A few invitations as this year – this historic, this world-changing, this illuminating, this very challenging year – comes to its close:
I invite you to avoid the tropes that shovel all of 2020 into the dumpster fire to be incinerated. Life is too complex, humans are too complex, for anything to be all good or all bad. There’s some horrible saying about babies and bathwater that applies here.
Action: Write a list of as many uplifting experiences you can recall from this year; things you heard or read about are just as valid as things you experienced. For example, just this morning, I read about a man in Atlantic City, NJ, who took it upon himself to distribute water and sandwiches to the local population of people experiencing homelessness; once the pandemic ended the casino traffic, so too went their access to the gifted dollars that bought their meals. That said, don’t overlook your own actions, keeping them in scale with your life and energy; if you went to working from home and homeschooling and there were days you didn’t lose your temper with your family, mark that as a win. A big one.
I invite you to get as clear on your core values as possible so that you can allow them to be the guiding forces of your 2021 rather than what you might find on a news outlet or social media feed.
Action: Language matters when it comes to identifying our core values; you might use this list from Brené Brown as a jumping-off point. Don’t feel limited to this list, though, and be sure to check that you don’t have any lint in your velcro. Once you have your list, consider what goals and habits/regular action enliven those values. For example, my value of gritty, determined, stubborn love (borrowed from Tom Rivett-Carnac’s gritty, determined, stubborn optimism) shows up in my goal of reviving my morning routine (as RuPaul so succinctly says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”) and my regular action of noticing when I’m judging others then using various thought experiments to remember our shared humanity.
And that’s actually a pretty great segue to my final invitation of 2020:
I invite you to allow yourself to both expect 2021 to also be challenging and dream about what you’d like to see in yourself and in your year.
Action: How did you make it through this year? Physically and emotionally? Make a list of the tools, resources, and actions that got you through – these will work again. You could also note some tools and resources you’d like to cultivate. Then set some goals for the year to come and feel free to be as modest or as ambitious as goal setting as you feel moved to be in this moment of dreaming. You may or may not accomplish all of them but setting the direction of your vision matters.
I spent five years coaching people who had been laid-off, generally due to corporate restructuring. This year has felt like those coaching sessions made global as each experience – being laid off, living through 2020 – has abruptly squashed the notion of predictability or security in life.
One of the things I was able to offer those clients – in addition to support in starting their dream business or navigating the job search – was the perspective of both distance and experience. Which is to say, from my catbird seat, I had seen client after client move onto jobs or businesses that delighted them; I had watched them find appreciation for the support that existed in their lives; I witnessed the transformation, day after day, of people going from shocked and terrified to confident and excited.
Not so different from now… if we had all gotten laid off at once.
In this global experience, we have the opportunity to practice both offering support and receiving it and, friends, both will leaven our spirits and fill our hearts.
The Bigger Badder Crew is a community that leavens my spirits weekly, both as they join me in mulling over and enjoying the content of my Monday emails and whatever mix of regulars, occasional visitors, and newbies join the Wednesday Chomp & Chat; your spot is waiting for you here. My clients fill my heart in big ways; getting to partner with people who are motivated to uncover their bigger selves and badder lives is the most fulfilling work I can imagine. I’m ready for you if you’re ready for you, too.