In a year when I have lost both my beautiful parents (and without being able to be with them or at their funerals because of lockdown), when we have been tested with 120 days of lockdown (four walls and two people are certainly not a big enough real world for me) and where we have needed ‘Plan G’ for work projects and for holidays, 2021 will not be a year in my box of favourites!
Yet even with all the challenges and sadness of 2021 there are some ‘silver lining lessons’ and I want to share three of these with you this week.
Lesson #1 – Show Some Vulnerability
I chose to share, with some clients, Dad’s and then Mum’s passing and how difficult and sad that was. I shared some of the lessons I had learnt from my parents and from being unable to get back to New Zealand. And I’m so glad I did.
Yes, I cried often as I told people, and their responses were incredible – messages of genuine care and support, of gratitude that I had shared, and how this had prompted them to have conversations or take action with their parents or to share special memories of their parents too.
I realised that it takes courage to show vulnerability and that sometimes it is important to do so.
It lets your humanity show, and let others demonstrate their humanity.
Lesson #2 – Don’t Wait
COVID has taught us that choice can be taken away without notice, that we can choose to live today but that planning for tomorrow does not always guarantee the plan will be able to come to fruition. This is a hard lesson for most of us because we are used to being able to plan and control most outcomes. It also reinforces how important it is to seize opportunities as soon as they arise, to not wait.
I’m so glad that I booked to go to New Zealand as soon as the border opened, and that I said the things to my parents I really wanted them to know, while I had the chance.
Lesson #3 – Pomo-me
For managers and leaders, juggling priorities and managing interruptions are critical skills for achieving high productivity. Many of our clients have successfully implemented pomodoros. These are focused, intense, pre-determined time slots to achieve top priority tasks.
During the seemingly endless lockdown, it was clear that most people in our Leadership programs were looking out for their staff so well, but were in fact exhausted themselves. The long hours and the stress of juggling work and home schooling were taking their toll. So we introduced the ’pomo-me’- one hour for yourself in the weekend, to do something that YOU wanted to do, something that would boost your energy and positivity.
Our clients have embraced the pomo-me, and so has our team. Sharing our pomo-mes on a Monday morning has added to the fun and has been a great way to hold each other to account. And, most importantly, the pomo-mes are working to ‘fill up our tanks’ again.
I hope these lessons might help you too, directly or by causing you to stop and consider the ‘silver lining lessons’ you have learned this year. And let’s not lose these lessons – their benefits are ongoing if we hold on to them for the long term.
What important life lessons have you learned this year? Tell me in the comments below.