I feel like I am trying to build a vision for 2023 while standing on the undulating floor of a bouncy house…anyone else?
Usually, I love everything about the new year—it’s like the human version of turning things off and on and getting a nice, hard re-set. January is a fresh start on a year full of possibilities with that new year smell of hopeful optimism.
But for one of the first times in my life, I am on the struggle bus with the whole ‘vision’ thing for this year.
And, as a new executive coach, know that vision is kinda my business. Helping people and organizations get clear about what they want is my jam. I encourage and support some fantastic people as they explore what they are actually capable of. It’s awesome and sacred work to me. I’ve even spent the past few months working with experienced coaches in my firm to get clear on my own specific vision for 2023.
But here I am at the end of the first week of the new year with nary a goal written in my shiny new bullet journal.
It’s not from a lack of wanting a clear vision (that’s a whole ‘nother thing). I just feel like my ‘want’ is low in general.
I’ve tried various approaches to get around my dull energy and to try and get excited about what I want to be up to in 2023. First, of course, the classic of beating myself up about it. It looks something like: I need to have a vision! I need to get clear on what I am aiming for this year! If I don’t get this figured out, how can I possibly know what steps to take? How will I know what to do?
Second, the guilt trip: am I just going to wander around wasting my life this year? Is that what I do now? NOTHING WITH MY LIFE??
Third, I managed to pull back a bit and get curious about WHY I was struggling to see or articulate something that was worth wanting in and for my life.
As you might imagine, this was a helpful step. And, as it turns out, a compassionate one that was a lot less of grabbing myself by the scruff of the neck and giving me a shake and a lot more of a kind acknowledgment of coming off a tumultuous year.
How was your 2022? As the ‘COVID rebound year’, it didn’t pan out that way for a lot of folks, me included. Life did not return to normal and there were a lot of regular life transitions that would make it a banner year for a normal non-post COVID time.
This past year was unsettled for me and our family, to say the least. We began the year with our middle kid moving out on her own for the first time while our remaining family of three anticipated a temporary international move to Asia in the first weeks of the new year. And, thanks to the ever-shifting COVID world, a timeline that was delayed again and again. In addition, I started a brand-new career after being a stay-at-home/stage mom for the past 20 years, our youngest started at two new schools, and our oldest had a series of difficult life events (heartbreak? job loss? car accident? check, check, check). Our family was apart for months and we weren’t in permanent housing until the day before Christmas.
So, yeah…. stepping into the new year was a bit like trying to leap from the squishy floor of a bouncy house where you can’t quite get purchase to launch from.
The new year feels a little overwhelming because the old one took everything I had and then some. There was a ton of change and growth and transition and me trying to create some sense of stability while our world shifted like a wild and unexpected circus act.
If that’s you, too, let’s take a moment to collect ourselves. Maybe your year was marked by a life-altering hardship, the passing of a loved one or a disappointment that has shaken you to your core.
Here’s what I think will help us both: let’s catch our breath, shall we? Especially if the shock and awe of 2022 ran until the end of the year, we’re gonna need a minute to clutch a cup of coffee and stare out the window a bit. To gather ourselves. To have a series of days (maybe even weeks) where we are not managing the next major life event, child in crisis/transition or one of seven moves for the year.
Perhaps the focus for the beginning of the new year is to let the bouncy house deflate until you feel the solid ground beneath your feet again. That might look like reflection, rest, counseling, or therapy.
You do not have to be productive this year (or any year) to earn your keep in this world. You are allowed to be a human who needs a moment (or two or three) to get sorted. Journal to reflect and figure out what you are thinking, take in art that moves your soul, treat your body kindly with movement and nourishment. Seek joy. Laugh.
Restore your energy and that will restore your vision.
I’ve found the switch for the bouncy house so I’m gonna go turn that off and stare out the window for a bit while it deflates. I might pat my bullet journal as I pass it on my way to the coffee machine. I’ll be back to it before too long, I’m sure.
What would help you get your feet under you to prepare for a year you are excited for? What’s possible for you in the new year (even if your ‘new year’ starts in July)? I’d love to cheer you on in the comments below. 🧡