What did l learn this year?

February 10, 2022by Carina furlong0

As the year closes out l always complete an exercise, kind of like a review of the year as l experienced it.

This time l want to share it.

I always use the phrase: ‘you think it, you ink it– offers the power of legitimacy’. It enables me to be more accountable for my growth as a human being.

Let’s get started on another favourite phrase.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” Soren Kierkegard.

The above phrase has always resonated with me and it is with this in mind that l like to intentionally map out and plan for the future ahead.

I like to work with simple strategies and an approach that has consistently worked for me focuses on 3 key areas:

Reflect – Learn – Grow

Let’s start with Reflection. I always gravitate towards looking at the evidence so l usually start with the data.

 During 2021 this is what the data tells me in terms of how l invested my time:

  • 22 Group Sessions supporting Working Parents Programmes: 150 participants+
  • Working Parents 1-1 coaching: 21 hours
  •  Female Leadership Programmes: 6 months, 70 participants
  •  Executive 1-1 Coaching Contracts: 55 hours
  • Volunteering work: Co-President PWN Global, a global not for profit focusing on accelerating gender balanced leadership in Business and Society: 240 hours
  • Events, Roundtables, Fireside chats: Delivered, spoke, moderated and attended multiple events globally: 42 hours
  • Collaborations: IWD2021 #choosetochallenge campaign delivered over 7 days
  • Completed INSEAD Gender Diversity Programme: 35 hours
  • Trained and received accreditation in EIP3 Emotional Intelligent Assessment Profile: 25 hours
  • Various CIPD Work: 20 hours

Learning for me is a process that leads to change.

What did l learn about myself?

This one was a hard one to arrive at. My voluntary work consumed me as it is so important to me. I lost sight of boundaries and thought that if I worked harder I could fix some of the challenges, but I became far too operational in my leadership role, depleting my energies, focus and perspective. I was a ‘doing being’ instead of a ‘human being’. It was a tough revelation as I support a lot of my own clients in this area, around wellbeing boundaries, relationship boundaries etc. I needed to really practice what I preach here. Reached a point where I had to step back, take stock and be accountable to myself. Truly felt like running without shoes.

Some nuggets I landed on:

  • Asking for help builds trust.
  • Until you say no you are not prioritizing what you are saying yes to.
  • Fostering human connection is key.
  • Self care can sometimes need a good dollop of courage.
  • Value of reaching out to people who I have not connected with in years!
  • Consistency is key.
  • The importance of cross cultural intelligence.
  • Travelling with work is not all I had it cracked up to be.
  • The power of a curious mindset.
  • Slowing down to speed up.

What l learned about the world of work:

  • Everything is negotiable.
  • People are hurting, talent is burning out and/or simply opting out.
  • A ‘hangover’ of continuous uncertainty is impacting on people’s career progression and aspirations.
  • Clear action is needed to support the female talent pipeline.
  • Organisations need to support working parents to thrive sustainably.
  • Support communities internally in work are having impact.
  • Organisations enabling an inclusive culture are attracting and retaining talent.

After reflecting, taking your nuggets and owning them, you land on the last pillar of ‘growth’.

There is so much I now know that I did not know last January. How I want to use this new found knowledge is where the magic happens.

Now I am in a place where I can define how I want to show up in 2022 and what projects I want to attract, surround myself and engage with. More on that to follow – watch this space. I feel far more comfortable than ever before in running without shoes.

I would encourage everyone to corner some time in December to reflect, learn and look at 2022 in terms of how you want to grow. Grow yourself both personally and professionally. We are all a bucket full of potential waiting to be poured.

I will end this with a quote from my favorite witch.

You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself
Glinda, Good witch, Wizard of Oz

Carina furlong

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