Happy New Year
This week I’ll simply offer a thought and some perspective on heading into a new year.
For most of my life I’ve been a big fan of January 1st (aside from some of the hangover’s I’ve had from New Year’s Eve – though I can honestly say most were worth it). Something about a fresh start, that tabula rasa feeling that you get to determine a new trajectory for the year ahead. A chance for things to be different; a break away from a particularly difficult year, or a sense that we’ll achieve more of what we desire in life during the year ahead. A chance to raise standards, improve our lives in ways that are important to us, and continue to look for how we can live life to the fullest.
Some years I’ve broken down resolutions in categories – Keep doing, Stop doing, and Start doing. Other years I’ve established clear objectives for Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual aims. I’ve had years that I created one super important resolution to push for throughout the year, and other years I had a list that would leave you wondering when I’d sleep (of course, getting better/more sleep was on that list too).
Every year I’ve been better off for having set resolutions, even if some of the goals didn’t make it to Valentine’s Day. It seems to me that the real point in all of it is to have some vision about what you want and what’s important to you. You may surprise yourself with the depth of your answers if you explore this seriously.
2020 presented us with a lot of new challenges and stressors. 2021 will do the same. So, if you want 2021 to be different in whatever ways are important to you, the only truly effective strategy is for you to be different. For you to make the changes in yourself that would make different outcomes possible. That’s no guarantee, by the way, that the results will be different. But it does guarantee you’ll have a chance. And that is what the magic of a new year holds. A chance for things to be different. For us to be different in ways that matter for each of us. In ways that give us a chance to achieve new goals, to experience the richness life has to offer, and to move forward.
I’ll continue to write about how you as leaders can be more strategic, inspire and motivate others, and drive results. But for this newsletter, I’ll leave it in the realm of vision for the year ahead. Thousands of years ago Socrates suggested, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” So, the big question of 2021 is what are you going to build?
If you liked my perspective on the New Year but want to get to work thinking about your professional or leadership goals for 2021, you may find this article useful. It’s in the category of an oldy but a goody – I wrote it for HBR back in 2012. The Leadership Resolutions That Work gives some examples on complementary strengths and how you can improve your effectiveness as a leader by developing together. Kind of like how you’d work biceps and triceps at the gym as complementary muscle groups. It’s a short article, and if you want the full summary of the research you can find it here.