Picture this: I started the year with a grand plan—a visionary roadmap for my business and a commitment to its growth. Little did I know, the universe had a different script in mind. The first half of the year threw some serious challenges my way.
By the year's end, we not only weathered the storm but exceeded our initial expectations. However, let me be real with you—2023 was no walk in the park. In this episode, I talk about how the struggles forced me to dig deep into my own resilience, revoking my goals and accepting redirections.
I encourage you to join me in reflecting on your own journey, learning from the past, and stepping into the next year with a sense of wholesomeness. Here's to embracing the uncertainties, finding joy in the unplanned, and growing into the next beautiful chapter of our lives.
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Hi everyone and welcome to Making Sense of Work. December is often a quiet month for me, a winding down month, and there seems to have been a pattern for me with the podcast of not releasing any podcast episodes. But as this month has gone on, I've had conversations with clients and colleagues and I found myself wanting to share some thoughts about endings and beginnings. So whether or not you're listening to this in December or maybe you're coming to the end of a job or a project, maybe you're moving country, maybe you just I think the thoughts that I've got to share here are relevant for us in these periods of ending and beginning. As we come to the end of something, it can be really easy just to simply look forward. I feel like, for me, I start planning. The coming year, I start planning what's next. But that's in a bit of contradiction to what I believe, which is that we can't move forward. Successfully without looking back and looking for the learning and I wanted to share with you some of the reflections and questions That I've been reflecting on in this last month What triggered this for me this December was a growing sense of exhaustion, both for me and for others. When we're coming to the end of something, we often feel like this. We're kind of ready for it to be over so we can start anew. But there's been something about this year. that seems more than usual. More people than usual are experiencing this real sense of exhaustion and burnout, I think. A number of people I coach, a number of friends are really completely finished and I count myself a bit in this and I've been wondering if this is more than other years or whether it's just normal end of year tiredness. My sense is that it's a bit greater. And I've been wondering about this. Why does it feel so hard this year? Maybe the endless heartbreaking news that we are seeing is impacting us. We are still, I think, recovering from COVID and the COVID era. And as I record this, there's another round of COVID, uh, happening everywhere. We're deeply concerned about the climate and the economy is by no means stable and this in itself means that we're all on some form of high alert for danger and over a long period of time this is wearing us down and we all will have each Individual stories and experiences and things that are happening to us that will be impacting how we feel and what's happening to us at this time of the year. And so I noticed for me and for some people I talked to that we are basically spending this time looking at the challenges of at the moment the year or the experience we've had or the event rather than focusing on Noticing moments of learning and growth and I really know that I'm not alone in this that looking back and looking at a year and seeing all the challenges is what we're kind of tempted to do rather than looking back for the learning. So I've been reflecting on this and A few days ago, I had a big aha moment about my own experience of 2023. So I thought I would share with you a bit of a story of what's happened to me personally this year. The thing is I started 2023 with a big new plan, a big one. I had a big vision for the business and I made the decision to invest in the business and in business growth. I hired a new wonderful team and we set off into the first quarter of 2023 with energy and gusto. And we moved into what turned into very strong headwinds in the business. Nearly everyone I know running a business which has a large online component really struggled at the beginning of this year, and some that struggle has continued. My guess is that everyone needed to get off Zoom and off their computers. And of course for us, our main program is on Zoom. Our accredited coaching programs are virtual. People were not sure whether they wanted to do that. They were thinking, if I'm going to train as a coach, maybe I'd rather be in the classroom. Now, as the years moved forward, those winds have eased. In fact, they've turned to our back and we feel like we're moving forward with a lot of energy and The end of the year, we've ended up with more students in the programs than we had last year and we've run more cohorts than we planned at the beginning of the year. But I would be anyone if I said that this year had been easy. I've been running a business now for 23 years and the first six months of this year were some of the hardest I've ever experienced. Because I'd set out with this big vision and this grand plan. Which then didn't materialize, at least until later in the year, I really, really struggled. And what that meant for me was really digging into my own resilience. And that really wasn't easy. I found myself asking a lot of questions. Have I made a mistake with my business goals? I was suffering a lot from imposter syndrome. Who am I to be doing this? Maybe it's not me to be running this business. And this experience just proves that I'm the wrong person. Now, of course, I've ended the year on a different note, and I'm incredibly grateful for that, but it certainly was a challenge. What I noticed in the last few days was the connection