Another brand new year is upon us causing many of us to evaluate the last 365 days and ponder our goals and dreams for the ones ahead. Now that I am older I have moved away from resolutions in the form of goals related to numbers, bad habits or personal weaknesses. I am not saying that I won’t address ingrained patterns that aren’t helpful, but rather I will focus mainly acquiring insight and reflection in order to better myself as a person. As some years present different situations and challenges my “resolutions” are usually associated with what is currently going on in my life and what I hope to achieve or overcome. A few months ago I accepted an amazing opportunity which also came with big sacrifices and responsibilities. The theme for 2016 for me will be trying to build and sustain relationships during a time where I may need to make unpopular decisions in order to create better outcomes for the people I am responsible for. I also want to ensure I can keep some sort of work-life balance. Achieving this is going to involve a lot of insight, awareness, patience and energy.
This time in my career is a very exciting and challenging one as I am now in a leadership role as a Director. It comes with heavy responsibilities as my decisions can greatly impact many people. Ultimately the agency I work for has the potential to create healthier families and communities. It is not a 9 to 5 job by any means and can at times keep me up at night prioritizing and setting goals that seem to be never ending. I am aware that my job not only can completely take over my life but my “people-are-counting-on-me” mindset also has the potential to disrupt any sort of work-life balance. I am not talking about an all-work-no-play scenario but one where my relationships can significantly suffer if I don’t keep them at the forefront. Therefore my “resolution” is to strive for a balance between my strong sense of duty and my relationships. This not only applies to my family and friends but also to my work team and stakeholders.
Throughout my career I have witnessed other leaders with competitive natures who rashly make decisions without taking in considerations other people’s ideas or needs. This actually works against anything being successful as relationships play a major role in projects being successful. Having a slightly competitive edge, I need to remind myself that a good leader is about influencing and involving others and not overpowering them. Growth, expansion and developing common goals is about teamwork and partnerships. However, being in the leadership position I am in, there is always going to be a conflict between putting the agency first (and the needs of the communities) and the needs of individual people (or stakeholders). Essentially duty and responsibility will be in constant conflict with maintaining relationships. The challenge I put before myself is to build and strengthen relationships so they won’t crack under pressure or when the going gets rough. As for my family and home life I am fortunate that there is already a strong healthy foundation. However this does not mean I can take it for granted. In order to ensure my personal relationships remain intact I need to continually nurture and support them. I need to be present when I am with the people I love and not making to-do lists in my head or phone my husband every day when I am away from home.
This year is going to present a unique challenge and push me to dig deep, question my ego, be flexible (but not a pushover) and understand that I can’t overextend myself to save relationships or meet deadlines. This year will be a time of great learning and reflection which, whatever the outcome, will still be valuable in terms of moving towards self-actualization. I am very excited about the next 12 months as life is about the journeys and not destinations. This year will be a great one.