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Choose to stay awkward, brave and kind in 2021

I've thought long and hard about what my first post of this year would be about. We’re only into our second full week and already so much as happened. This article has gone through several drafts because every day comes with it a new exhausting challenge. The news doesn't paint a great picture and we find ourselves in a constant state of panic or threat.

But...we do have the ability to make choices. We are strong and resilient beings. We're still here. Still reading LinkedIn articles. Still trying to make the best of a pants situation.

We get to decide how much power we give the negative forces bombarding our lives.

With that in mind, and inspired by the amazing Brené Brown, I'd like to share 3 things with you as we muddle our way through 2021…

1. This year choose courage over comfort; make leaning into vulnerability your new thing for 2021.

Expand on your perspective. Have the hard conversations you'd rather avoid. Put yourself out there, create spaces that encourage experience sharing. Learn from others, really listen to what they’re telling you, and listen to yourself too. How are you actually feeling?

Pay attention.

Don’t take the easy route. I know it’s our default, but you have to fight it. Put in the work and get to know yourself. And get to know others. There are people who need you to keep talking about the uncomfortable stuff. Progress has to be made. You've seen the chaos we're living in. We need to triumph in our social injustice work and make things better. Progress cannot stop.

I repeat; it cannot stop.

You need to show up and take action, become responsible and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Stay open to being wrong but listening and learning to get it right.

2. Be brave and try something new.

Seek out new challenges and opportunities. It’s nice to stay in the place where you know you’re doing well, it’s a good feeling to feel good about what you’re doing, to feel confident in predicting the outcomes of the decisions you make and the actions you take. Trying something new can be scary and that’s why it's brave. It can be big or small. For me, I’m promising myself to write more, and to start doing the things that I normally talk myself out of.

There’s a great quote by Brené Brown that I’ve now pinned to my cork board above my desk…

“Self-doubt undermines the process of finding our gifts and sharing them with the world.”

Now I don’t know what my ‘gifts’ are but my self-doubt can go take a hike. I’m done listening to it. I’m going to do more of what makes me happy and open myself up to trying new things. And for crying out loud, I'm gonna' have more fun.

It’s won’t be easy. Making commitments, stepping into the unknown, taking a leap of faith, trying something new – it’s hard, but that’s what makes it great. That's where that deep sense of accomplishment, achievement and pride comes from. Because you've earned it.

3. You know the drill, kindness starts with you. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others. Neglecting yourself isn’t heroic, it puts you on the path to burning out and then you’re no help to anyone.

So be kind. Be kind to yourself. Try some new routines, put better boundaries in place. Practice saying no in the mirror. I know this sounds like counter-productive advice, but if you’re anything like me, you say yes to everything and everyone – because the alternative is the belief that if you say no, you’re not being good enough. Not a good enough friend, colleague, employee, partner, child, parent…

But that’s the thing. You can’t be everything to everyone.

You. Are. Not. Perfect.

No one is. But you are pretty awesome.

It’s OK to readjust your thinking on what good enough means. I recently had a lightbulb moment of this myself. I’m learning to be OK with being 80% good enough. I think that’s reasonable, right?

Readying yourself to cope with the immense challenges that life throws at you, you need to have built up enough nourishment and have enough self-care stored up in your reserve ready to activate when these testing situations come along. Being resilient doesn’t mean you have to stop helping others, or stop caring. Far from it. But what it does mean is that you practice looking after yourself every single day.

By practicing patience, self-respect and self-kindness, you're giving yourself permission to feel OK. Maybe even good, maybe even great.

Here's hoping.

Wishing you a healthy, resilient and courageous year ahead.

Amy.

Amy Priest
Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Manager | Public Speaker for Mental Health and Inclusion
This Can Happen Ambassador

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