You did it!
Before we do anything else, I want you to take a moment and give yourself a huge pat on the back for getting through the last year. Woo hoo. You did it!
For me and for my coaching clients 2020 was a struggle. There was disappointment. There was frustration and despair. A lot of it. And, I know how much you and your sector colleagues managed to achieve over the course of the year. Amazing things happened, in spite of, and maybe even because of, the pandemic.
So, an enormous high five to all of us.
Resolutions for 2021, anyone?
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t set even one New Year Resolution at the start of 2020. I didn’t encourage my non-profit coaching clients to either. You see, I’m not a big fan of resolutions. But I am a fan of making the most of that ‘fresh start feeling’ to look ahead and see where you want to be heading in the next 12 months. Oh, yes, even after the grim old year that we’ve just had. I like to look for intentions that support me rather than resolutions which have the potential to make me feel like a failure.
Last January I wrote a blog about how I was encouraging my coaching clients not to set the usual resolutions, but to check in with what they wanted to feel in 2020. Turns out this was an inspired and prophetic approach.
2020 was all about feeling the feelings
- I witnessed a whole load of feelings from my coaching clients, as they navigated the ups and downs of the pandemic. All of a sudden, how we felt became just as important as the projects we were working on
- Sector leaders saw more clearly than ever that empathetic leadership (based on empathising with, not merely listening to, their people) was the very best way to motivate and lead at this time of crisis and uncertainty
- In my workshops, I found myself teaching the value of acknowledging our own and others’ feelings, as the need to express difficult messages so that they landed became even more apparent.
If I’d made the usual kind of resolutions, like ‘drink eight glasses of water a day’ or ‘listen to an improving podcast a week’, I doubt I would have kept to them. There was just so much change and uncertainty. Instead I put my focus on feeling five feelings – I wanted to feel happy, bold, curious, connected and inspired. I couldn’t choose what happened in 2020, but I could choose what I felt.
Here’s how I got on
Happy – At the start of the first lockdown, I wondered if I would ever be happy again. I’m such a people person, I thought I’d sink quickly. But happiness came along from the simplest of things. I discovered the joy of walking out onto my local common. I noticed the warmth of sunshine through my home office window. I created pandemic playlists of uplifting tunes which bounced me along when my mood began to drop. I realised that a good chat with a dear friend was an absolute dead cert for feeling happier.
Bold – At the end of this year, I launched my brand new group coaching programme for women leaders. It wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye at the beginning of 2021! This time last year, it would have been right out of my comfort zone but I followed my instincts in 2020 and took a huge leap of faith to kick this programme off.
Curious – I didn’t learn a new language or how to play the violin but I got curious about a whole load of things I’d not had time for before, like how my garden actually ‘worked’ instead of just shoving a few plants in and hoping for the best.
Connected – I increased the frequency of Leaders Who Brunch meet-ups from quarterly to every two weeks. We settled into monthly meet-ups and I’ve been awed and delighted by the amazing feedback I’ve had about what an amazing community this is. I am so proud to have created this resource for leaders in the sector.
Inspired – I found myself inspired again and again by the leaders that I coach or collaborate with. Unlike some of the global leaders who’ve been centre stage this year, these leaders showed me what true leadership is. I don’t think I’ve ever found the sector I work in so inspiring.
So, how do you want to feel in 2021?
In 2021, I plan to feel more Grateful, Focused, Courageous, Connected and Calm. Whatever happens out there. whatever the ups and downs of the year, my intention is to keep coming back to these five feelings. My clients have been choosing their five feelings too.
What about you? What five feelings would you like to feel more of this year? Take some time to think and then jot them down. Then you can start to look for opportunities to feel these feelings in your day-to-day behaviour, in your regular habits, in your big goals. It’s that simple. If you want to know more, you’ll find the full exercise here in last year’s New Year blog.
I know that 2021 will be a very tough year for many non-profits. If you’re feeling all the feelings right now, there’s no need to navigate the future on your own. I’m here to support you lead your team through these difficult times. Drop me an email or fill in the form below and I’ll get back to you very soon.