100% Jodi: How to Gently Go into a New Year of Uncertainty

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Are you ready for 2021?

That can be a loaded question most years but this year it seems that question could easily set someone off.

Given our routines have been upended, we have been through so much emotional upheaval, and the next year is uncertain, in this episode I’m going to give you a different kind of New Year exercise that is designed to support you no matter how you’re feeling about the past year or year to come.

Hello, I’m Jodi Flynn and welcome to the Women Taking the Lead podcast. I’m an executive leadership coach, author, speaker, workshop facilitator and I have the joy to work with women leaders who want to hone the skills that will allow them to thrive in Senior Leadership. I know I’ve met a woman I would love to work with when we start having a few laughs about our tendencies toward perfectionism and people pleasing.

I had been living in Maine for the past 18 years, but I am currently in Massachusetts staying with family while I prepare to make my final move to Virginia. Thanks to the beauty of technology, I’ve been able to continue to work with women all over the world even in the midst of so much movement and transition.

I do individual coaching as well as workshops and team retreats, and I am the current President of the board for The Maine Women’s Conference.

I spend my free time catching up with friends and family, coordinating my move to Virginia, and lately I’ve been cooking more family-style meals with my sister and nieces. I have a few more skills in the kitchen.

Do you have a few more skills this year?

For many of us, the pandemic added a lot of stress and new responsibilities but ironically, also freed up a lot of our time. Because extra-curriculars, travel (even local travel), and events were cancelled or cut back, we’ve found ourselves with more space on our calendars.

This free time, and a desire to distract ourselves from the uncertainty of our situations, brought on a boom of indulging in new and old hobbies, and polishing some skills.

Many of you have improved your cooking and baking skills, have quickly upgraded your technical skills, and even the grandparents have become old hats at video conferencing.

As we start to plan for 2021 let’s take a quick look back at 2020.

My first question for you to consider is, what skills have you gained or improved upon in the past year?

Be sure to include tactical skills, which may include more facility around software or mastering a crochet loop, as well as soft skills, such as improved listening skills, asking better questions, or advocating for yourself.

What has the year taught you?

As you reflect on last year, think about what else you learned about yourself.

  • Did you discover a new interest?
  • Did you realize you’re not doing the work you want to be doing?
  • Did you realize you’re definitely in the right field but would like to contribute in a different way?
  • Did you learn something new about taking care of yourself or your energy?
  • Did you learn something new about the people around you and what they need or don’t need from you?
  • When you think about yourself in the past year, what are you most proud of?

Use these questions as prompts but don’t limit your reflection to just these questions. Keep exploring how the past year has informed you.

One more question about the past year, which will segue right into imagining the year to come.

What was missing for you in the past year?

There may be many answers to this question so again, don’t limit yourself to one or two answers.

Some common answers I’ve heard from my clients is hugs, good communication, in-person events, the ability to shop leisurely, and travel. Those seem to the be the glaring items that were missing last year.

But I’ve also been hearing: alone time, space to sit quietly and think, structure and accountability.

Slowly start to identify goals

Thinking about what you’ve learned about yourself in the past year, what would you like to bring into 2021?

Thinking about what was missing in the past year, what would you like to create in the year to come?

With these answers you can start to create goals that don’t just represent a new achievement, they will support you to be your best self in 2021.

Also, these goals will support you through the uncertainty we’re sure to experience through the first half of the year.

As opportunities present themselves, and we know more about our situations, you’ll be able to expand and build upon your goals.

Normally I would be encouraging you to be very specific and detailed about your goals, but the reality of our situation is we can predict very little about the year to come.

What is in your control is your focus, your choices and your habits. Let’s double-down on these.

Would additional support be helpful?

Now, do you or someone who reports to you want or need someone to partner with in the new year?

Working with a skilled coach can help get to the heart of what’s holding you back in your work or in your life in general.

I’ve had 3 women sign up to work with me starting in January.

One woman is an executive who has hit a point of mastery in her career but is beginning to feel unfulfilled. She is excellent at what she does and other companies are trying to recruit her but she has lost the passion for the work she does. She would apply for other jobs but isn’t clear on what she wants to do next. Through coaching she is going to explore what does excite her and would bring her fulfillment.

Another woman is an executive within an organization who was promoted about a year ago. She’s meeting expectations in her role but doesn’t feel like she’s doing a strong job. She said she never felt like she got her feet under her after her promotion and there are some things she would like to be doing better. In this situation the owner of the company reached out on her behalf to identify coaches she could vet and he is investing in the coaching for her.

The third woman whom I’ll be working with is a business owner. Her business is doing great, is very profitable, and though she is near retirement has not plans to leave the business any time soon. What she would like, though, is to take a little more time off and doesn’t see how she can do that because her team and customers are so dependent on her. We’ll be working together to create the structure and support that will allow her to be the visionary of her business and mentor to her team while allowing her team to work more independently and provide almost all of the customer service.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar or if you have a unique situation you would like support with, I invite you to reach out to me directly at jodi@womentakingthelead.com or engage or send me a message on a social media platform. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

We can chat about your situation and determine if coaching with me is a good fit for you. I would be honored to be of service to you in the coming year.

As always, I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!

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