One of my rituals for the start of a new year is to hang up a new calendar. Every space is blank; a clean sheet to fill with new possibilities and future adventures. Only this year, supply chain issues mean that my favourite calendar is still meandering around Australia and it’s halfway through January already. It’s forced me to reflect on how I’m going to fill those empty spaces.
The author Stephen R. Covey talks about filling your jar with the big rocks, the important things, before adding the mundane little pebbles that clutter up our lives. Before you fill your new calendar with the things that you feel obliged to do, or the necessary but tedious tasks, take a little time to reflect and think about how you’re going to use the 365 days of 2022.
Here are some things you might do differently.
Who or what are you giving your attention to? Your energy follows your attention, as anyone with a demanding toddler will attest. It’s too easy to have your attention stolen by people and events that are energy suckers, giving you little return for your effort. In a previous corporate role I rushed from meeting to meeting, filling my day with people who wanted my opinion or attendance. By the end of each day I was exhausted and hadn’t got any meaningful work done. To make the most of your precious energy, what changes will you make in 2022 to make sure your attention is focused on the right things?
What’s your most useful beliefs and which ones are holding you back? We talk to many non-profits who believe that corporate partnerships aren’t for them: they’re too hard, their cause isn’t sexy, they’re too small for partnerships. But the extraordinary growth in partnerships in the most difficult conditions of the last two years shows there’s plenty of opportunity out there. Chris Helder writes about Useful Belief being more helpful than just positive thinking. Think about whether your beliefs are useful and empowering or limiting your potential. Don’t be afraid to explore the enormous potential of partnerships for your organisation.
Which area of growth would you like to explore in 2022? Maybe it’s personal growth or perhaps you’d like to grow more income. You may have corporate partnerships that have hit a plateau and need a reboot. You might need to invest in your personal learning to build deeper skills and confidence. If you fast forward to New Year’s eve 2022, what would you like to feel has flourished this year?
We’re all creatures of habit, which is why New Year’s resolutions often fall away by February. Rather than set unrealistic goals and then beat yourself up when you don’t achieve them, spend some time looking at the recurring themes and patterns in your life. For me, I know that I’m reaching for the chocolate by 3pm as my brain starts to feel fuzzy. So I’ve scheduled to do the most mundane tasks of day between 3-4pm, like updating the database and doing the accounts. I save the first two hours of the day when I’m freshest, to do my thinking and creating. You’ll also notice patterns in your partnerships. Do you have a lot of small, lower value ones just because you didn’t want to say no? How much time are you spending on servicing them versus actively prospecting for newer, bigger opportunities? Taking a hard look at patterns will uncover some unexpected and ultimately useful insights.
A wide-open landscape of possibility awaits you in 2022. Use the gift of some quiet time to reflect on how you’d like to fill those blank spaces. And don’t let someone else fill them for you.