By Bryony Wright
For me, the end of the year is always a time for reflection: a time to look back on the highs and lows of the previous 12 months. An opportunity to think about what has been learnt; what we can look forward to in the coming year – and also what we can leave behind.
2022 has been a relentless year in so many ways.
Whilst truly thankful that our colleagues in East Asia are finally seeing some of their COVID restrictions lift, for many of us in the West the opening of lockdown earlier this year seems a very long time ago. However, any hope of relief and respite were very short-lived. The war in Europe, the impact on international energy supplies, the challenging global macro-economic climate and the cost-of-living crisis have impacted so many of us. In some ways it feels as if this year has been one crisis after another. I for one am eagerly looking forward to seeing the green shoots of recovery once again, hopefully in 2023.
The impact of this relentless year on the business leaders that we coach has been a growing sense of exhaustion as we all ‘limp’ towards the end of 2022. However, I think it is important to take a moment to recognise how much turbulence we’ve suffered and to congratulate ourselves on staying the course. It is very easy for all of us to feel quite overwhelmed in this current climate, whether you have been directly affected or not.
Resilience has been an ongoing theme in our executive coaching in 2022. How to lead through unprecedented uncertainty, how to prioritise in an ever-changing environment – and how to keep re-charging ourselves and our people so we can continue to bounce back each time we’re knocked down.
If you have a moment for reflection over the coming festivities, why not spend some time thinking about and committing to developing three new habits in 2023 that will further strengthen your resilience muscle:
1. At a MICRO level: such as ‘ 7/11 breathing’ before each meeting. This simple technique involves breathing in through the nose to the count of 7 and out through the nose or mouth to the count of 11. Doing this just three times consecutively has been scientifically proven to slow the heart rate and encourage muscles to relax.
2. At a MIDI level:e.g. scheduling your virtual meetings for 50 minutes instead of an hour – and rating yourself at the end of the week on how many times you have stuck to that discipline.
3. At a MACRO level: such as booking time off regularly throughout the year, whether to go on holiday or not, to ensure you are a human ‘being’ not just a human ‘doing’.
Until then, for those of us that are frantically trying to get everything done before the holidays, a quick reminder of the Eisenhower Matrix to help you prioritise. As a General in the US Army in WWII, Eisenhower developed the tool below to help him make the daily tough decisions about what and what not to do. Mapping your ‘To do’ list onto this matrix results in four quadrants of tasks with different work strategies:
As Eisenhower said, “What’s important is not always urgent – and what’s urgent is not always important,” but when we’re moving at pace with competing demands and tight deadlines it is easy to lose sight of that.
Should you wish to download the mentioned tools please see below: