Happy New Year-ish?
As the dust settles on the transition from 2021 to 2022, I’m finding many folks struggling with the standard “happy new year” greeting. Some leaders are tired, others are overwhelmed, and many are eager to get going but unsure where to start. The to-do list is that long.
Whether you’re feeling whole-hearted about the New Year, over it, or somewhere in between, may today’s newsletter spark hope.
Turns out—the promise of new beginnings is powerful.
A 2014 study from researchers at Wharton called it “the fresh start effect.” When the passage of time is clearly demarcated by “temporal landmarks,” the mind creates new “mental accounting periods” that “relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.”
In other words, the slate is wiped clean.
While there’s nothing inherently “magical” about the new year, it serves as a temporal landmark. I love the brain’s extraordinary capacity to create new narratives. Charles Duhigg, a former Times reporter and the author of “The Power of Habit” celebrates this cranial transformation, as well. In 2018, he said:
“What is magical is our mind’s capacity to create new narratives for ourselves, and to look for events as an opportunity to change the narrative.”
Rewriting the narrative
When considered with the insights from Daniel Pink’s book,” When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” each day, week, month, quarter, season, or special day can be just such a temporal moment. No matter the circumstance, we each have the opportunity to change the narrative.
If you’re thrilled by the notion of this opportunity, then perhaps your next question is how—and, more specifically, how do I facilitate temporal moments not only for myself but for my team, as well.
You all know my bias toward the power of facilitation. So, I’ve put together a worksheet to guide you—and which you can use to facilitate your team—through a reflection process to spark new insights for the year ahead. This approach is based on the work of Otto Scharmer at the Presencing Institute. You can use it anytime for any topic, and now is the perfect time to take a step back, give yourself a little room to breathe, slow down, and tap your internal wisdom to guide you forward into 2022.
In fact, yesterday was the perfect time. So is today. And tomorrow will be, too. Anytime is the perfect time to begin a new narrative.
Ignite new insights for the year ahead
Block out two hours. Turn off your notifications and silence your cell phones. Get a nice cup of tea and ENGAGE!
Set your attention to lead with intention this year, friends, and Happy New Year!