. It’s okay if your initial steps aren’t perfect.
It’s also okay if you’re still setting out your hypotheses about who you want to be, how you will be experienced and the impact you want to have in 2024 and beyond.
Please, take the time you need to reflect and process.
Boyatzis and colleagues suggest:
- Calling a time-out from work if you can afford it
- Finding a program or coach to work with you
- Creating regular reflective structures such as a regular activity that allows you to be with your own thoughts
- Making small adjustments and seeing what happens. Remember that meaning isn’t only found in work that produces the greatest portion of your income.
Cut yourself some slack but do take those first steps.
A few years ago, I listened to the whispers in my soul. Doing the deep work is a process and an adventure. I was reminded of this while reading for pleasure and re-energising:
“I was scared to fall. But without falling, I never would have landed. And what a beautiful thing it was to land”. – Raven Kennedy
The Clarity Program is for people who know change is needed but know that they won’t get there without someone to help them get clarity and get started.
Click here for more information.