The Birthday Edition

Some reflections as I turn one year older.

 

🥳 How I celebrated:

One of the benefits of getting older is knowing what you do and don’t like and making more choices around that knowledge. Historically, I did not like planning birthday parties. But this year, I decided it was time I figured out how to celebrate my birthday in a way that felt authentic to me. Here’s how I ended up designing the week for myself. I hope this gives you some inspiration for yours:

 

  • Self-Care: I took the day off of work and spent the day with me, myself, and I. This included spa treatments and a Wim Hof breathwork workshop to center myself.
  • Self-Development: I have been partnering in my free time with a storytelling coach on sharpening my authentic leadership brand and story. I purposefully scheduled a session with her on my day off to spend some time going inward and reflecting on my stories of this past year. Updates coming to the blog next year with some of that work – stay tuned!
  • Connection (Virtual): I sent a short survey to friends and family asking them to submit their favorite memories, advice, and reflections with me as my birthday gift this year. It was the best thing I’ve ever done, especially for friends whom I haven’t seen in years now because of the pandemic. I read through all their comments in the morning to start off my day and it filled my heart.
  • Connection (IRL): I spent an evening over the weekend with a group of friends in Amsterdam, my home for 2 years now, and was incredibly grateful for the friendships I have been able to make here.

 

🤔 Top Three Lessons Learned This Past Year

 

(1) Memento Mori

We all die. After grieving the loss of both of my grandmothers during COVID and having an eye-opening zoom call with a monk in Thailand, I decided to live my life fully and give more wholeheartedly to the people around me. None of us are guaranteed another day of life, and therefore each day is a gift that we can choose to use for positive good.

 

(2) The World Needs Better Leaders: 

I recently read this piece about how there is a real gap in leadership in the last 3 decades that desperately needs to be filled. With the pandemic and some of the crucible moments we’ve experienced this past year, he points out that there was an opening for us to evolve rather than regress. To create a vision for a better future, rather than exacerbate the very conditions that produced the moment. He argues that most leaders have missed the opportunity to truly bring people together against a shared vision for change that people believe in. The reality is, the world doesn’t need more successful, rich, and “smart” people. The world needs and deserves better leaders. And the corporate world is definitely not an exception.

 

Here’s a quote from that piece that captures the lesson for all of us beautifully. And I commend you for joining me in trying to be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

“Stop playing it safe. Stop trying to meet everyone’s needs. Stop walking on eggshells. Stop apologizing. Instead, dream big. Take a stand for a bold future and enroll others in a vision that is both crazy and achievable. One that inspires people to bring their best each and every day. One that will bring the very best from you. Not everyone will like it. Some will even try to sabotage it. It doesn’t matter. You have been given the privilege and responsibility to lead. So lead. Now.”

 

(3) The Workplace Needs More Joy and Kindness: 

Spreading joy and kindness is a mantra I’d love to see more leaders adopt. I think it would radically change corporate cultures, team dynamics, and employee retention. For this to really work at scale though, companies will need to evaluate their success metrics and tamper their growth to create space for human values. If they are only optimizing for excessive shareholder value growth, productivity will trump kindness and stress will trump joy. I am still optimistic about what the future workplace can become, especially as sustainability and accountability come more into the forefront. I am excited about shaping this future workplace with leaders like you. And I am committed to spreading more joy and kindness to those around me in the workplace. I hope you are too.

 

💆🏻‍♀️  My Self-Care checklist score this week: 70%.

 

Be Well,

Nancy

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