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  • Writer's pictureValerie Davis

Are You Ready for a New Year? 'Tis the Season for Reflection and Planning


We are nearing the end of 2020, and what a year it has been…

Everyone has faced unprecedented challenges. There are positives to reflect upon, however, I first want to acknowledge the sadness and grief we’re all experiencing at the loss of our “normal” lives – things we’re just used to, but more importantly things we enjoy, including simple things like physical closeness with family and friends.

And I want to recognize the deep sadness of losing a loved one to Covid-19 and the added toll of being prohibited to visit our loved ones who are sick with this in the hospital – our family has experienced this loss, and my heart goes out to everyone who is grieving due to losing a loved one.

I lost a dear friend as well, and understand that whether or not Covid-19 was the cause, this horrible disease affects the ways we can work through our grief with those we love. Through these tough times, I am so very grateful for all the health care workers -for all they do. I just want to say to all the healthcare workers, all around the world, you have my deepest admiration and gratitude.

A time to reflect —

An insightful definition of reflection stated in Jennifer Porter's article in the Harvard Business Review (March 21, 2017)

At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought. But the kind of reflection that is really valuable to leaders is more nuanced than that. The most useful reflection involves the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions for the purpose of learning. Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. For leaders, this “meaning making” is crucial to their ongoing growth and development.

Let’s take our sadness, frustration, love, hope, and greater understanding of what’s actually important in our lives – and create a better tomorrow.

A time to plan —

This year, be intentional with what you choose to do and not to do. Include time for self-care in your plan, keeping in mind that self-care is not just doing things that are good for your health, but doing things that you enjoy.

Make time to think about what you want to achieve this year and what is the benefit? Consider why is it important to you? This is key to staying motivated and on track.

Set SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals, put them in writing, review them regularly – daily, weekly, or monthly, whatever you decide. Hold yourself accountable to take the small daily steps that will move you forward, and this will result in achieving your goals.

Furthermore, remember to be flexible and understand that there will be times where the “urgent” will take precedence, and there will be obstacles that challenge you. If you get off-course, just get back on track knowing that your plan will evolve and change as you move toward achieving your goals.

This new year will be tough, and what we choose to achieve individually and collectively as a community will determine what our future looks like. Lean into feeling uncomfortable and envision the opportunities to build a future where you can be successful and help our community thrive.

Wishing you a Holiday Season filled with Peace and a Happy New Year!

Valerie Davis

Philanthropy Focus

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