I first wrote and published this article, ‘Countdown’ in 2017 and the feedback was great, so I repeated in 2018. That seems like such a long time ago. And the world was so different. Since then, we have been stirred out of complacency.
We have endured unenviable disruption in many areas of our lives – and we are still living in great uncertainty, subject to change being forced on us. Yet, innovation can be one of the positive outcomes of disruption. And it begins with you. How can you think differently, be a better person and live as the ‘gift to the world’ that you are intended to be?
Following my own reflections, I’m sharing a modified version of the two previous articles with you:
Life is full of countdowns. We prepare for events or calendar dates that will make a numerical or biblical difference to our lives. Children, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a certain date, are often encouraged to count the number of ‘sleeps’ until the event, whether the occasion be leaving to go on holiday, celebrating their birthday or the arrival of an important person. Anticipation and conscious or unconscious countdowns usually go together.
In talking about countdowns, we are talking about numerical sequences and in doing so, we need to remember that numbers mean different things to different groups. For example, at the time of writing, the ‘Western date’ is December 13, 2021. The current Islamic calendar year is 1442 H (AH meaning Anno Hegirae, the Hijri year) and thus the date is Jumada al-Awwal 9 1443, whereas the Hebrew date is Tevet 9 5782.
Let me give you an example relating to the Western calendar: A significant event for many in the Western world is Christmas, marked on our Gregorian calendars as December 25th. In the ‘run up’ (or shall we refer to it as ‘countdown’) to that date, a popular tradition, again presumably to capture the attention of children, is the counting of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’. I was fascinated to read that the counting should start on Christmas Day. It wouldn’t be nearly as exciting for children to begin counting the days only once they have received their presents! Another intriguing fact is that there are hidden meanings to each of the elements in the song starting ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…’.
In general, in the Western world, once the commercial and family frenzy of Christmas has passed, adults tend to focus on the lead up to New Year. Most of us have an array of ‘new years’ in our lives, marked by various religious observances and holidays or a birthday which also results in a new numerical age for us. A ‘new year’ can also come with a change in status, for example, the transition to being legally responsible, flying an aeroplane or becoming a ‘pensioner’.
But not many are linked to ‘resolutions’ the way it is expected that people should make ‘new year resolutions’. In my experience as a coach, few people actually enact their stated intentions, whether they be promises to themselves or to others.
I’m advocating that people rather first reflect on their past (what happened), then how it impacted on them emotionally, make meaning out of their reflections and then decide on possible actions. And we have to implement and sustain those actions for true learning to occur. For those academically inclined, you can see that my thought processes tend to follow a Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle pattern.
In order to make this reflection exercise more fun, I have crafted a countdown intended as a means of transitioning to a better ‘way of being’ in 2022. To help you, here are my suggestions and questions. Please list the:
• 12 top achievements in your life
• 11 people who have helped you to achieve
• 10 biggest challenges you have ever faced and overcome
• 9 learnings from these challenges
• 8 activities and experiences that energise you
• 7 people or situations you’ll avoid because you find them toxic
• 6 things you need to continue doing
• 5 activities or thoughts you should avoid or minimise
• 4 new undertakings or practices you have space to start engaging in
• 3 things you’ll do differently in 2022
• 2 ways in which you’ll embrace those who care most about you
• 1 way in which you will honour the most important person in your life…you!
Further questions for you are:
How will you:
• minimise negative influences and habits
• energise yourself through engaging more in those activities, experiences and people who have a positive influence on you?
May 2022 be a year filled with good health, great happiness, peace and prosperity. Oh, and have loads of fun doing the things that energise you and give you a sense of flourishing!
For more information on Executive Coaching or other programmes offered by Brenda Eckstein International, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.strategy-leadership.com