Apparently it’s ‘Get Organised Month’
And there are lots of posts and articles about planning for the new year. Well, may I suggest, this starts with you, and perhaps thinking about the future you is a useful frame for this. Some context for that:
I had a really powerful experience this week that I’d like to tell you about.
On the 8th January last year, Natalia Da Costa who runs the Athena Dorset group encouraged us to write a letter to our future self, dated 8th January this year and for it to take the form of a ‘Summary of achievement of last year’. And my letter arrived just before Christmas…. From the past me.
I decided to wait until the first week of this year to open it, and to be honest I was worried about reading it. I thought I would see all the grand hopes and plans and feel that I hadn’t achieved what I had wanted to. I was worried I would start this year off feeling deflated and like a failure.
What struck me the most when reading it was that it was like reading a letter from an old friend who knew me and loved me. The letter was kind, caring but challenging too. Reading the letter was powerful, emotional and humbling. I feel protective and proud of that Jo from last year. It has made me understand myself and feel connected to myself in a really new and meaningful way.
And do you know, despite having had a really challenging year, I have achieved most of the aspirations I wanted to. This has amazed me and I wouldn’t have considered those achievements if I hadn’t been encouraged to capture it.
And here is something to think about – all the achievements have been reached in ways I never would have conceived of this time last year. Deciding on the destination and then trusting how you get there is something I touch upon in this blog.
Community and connection really, really matter. This exercise has underlined that even more for me. Last year would have been truly hard without the people who supported me, listened, encouraged and gave me their time. One of the destinations I had set for myself was to build really deep and meaningful connections and I am proud to have achieved that and grateful to have such amazing people alongside me.
But I am clear that the first place to start when planning for the year is with YOU. So my question to you is this – what do you want the you of January next year to be doing, thinking about, achieving and feeling proud of?
Some of my most useful planning over Christmas has been supported by a brilliant book called ‘Personality isn’t Permanent’ by Benjamin Hardy, PhD. The premise is that your future self will be a different version of you, just as the ‘you’ of 10 years ago is different from the current you. So with the book’s help, I have been imagining my future self and what I am doing, achieving and living like. My letter from last year Jo has kind of book-ended my thinking on this and I am convinced of it’s importance.
Whatever your situation – whether you are leading a team within an organisation, running your own business, finding your way, starting something new, or looking to change things, I would really encourage you to read this book and do some future work. As a starter, some questions that resonated for me from the book are here – why not take a moment to think about this time next year (or 5 years from now) and ask yourself:
What is your day-to-day life like?
What do you stand for?
How much money do you make?
What type of clothes do you wear?
How do you interact with other people?
How do you view your present and future?
What is your purpose?
Where do you live?
Who are your friends?
What skills and talents do you have?Personality isn’t Permanent, page 89
Benjamin Hardy, PhD
I’d love to be able to help you with your achievements this year. I want Jo next year to feel proud of having built community and connection for people, to have helped them make work better for themselves and their teams – whatever their situation. Please have a look at my Collections below and let me know what you think.
Right, I’m off to write my letter to 2022 Jo now.
Good luck with yours.
I facilitate meaningful spaces for Thinking, Ideas and Action, and I want to help you set off intentionally into 2021.
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This is such an interesting read Jo, it has given me real good for thought and reflection on how I see myself.
I would also like to use parts of it with my Clients, supporting their journey to self.
You are an inspiration, and a dear friend. Xxx