These past twelve months have been full of turmoil. There have been devastating weather events, including record floods, bitter cold, and wildfires. The political environment has never been more partisan. Social media has driven hate and anger to a new level. It has been a challenging time for many leaders.
Each new year promises fresh beginnings, at least that is an optimist’s view of the future. In 2018 some of us will resolve to change a habit or launch a new idea. This practice can invigorate our hearts and minds with energy and purpose. By focusing on where we are going, the path can seem clearer and the journey more inviting.
Saying goodbye to the past year may also carry particular weight and meaning. I lost my mother and some older friends to death in 2017 so the memory of our relationships still stings with the pain of permanent separation. The dark, cold winter months will do little to encourage my spirit. I may find it difficult to remain optimistic in the face of these endings in my life.
Transitions invite this tension between the old and the new; between the past and the future; between endings and beginnings.
Perhaps your leadership team is experiencing the loss of a key member. In spite of economic growth, some organizations have still been impacted by permanent layoffs and plant closings during this past year. The anxiety about what is known and unknown remains a difficult lesson for leaders to grasp.
One way I plan to conquer the uncertainties of ending one year and beginning another is to be thankful. I am blessed to have a loving family, good health, a job that I enjoy, and dozens of clients and friends who support and encourage me. I’m thankful for a faith that sustains me in times of uncertainty. Every leader should adopt an attitude of gratitude in 2018.
We cannot stop the march of time. Each new calendar year is a reminder that endings and beginnings are an integral part of life. Leaders whose memories of 2017 are filled with pain and disappointment can wipe the slate clean and start over.
Every failure can be a lesson learned, an opportunity for personal growth. It’s important to reflect on what has ended and imagine what is just beginning. You might even find something to celebrate about both.
Happy New Year!