Looking back, forward and sideways

The new year always seems to bring on those reflective moments where you celebrate the last year and look forward to the next.

I’m a little late with this (well a week, is not that late) but that is because I’ve taken time out and actually disconnected over the Christmas and new year period from work. Well more importantly disconnected from thinking about work and all the challenges that are ahead.

Now I’m back at work I’m able to take a fresh look at the year ahead and beyond and consider what my role is and what my aspirations are for the future in general. I’m not so bothered about the next 12 months specifically but am more focused now on my journey and the impact I can make along the way.

But first I’m going to reflect on the last year – a year which pretty much for me was dominated by development on all levels – spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically. Not all of it was work related of course but it was a year of Personal Growth.

I’m not going to spend time here going back over the details of every key moment but I’d like to share some themes which emerged for me which I think might be helpful to others.

  • Coaching: I can’t thank the people who have coached me enough formally over the last 12  months and longer. The coaching sessions created a great deal of clarity for me when I was perhaps becoming lost and disillusioned. I found the emotional connections (on various levels) you make with others and more importantly yourself – deeply transformative.
  • Looking in all directions: Inspiration comes in many forms and can come at any time. I’ve been fortunate over the last year to connect to and be inspired by a great many people, most of which would not have known they inspired me as they were not setting out to do so. They simply created magical moments which helped me see different perspectives on a variety of problems, some complex and some quite simply but frustratingly hard to get to.
  • No excuses: When things get hard, it is all too easy to create excuses as to why things won’t or can’t change, well I’ve found that the majority of the time the real barrier is yourself. A lack of tactics, a lack of energy, a lack of drive, enthusiasm, inspiration, creativity etc. The hardest thing to do is to create new perspectives for yourself which help you to connect to other people in more meaningful and imaginative ways. Now I’m not saying there are not hard and complex problems out there but we can’t make excuses anymore. We simply have to move forward.
  • The power of “yet”: In my leadership course about 18 months ago I was introduced to Carol Dweck and her work on Growth Mindset. During the last year it became something which also moved into my world as a parent and a School Governor as the school has adopted this work for the children and adults in the school and it has had significant improvements in how the school is progressing. One of the key elements for me in the growth mindset is the use of the word “yet”. The shift in your own perspective by using “yet” is a powerful one. For example and a very simple one at that: I’m not good at that. Or I’m not good at that yet.

You can view a short RSA Animate video which talks more about the growth mindset here

  • There maybe no money but: Everyone has been focused on the lack of money for such a long time now that it can’t really be a reflection from last year, however my point here is that whilst there might be austerity around public finances, there is certainly no austerity on people’s ideas, creativity and imagination. So let’s make sure we create the right conditions for that to flourish so that we can create new public and social value for a modern society.

Looking ahead my aspirations or even a set of principles are similar to those that Sarah Lay posted – Here are mine and they will drive my decisions and actions throughout the year.

  1. Live full and with meaning
  2. Balance digital conversations with real world conversations
  3. Embrace “Yet”
  4. Be “Open” with my whole self
  5. Enable others to shine and grow
  6. Don’t give up, when things get hard, embrace it and push through – that’s how you grow

So that’s about it for this post, although one final thing to say is that I must blog more, I’m missing it.

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3 Replies to “Looking back, forward and sideways”

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