between this and my writing. So alongside this experience, I, have been writing a lot. In fact, I've been writing for a long time and various versions of the book have been slowly emerging. And at the beginning of this year, I decided to finally finish a book about coaching that I'd been sort of writing for a while. And I decided to take a writing week in March and I was really fully preparing to write the book proposal that week so I could send it off to some agents. And a couple of days before I went, two people I trust deeply asked me if I was writing the right book. Was there something else I could be writing? So this was an incredible kind of synchronicity. There's two people separately who never talked to each other asking me this question. And the thing is, there was. I've had an idea for a book based on a model I use in our programs about how we manage our mindset and our resilience in our working lives. And I've been thinking about this for quite a while. And so I decided that I would go off on this week. I went to Bali and see what emerged with this writing. And before I knew it, 40, 000 words had emerged that week. And I essentially wrote It's the essence of a book, which is about our relationship between who we are and our working lives. And that book has continued to be written this year, and I'm very hopeful for a 2024 release. The thing that I hadn't seen until I was preparing for the podcast was the connection between these two experiences. And I wondered now if the experience for this year wasn't really beautifully planned. So here I am writing a book. about how we can become more psychologically flexible in the midst of work pressures. And here I was having to practice what I was writing in order to lead the team, train coaches, be the most effective coach I could be for myself. It was a perfect recipe for growth and the universe. Delivered that to me and because I've been thinking so much all year about mental models and how we frame work experiences, I've also been having to work really hard on my own thought patterns and my own mindset and Hasn't all been plain sailing. Some of it's been really Really tough going. I was reading some of my writing from earlier in the year this week and I noticed that I've used so many examples from this year, from this experience, in my writing. Now, probably too many and some of them will end up on the cutting room floor. But the thing is, I've had a perfect growth year. A bit of challenge, a big challenge, and an opportunity to rise to that challenge, to find the learning moments. to find my own psychological flexibility when it all got really hard. A few other things happened this year that didn't quite go to plan. It was also the year I turned 60. Well, that was obviously going to plan, but it didn't go to plan. My partner got very sick on my actual birthday, and we spent most of it in a hospital corridor in Bangkok, which was amazing. Some of the best healthcare experiences ever, and all is good and well now. But another test of managing mindset and then as I prepare and record this podcast, my Christmas plans have just changed at the last minute due to a family illness. So here I am at the end of the year. I planned out the perfectly beautifully knowing where I was going and really nothing went to plan even right up to this last minute. And there have been yet so many wonderful moments working with a great team, best team I've ever worked with. I'm really grateful for you all, training amazing coaches and seeing people really develop as coaches and build professionally either as a leader, as a colleague, or as a professional or executive coach. I've had the privilege of working with some wonderful coaching clients this year. So really. amazing beautiful coaching conversations and experiences and I feel very grateful for that work to be Walking alongside people as they find their way through working lives So looking back along with all the low points, which we can all be inclined to see we can look for these glimmers we can look for small moments of joy that emerged in our year in our period in the Experience that we've just had, we can look for conversations with colleagues that were lovely or a happy client, dinner with friends, moments in nature. We can look back and rest our eyes on those moments, reminding ourselves that life is really about those little moments. It's really about those events that touch us and connect us. So for me, I'm not really sure how I learned from this going into 2024, but one thing that I find myself asking is, actually, am I planning too much? Am I expecting too much of myself? and my team and how can I, how can we create more sustainability as we move into new experiences into a new year? How can we take learning from the past and move it into the future? So for 2024 there's a lot of Uncertainty globally. And for me, what that tends to trigger is that I try and plan more. I try and pin things down and say, okay, this is what we're going to do. But I'm wondering if the lesson for this year is to flow more, to be open to see what emerges. You know, if we're running a business or you're a senior leader, or your kids are at key moments in their schooling, you can't completely flow. We do need to plan. There are some dividends for me. You know, we already have our 2024 training cohorts planned in the calendar. I have some coaching commitments. And I wonder if I could flow more, maybe set aspirations and intentions rather than goals. Maybe being open to following threads more, making plans for those moments of joy, time with friends and loved ones, creation time and rest time. And then for the rest, I think I'm going to be open to seeing what emerges as this new year or this new opportunity arrives. I wish you well as you go into thinking about how can I learn from all that's happened to me over this last period? And how can I grow into the next experience into the next year in a wholesome way?