Merry Christmas. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. How has it been for you and the important people in your life? Every day, I hear another story of someone who went above and beyond to help a person in a time of need.
Christmas is a time for optimism
I’m an optimistic person by nature. I tend to see the world as a place where good things happen to people. 2020 has produced a wide range of unintended consequences. Who could have imagined how well we would get to know each other while working remotely?
I’ve been in so many peoples’ homes through Zoom. I’ve gotten to know more people, their families, and the furry family members. It’s been an amazing opportunity to get to know people in a more personal way.
I’ve attended many virtual events and even returned to the virtual platform as a presenter and facilitator. I never attended so many great events around the world in a single year.
Many new friendships start in 2020
When I look back on 2020, I remember the many new relationships I started. Sadly, I also remember the people we lost. They remind me that we all have a limited time here. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.
What gifts can I put under your Christmas tree? The most powerful gift I can give you is the knowledge that we will overcome this situation. I heard a lot about how science will save us. I might say it differently, we will save us.
Faith, love, and charity highlight this holiday season
As we celebrate Jesus’s birth at Christmas, we must remember the importance in faith, love, and charity. We can always do more for others. Sometimes it’s nice to know that there is a God. He’s here with us to provide comfort and joy in our lives. This year this has brought me peace when I’ve lost important people in my life.
When I look into the eyes of children and the elderly, I’m reminded how much he loves us all. I can see it in their eyes. He will never fail us.
What gifts can I give to serving leaders this holiday season? Every year I face the challenge of what gifts to give to our serving leaders community. It’s been an amazing year. I want to find the right gifts for you and your family this Christmas.
Life is about serving others through our mission, passion, and purpose
It’s easy to get caught up with the day to day activities and miss the bigger picture. I was recently sharing with friends that many of us spend more time planning our vacations than for the rest of our lives.
Many of us prepare to take on a new mission, or transition from our professional careers to a different role. Over 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day or 270,000 people per month. Can you imagine how much we could accomplish together if we all chose to use our unique gifts to make a better world?
Align the next stage of our lives with a greater mission and purpose
One of the gifts I got while working in hospice is a better understanding of what we regret when we enter our final days.
My work in hospice confirmed that given a choice between preparing for the future or living in the past, many people choose the later. To be fair, it’s hard to be certain how people might use their gifts in the final stages in life. Many people I’ve known struggled to explain how they felt about their impending death.
When dealing with younger people, many expressed regrets not for what they did, but for those opportunities left untried.
There’s nothing worse than going to the grave wondering what might have been. How will you choose to use your gifts and strengths? Is it for the greater good, in service to others? Do you have a longtime passion that you want to express?
A long time since you started down this path
Your life has had many ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. Your journey is unique and shared. I thought it might be helpful to remind you of your gifts as you prepare to take the next steps towards your brighter future.
Focus on the next stage of your life
These questions come from a fantastic book by Bill George, called Discover Your True North expanded and revised edition. These questions are on page 40. If you’re preparing for your retirement, this book helps you reconnect and reignite your passion for making a difference in the world.
Bill George and I both believe that the past provides clues for future possibilities. Bill’s books on Authentic Leadership have always been a part of what I provide my clients during their life transitions.
I call this part of my transition program Life Leaves Clues. Connecting your past successes to your future opportunities provides you incredible insight into not only who you really are, but why. If you discover your why, almost anything is possible. Each of these questions helps you find your gifts.
- Looking at patterns from your early life story, what people, events, and experiences have had the greatest impact on you and your life?
- In which experiences did you find the greatest inspiration and passion for your leadership?
- Do the failures or disappointments you experienced earlier in your life constrain you, even today, or have you been able to reframe them as learning experiences?
- Do you think you need to make any adjustments to your personal and leadership development as a result? If so, what are they?
The biggest gifts of these four questions is that when you’re done answering them, you have started creating the foundation for your future. Over the next several weeks we explore how you can use this information as you begin building your personal transition plan.
You might enjoy my first Christmas blog at Merry Christmas A Leadership Parable
Adapted from an earlier blog featured on Empowering Serving Leaders