The new year is filled with new expectations, big goals and fresh dreams. But before forging headlong into 2022, it’s essential to take a moment to reflect on what you accomplished during two of the strangest years in our lifetimes. All of the hope, fear, frustration, confusion, uncertainty, false starts, near normalcy—and then back again—have taken a toll on us as people, and on our organizations, too.
Human beings get tired, get burned out, and need nurturing. In the past two years, I’ve seen so many clients near the point of exhaustion and afraid to ask for help. I’ve also seen many who have worked hard to achieve and exceed their goals in a year unlike any other.
This Herculean effort to create success in the face of uncertainty requires not only energy but also time: time to reflect and get very clear on what you are doing and what you want for the your future, the future of your organization and the future of the teams that you lead. We need to give ourselves the space and the grace to take time to reflect on what we did right (and to celebrate those wins!), and also time to reflect on what we can learn from and what we can do to improve in the coming year.
This means creating healthy boundaries around your time to design the future for yourself and your organization.
We are already off to a running start this year with a full schedule of events that will take us well into the end of 2022. So, I’ve taken some of my own advice, embracing JOMO (the joy of missing out) for those of you who may have missed my November 2021 article, delegating work to those on my team, creating space for writing my book and for thought leadership in general. This might require getting up earlier on certain days or staying up later, after the kids have gone to bed, or working on the weekends.
Whatever that looks like for you, design it in a way that works for your work life and your lifestyle.
Going back to basics sometimes helps. Here are three simple suggestions to help you thrive into 2022:
1. SWOT analysis: An old-school SWOT analysis is always a great place to start: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Most of you know the drill. Whiteboard the reality of where you are today, right now, at this moment. Once you have a solid understanding of the “state of the state,” you can move into future planning.
2. Vision statement: Next, it’s important to create a vision for where you want to go. In creating this vision statement, it’s important to dream big. Lay out all of the possibilities for yourself, and don’t be shy about doing a big brainstorm session with yourself and/or your trusted team. Be creative in the specifics: What would the headlines say about your next jump?
3. Strategic planning: Now, from that amazing list of possibilities, start to cull down your list into the reality of what you can truly do in one year’s time. This will require an honest assessment of your current resources and what you need to achieve your 2022 goals. Try a StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment to learn the strengths, gifts and gaps for you and your team. This powerful tool celebrates the strengths and natural gifts on your team, and identifies also where your gaps are so they can be addressed going forward.
Once you have your plan in place, remember to allow yourself some flexibility and freedom to shift and pivot as needed. If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, we know that situations can change in an instant. Understand that the best-laid plans also need a Plan B.
Give yourself and your team the grace and the patience to shift directions and readjust your strategy at any given moment.
Such simple wisdom, but as we embark on another year of uncertainty, I find that going back to the basics is not only comforting but helps you to steer the wheel toward where you want to go in the future.
Set yourself and your organization up for real, attainable success in 2022! We are happy to help!
Mary Olson-Menzel is the founder and CEO of MVP Executive Search & Coaching and co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching.