Let's LEAD - January 2021

As I start to write this newsletter, it's the Monday between Christmas and New Year's Day...typically my favorite week of the year. I use this time to reflect, restore and recalibrate in preparation for the new year. 

And then I remember...it was 2020. 

The impact of 2020 and the events that unfolded have been immense; most of us were forced to live our lives very differently than expected. The COVID switch was flipped and our normal routines were significantly disrupted; we had to reimagine how we stayed connected with the people we care about. For some of us, 2020 was devastating. 

COVID has been called the 'great revealer,' and I'm betting that as you read that, you're thinking, 'Oh YEAH it was!'

What did 2020 reveal to you about you? Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions:

  1. What did you learn about yourself as you navigated 2020's disruptive events?
  2. What strengths emerged? Anything that surprised you?
  3. What do you wish you had handled differently?

Here's the key...none of us are going to forget last year anytime soon, AND you now have an opportunity to gain new insights into yourself AND to put a period on 2020. Think of it as a door closing so you can open a window...

3 Tips - Designing YOUR New Year

So, enough about 2020 (buh-bye!). Here's what I know...I want to move into 2021 with a different perspective, one that builds upon the lessons I learned in the past year.

My challenge to you is to use the lessons of the past to create your future, by YOUR design. While 2020 felt very much out of control, and it was, I would argue that you have more control than you realize. 

Consider these suggestions as you design your new year:

  1. Analyze the data. I don't know about you, but I noticed just how close to the surface my emotions have been, just waiting for an opportunity to break through. Susan David, PhD., author of Emotional Agility, coined an amazing quote that has helped me keep my emotions in check: 'Emotions are data, not directions.' 

    Did my emotions occasionally get the best of me? You betcha! The question is: how did I RESPOND to those emotions? In some instances, not as I would have liked. 

    So, think about how you answered the third question above: How do you want to handle it next time? Create a plan and put that plan into action the next time a similar situation comes up, because it probably will...

  2. Choose. How do you want to experience this upcoming year? Decide. Declare it. An article entitled 5 Different Questions to Ask in the First Week of the New Year showed up in my inbox this week, and I love the questions the author Ariane de Bonviousin poses as an alternative to New Year's resolutions. The article includes more context, but to summarize the five questions:

    - What do I most want to feel this year?
    - Whom am I going to choose to love unconditionally this year, to the best of my ability, no matter what happens?"
    - How am I going to get back on track when life gets hard?
    - Who is someone I can help to achieve their most important resolution?
    - What word can I pick as the quality I most want to focus on this year?

    Do any of these questions resonate for you? Get out your journal and start writing! 

  3. Cop a new attitude. This is a bit of a follow-up to last month's newsletter: how does your attitude IMPACT the people around you? Yup...as leaders in ALL areas of our lives, we need to remember that this isn't just about you.

    If, as part of your reflection on how you responded to the events of the last year, you are seeing opportunities to show up differently, consider an attitude shift from a 'fixed' mindset to a 'growth' mindset:

    Fixed Mindset

    Growth Mindset

    When I fail, I'm a failure

    When I fail, I learn

    I give up when things are hard

    I push through because I know I'll learn and grow

    Criticism must be avoided at all costs

    Feedback from others helps me become a better person

    When others succeed, there's less for me

    When others succeed, I choose to be inspired by their success

Again, you have more control than you realize, particularly around how you RESPOND to your experience. It's about creating your future BY DESIGN, not by default. I believe this creates HOPE...hope for a new year that is full of opportunities and possibilities, regardless of circumstances that seem so out of our control.

So...are you ready?


Im Ready Lets Go GIF by Leroy Patterson

Cool Resources

What I'm reading (articles, books*): 

An interesting (and entertaining) article comparing leading people to shepherding sheep: 9 Secrets to Leading Sheep - No Matter How Many Legs They Have, published by RapidStart Leadership. I now have a higher regard for sheep, and the shepherds who lead them! 

*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice


"I never learn when I think I'm being taught a lesson." -- Dan Levy

...and something more:  

My annual viewing of Love Actually at Christmas triggered a renewed appreciation for Joni Mitchell. IMO, this is the best version of Both Sides Now. As I read the lyrics, there are some connections to the idea of reflecting on our past and our future...

Connect with me...

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I look forward to connecting!

Camille McKinney
Leveraged Leaders