How to Identify to Your Strengths

How to Identify to Your Strengths

How did we make it?  It’s December 2020 and somehow, we’ve almost reached the end of a very challenging year.   Well done!  I can remember days, weeks and months when I wondered what the next surprise, change or challenge would be and whether my industry, my family, and myself could cope with anymore.  So how did I make it?

One day in mid-March I abandoned my home office with a sigh and went downstairs, struggling to think what I would do next.  I passed my 10-year-old daughter, headphones on, zoom-screen full of smiling school friends and I was inspired.  Their sense of purpose was unwavering.  Some things just had to get done.  They couldn’t help making ventilators, they didn’t have massive, complex organizations to resize, and they didn’t need to be told that staying home was enough.  They had a simple sense of purpose: in the words of Finding Nemo’s Dory – just keep swimming!  Whether it was something intrinsic with the children or amazing leadership from their teachers, they were able to accept one thing at a time, adapt in the moment and move on.

Maybe it’s an overdose of Disney+, but the other concept that helped me through the summer of 2020 came from Frozen II: do the next right thing.  Often the big picture was unclear.  The response to the virus was reactionary.  Countries’ and organizations’ leaderships were changing and adapting to their own challenges as fast as everything else.  The outlook for the world, the industry, the company, careers was impossible to predict and an enormous amount of energy could be quickly consumed trying to mentally navigate it all.  My team and I settled on taking care of the things we could influence and trying not to worry about everything else.  We drew on our experience, discretion and professionalism and just did the next right thing.

Empathy played an important role in getting through it all.  The Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner signs off every episode with “Take care of yourselves out there, and if you can, someone else”.   Spending more time at home has been an opportunity to reconnect.  This has been extended through zoom meetings with old friends, online happy hours and an outpouring of empathy.  When we get it right, treating ourselves well starts a chain reaction to our families, friends, colleagues and beyond.  We’ve broken down barriers, become bolder, and less self-conscious about reaching out through new communication channels, confident of positive results.

With all these valuable lessons learned, the most important thing to remember is that it is not over yet.  Last week, my eldest son came back with a positive Covid test.  His symptoms are very mild, we expect a quick recovery and as a family we are well prepared to deal with more lockdown and isolation.  We understand how our bubble burst but while it might be tempting to focus on what went wrong, I have used this as another reminder of what we did right for the previous 10 months.  It has been shown that a team focusing on the positives, ensuring they repeat good behaviors, will improve faster than a team focusing on negatives, and how to prevent them.  So, if you get the chance to relax and reflect in the coming weeks, take a moment to remember what you did right in 2020.  Just keep swimming, do the next right thing, take care of yourself and, if you can, someone else.

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