Closing Off 2022: A Year in Reflection & What I learned about resilience

How was your year?

For me, it was pretty busy. I sat and wrote it all down this week so I could reflect and decide if I was happy with the year in focus.

Job change, writing a book, starting a business, health scare, overcame some mental health challenges, started horse riding and learned to show jump, clearing of debt, coaching sessions with new coaches, made some special new friends and enjoying the art of yoga. These are just some of the events in the life of yours truly from 2021. Not to mention lockdowns, news items, traveling outside of Ireland for the first time in 2 years and managing all sorts of growth personally and professionally as I’ve moved through this time.

I can imagine that there is a list for you too. Even though we sat in our houses for a chunk of this year, hopefully we’ve all learned that change is inevitable – personally and professionally.

Perhaps it is full of differing items (I know this from my own circles this year)?

Some examples might include starting a new gym class, getting married, having a baby, losing your job, starting a new job, getting COVID, starting therapy or even something as simple as starting a new Netflix show. Whatever the year looked like for you, give yourself some credit for what you achieved, tolerated and encountered during the last year. The biggest changes in ourselves happen gradually rather than in one fowl swoop and so, recognising this can be powerful and certainly, don’t head into 2022 without recognising your wins and defeats. This all contributes to who you are today and who you will become in 2022.

Change and what I’ve learned

I presented on change and change management to my teams several times over the past two years. What I learned in 2021 is that the best way to build resilience is to experience the events for themselves. Avoidance does not work. And sometimes, there will be ones that you don’t even see coming.

As we knew things, it was the only constant in an ambiguous and ever-moving environment in my work life in 2021. Fast forward to June 2021 and I learned properly what change is and what it entails. With a massive change on my teams and with those around me, I needed to learn to adapt to a new change that was totally out of my control.

Learnings that I reflected on that will hopefully support you as you move through the guaranteed change of the world.

Firstly, we cannot prepare for everything. There are always going to be events, circumstances and interactions that we cannot prepare for. Take it from an over-preparer, this is inevitable about life and it is a learning that will be taught to you if you don’t prepare yourself fully for it.

Worrying does nothing. Again, I worry a bunch. A book by Gay Hendricks called ‘The Big Leap’ reminded me this year that worrying doesn’t do anything unless it sparks an action that helps the situation at hand. An example he uses frequently is worrying about leaving the kettle on the stove if you went to work. Worrying helps as it drives you to an action that intervenes in this situation. Write down what you’re worried about. Can you do anything? Then stop.

People are more resilient than you give them credit for. I used to think that removing difficult situations would take away the upset of those around me. I also used to think that people leaning into adversity and upset was a bad thing and it needed to stop immediately and everyone should be happy all the time. Truth is, we need those challenges to get stronger and to prepare us as we move through life. We feel the upset and challenge in the moment and remember that yes, we can move past this and use this experience to get better and stronger in our lives.

Life is for living. It can be tempting to climb under the covers when change happens. It can also be tempting to ignore the hard things and just have fun. Truth is that this is a sure-fire way for things to get worse. There is an opportunity to rest, reflect but then there is a time to get up and face the challenging scenarios and use them as a chance to get better.

Take it from yours truly, you can move yourself through anything you want. Focus on what you actually want, omit what you don’t and surround yourself with those who are good for you.

Happy New Year x