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A Fire at the Start of the New Year

Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to an amazing start but if it isn’t, you are in good company. Neither has mine!  I started the year recovering from the flu and with a fire in the apartment below mine. Yep, you heard that right. Last Monday, when I was alone with my three kids having dinner (my husband was away on business), 4 firefighters burst into our apartment shoving desks, chairs, nightstands out of their way. The smoke from the fire below our apartment started to fill up fast in my bedroom as the firefighters worked and I shuffled my 7-year-old son, 2-year-old twins and our dog into a different bedroom. I was preparing to get them out of the apartment when a firefighter surprised me by saying that we are actually safer in the apartment then going down the stairs. Long story short, we are all fine although my apartment does smell like a BBQ festival gone bad, besides that, the drama is over. Sometimes the first few weeks of the year just don’t go as you planned or hoped for.  I was bummed that I didn’t launch into 2020 with renewed energy and the gusto I know I am capable of. When I shared my frustration with my coach she suggested I set a different date for my New Year. “Who’s to say it has to be on January 1st?” she suggested. We set Jan 14th as the start of my New Year and those extra 14 days really made a difference! Today I am ready to come out swinging with full focus (I wasn’t there just days ago.) I wanted to share this with you because I found a reset like that to be so helpful. I set guilt and negative self-judgment aside and spent the days leading up to Jan 14th preparing. I also wanted to share with you a few other tips and resources that might help you kick start your year. David Peterson, the head of Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google has shared with me a powerful reflection calendar that he developed and uses with Google leaders. This resource is a “simple framework to help you be more intentional and extract richer learning from your experiences, starting with just one minute a day.”   Here are the reflection questions you can use on a daily and weekly basis: Daily 1 minute

  • What new thing did I try today? How did it go?

  • What worked well, what didn’t?

  • What’s the most useful thing I learned today?

  • What opportunity did I miss?

  • What am I most grateful for?

  • What one thing will I do tomorrow to stretch my comfort zone?

Weekly 3-4 minutes

  • What progress did I make last week? How satisfied am I with that?

  • What do I need to focus on in the coming week?

  • Where are my key opportunities to further my learning and development?


David’s reflection calendar also offers questions for your monthly, quarterly and annual reflections. Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in getting those questions as well. My second resource is a list of books I recommend you read this year. I know life can get too busy to read – it certainly is for me. So maybe I should rephrase – don’t read these books just listen to them on Audible. Listen during your commute, listen during your run, while on the elliptical or while cleaning up after dinner. These books will act as an opportunity to create daily awareness of where you can amplify your leadership, presence, empathy, and productivity. Here they are:

Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou

The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think – Tasha Eurich