Cheers to a different, yet remarkable 2020

This cover image** reminds me of simplicity and finding joy in the small things in life… from a personal perceptive that is what 2020 epitomized for me.

Being grateful for having my loved ones at home — the luxury to enjoy the morning tea with my family in between coaching sessions and online schooling. Having the flexibility to arrange my day and doing ALL my work from the comfort of my home study as there were no need to rush to a venue and set-up the training room. It has not only been positive — the other side of the coin is also the emotional Corona-coaster ride – the “ups and downs”; the challenges we have faced, the uncertainty about the future and concerns about our health.

At the start of 2020, I have chosen “significant” as my word for the year. It turned out that the year was significant, not in the way I would ever have imagined. We were all stretched outside our comfort zones. Yet, the year was unexpected and remarkable at the same time.

We had to change our routines, embrace new habits, and took quantum leaps in our thinking, especially in the way we work and collaborate. We have experienced the power of out of the box thinking. Being agile and adaptive was a necessity as we explored the possibilities of virtual ways of working and balancing the boundaries between work and life. For the first time, we were globally united against a common “threat” — as we slowed down, the positive impact on mother nature became evident.

Some of my best and bright moments were:

  1. Walking my why: It was the birth of the HR & Leader Think Tank series that started during Level 5 of the South African lockdown. We had amazing guests and wonderful conversations with like-minded people. This has been something on my dream and bucket list from the onset that I started businesses. Herewith a quick summary of some of the take-aways:
  • To be courageous means to be brave and afraid at the same time.
  • Your company culture is more critical in the virtual world; HR should support the leaders to be adaptive and ensure the policies and procedures are not bottlenecks in being agile.
  • The gifts of diversity, inclusion and belonging are awareness, seeking to understand and listen (even to the unsaid). Lastly, the gift of intentionality.
  • Mentoring is about sharing your life lesson to provide hindsight, insight, and foresight to others on their life journey. The virtual way may have been odd in the beginning, but it is a powerful way to impact lives especially during these different times. Virtual can be as powerful if you continue to focus on the human in front of you. Look at the non-verbals and agenda of the mentee in mind.
  • Creativity is a skill we can learn; we need to be aware of stumbling blocks that hinder us to think differently to innovate.
  • Fight, flight or flourish – it is about where you focus your attention. Are you focusing on the past or future, being reactive and in story mode instead of focusing on the present moment, being aware of what is really happening?
  1. Experiencing kindness and compassion in meaningful ways: It was truly special to have experienced and seen how the communities of practice supported one another in the transition to the virtual world. I have met incredible and talented humans during this year. People committed to reaching their ambitions for themselves, their teams and business in these turbulent times. I’m thankful for each interaction because, through my client’s journeys, I also discovered different lenses to view life.

Paying kindness forward is easy when you have a community behind you to support and encourage you. I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone in my network for your support, interactions and comments on my posts and blogs and the positive feedback after the facilitation and coaching sessions. You cannot grow without feedback, so this has been invaluable to me.

  1. Embracing the e-world: Almost overnight we became experts in virtual platforms and “you’re on mute” become an overused phrase. I had to learn to navigate virtual tools and find ways to connect and keep sessions energized. I can comfortably say that I can now e-learn, e-coach, e-facilitate, e-collaborate and e-speak. A big shout-out to the technical producers that supported me during virtual workshops. This has enabled me to focus on the delegates experience and not worrying about creating breakout rooms and other technical issue matters.

 Virtual collaborations were essential, and I had the privilege to have worked with many international associates that otherwise might not have been a necessity. The launch of the book, Agile People Principle: Your call to action was a definite highlight. We had a 48-hour, global virtual conference and co-creating with the co-authors of the book were amazing.

 

  1. Understanding that self-care is the first step in being resilient: Selfcare was a common theme in 2020. I can relate to this and had to practice what I preach. I have experienced firsthand that if I want to have the energy to handle the complex matter, it is important to do the basics right – get sufficient sleep, work-out, eat balanced meals and make mindfulness practices a priority. I learnt that where I focus my attention and energy is critical to succeeding in stressful times.

I wrote an article about this if you would like to read more, here.

  1. Tweaking tiny habits goes a long way: Making changes to daily habits is crucial for successful living. Putting these habits in practice is more important. It is about being persistent and making small tweaks as needed. So reset, refocus, re-adjust and restart as many times as you need to.
  1. The “not so nice” spotlight experience: I was super excited for my first live TV interview on NewzroomAfrika a the start of the SA lockdown. I was invited to talk about a topic that is close to my heart – being agile and adaptive in the world of work. The 10 minutes being “in the spotlight” on live TV felt uncomfortable. I was unable to see the interviewer and it felt like talking to a screen instead of a human and I’m sure I haven’t shared half of the pointers I wanted to share. Reflecting on this experience I can now acknowledge that I was stretched outside my comfort zone. I have decided to be grateful for the exposure and let go of the worry if I came across as credible. I’m looking forward to the next live TV opportunity as I feel much more comfortable in the online / virtual world.

On the other side, I am beyond grateful for all the opportunities I had this year to have been published and interviewed this year – being a small business owner with a minuscule marketing budget, this has helped me to grow my business. I am thankful for every opportunity to inspire people along my journey. I do believe that people don’t buy goods and services, they buy connections, stories and magic.

And with that, I want to remind you not to take yourself too seriously. Life is better when you’re laughing. I am not suggesting that you suppress feelings of disappointment or overwhelm. Be aware, acknowledge and feel the emotions. And then, consciously choose something that you can control. Make time to reflect on the parts of your life you want to rush back to and which wisdom from 2020 do you intentionally want to keep.

None of us knows what 2021 will hold. My wish for you is a year where you will shine brightly and leave a sparkle wherever you go.

** Taken in Namibia on route to Spitzkoppe.

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