2022 – glad it’s over?
Maybe… but it was an important transition year for many.
I’m inspired to share my collective reflections from the year, in the hope that it inspires my readers. These are reflections from my coaching clients, my tribe, and me.
I have the honor of being a leadership coach; it’s work I was meant to do. It is an honor to partner with amazing people to explore very personal and meaningful parts of their lives, as a part of their deliberate growth journeys. I have no greater joy than to help a leader find their courage to take bold steps forward, to hear their internal voice, to access the power of their external voice to say what needs to be said, and to find presence and peace of mind. It is truly a privilege.
This year we grasped the ongoing realities of COVID’s impact on our lives and our paths forward. These are a few of the consistent themes that surfaced from my coaching work this year:
Embracing a Steady State of Disruption: Letting Go/Holding On
Our “new normal” is a steady state of disruption, and in every crisis lies opportunity – if we can see it. 2022 had lots of crises and lots of opportunity. It provided a rare opportunity to rethink our priorities – to decide what to hold onto and what to let go of – in both our careers and personal lives. I observed clients deciding to let go of perfectionism, let go of being the expert, let go of behaviors that no longer serve them, let go of relationships that no longer nourish, let go of a job or career that no longer fits, let go of paralyzing fear. To quote the author of A Call to Further Becoming, Sue Marchner Brightman, I heard many of my women clients say with clarity, “I’m done with that!” Letting go creates room for what’s important to hold onto, and what to add. A positive change happens when people create space for what’s important, then move forward to add or hold onto them.
Leader Reactivity is Toxic
This year revealed that reactivity is a destructive behavior for leaders and their teams. When faced with complex problems, reacting unconsciously shuts down collaboration, brainstorming, connection, and initiative. Interestingly, toxic cultures are no longer tolerated, and leaders are being sought out that can create collaborative cultures. My clients are creating non-negotiable cultural requirements as they seek new opportunities. Rejecting toxic cultures surfaced for almost every one of my coaching clients, particularly women clients.
Noises of Fear and Uncertainty
This year has revealed that fear and uncertainty are underlying noises in many of our lives. Leaders are trying to embrace these tensions while still making decisions for the future. Neuroscience has taught us that fear and uncertainty are really forms of information for leaders – if we can understand them. Rather than triggering us, these signals can tell us to pause and listen before choosing to act. Listen to ourselves, listen to our bodies, listen to history, listen to others.
Self-Care as Experiment
This year has revealed the importance of self-care for us, our teams, and our families. We simply can’t manage this new normal without it. Many leaders have adopted mental, physical, and spiritual practices to build internal strength and resilience to help face disruption head on. Self-care can also include experimentation, a coaching action I recommend. Trying on new mindsets, behaviors, practices, and learning serves to activate the creative brain and builds an appetite for risk. My clients practice experimentation in a low-risk setting, which leaves room for some failure (since that’s the definition of experimenting after all). Examples include: experimenting with not always having the answer in meetings, clearly asking for what you want, new ways of listening, setting boundaries, building new relationships, better delegating, taking short meditation breaks throughout the day. Then adopt those experiments that strengthen us.
Summary reflection: Stay nimble, stay aware and adapt. Experiment every day.
What are your intentions for next year? What do you want your reflections to be at the end of 2023?
Wishing you Happy Holiday and lovely New Year.
Want to get started on what your 2023 will look like? Reach out to me.