We’re Back…Now What!?

Well, we made it! Here we are, 2021. Mathematically, it makes sense, and yet it’s still a little strange to say.

So, is everything all different all of a sudden? No? Me neither. A lot of the things on January 1st were likely quite similar to those one day earlier. But we can create opportunities anytime we want. And the top of the year is as good a time as any.

An opportunity to set the tone for the year.

Whether you love golf, hate golf, have never played, or even care to play, there’s a moment every golfer experiences immediately before taking a swing. And there are a lot of potential things to think about to “get right.” It can be overwhelming. But if you allow just one or two thoughts to crystallize, it helps to ensure you’ll achieve the result you want.

Consider this a potential suggestion for orienting your swing into the new year.

And the first thing we’ve got to do is clean up some messaging that’s been floating around in the world. We need to make a very important distinction.

Perhaps you’ve already heard it — on social media or in New Years emails from the people, entities and brands you follow. If not there’s a good chance you will. There’s talk of lowering our expectations. Suggestions that we shrink the results in our resolutions.

And I get it. After all, look at the year we just had. Don’t we need a break? Don’t we need to be realistic? Well, remember we’re actually still up against those same challenges. The calendar changed but in a way, we’re still in the year. And taking a break may not be what we need.

We may need rest and self care. Some extra support. But that’s not the same as lowering our expectations. In fact consider that it’s not about lowering our ceiling at all — but rather about raising our floor.

What’s going on here is what often does — setting up resolutions as “hard work” and a way to fix oneself. Facing the things we think are wrong and adjusting them based on arbitrary standards.

And realistic? I’m not quite sure what that means. In my experience that’s just another way of preparing for limitation.

So what am I saying? We should just ignore the circumstances and start this year like any other? No, of course not.

But I want to suggest an idea. Something you’ve seen in many contexts before. Something that I believe will give you an edge as you pursue whatever comes next for you this year.

I want you to allow for life and business to unfold.

Now I don’t have a ton of time to unpack this right now but I want the message to land.

This is not about stopping. This is about being intentional and choosing our moment.

Picture any play off game or championship sporting event. The stakes are high. There’s a lot happening on the ice, field or court. Even though the pressure is on, the highest skilled athletes don’t force the play.

They’re patient. But they are not stuck or stopped — they are actively waiting. Paying attention. Ready for the target to get to its spot, the player to get open, the space to develop to get through to the hoop or goal.

The chef waits actively and watches for the time when the dough is risen and ready or the steak reaches its perfect temperature.

It’s great to be proactive and to lean in. I talk about it a lot. But we also need to allow the space for life to conspire and partner with us.

For all you romantics out there, think of the first kiss in any new relationship. Whomever is the initiator, I hope you go most of the way but hesitate and create that tension filled space. You know, the one that allows for partnership and for the other person to choose in as well and join you.

We don’t need to force anything just because it’s January. But we certainly don’t have to lower the bar.

Choose your spots. That’s the real angle on working smarter not harder right now.

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