2024 is on the horizon. And for different reasons, I don't want to let go of 2023. It has been a year of excitement, challenges, loss, and change. I started the year by spending a quiet NYE with my husband, went to Puerto Rico for an amazing conference, and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the first cohort for the Hello 7 Business Coaching Certification program. I had two new, long-term clients and became more involved with my local chamber of commerce. Unfortunately, this year also brought on health issues for my husband and led me to be a caretaker while studying and working. This was a challenge I never thought I would have to take on.
And then, I lost my husband in October, and dealing with grief and loss while trying to keep life going and finish this certification program nearly broke me. I'm blessed to have a supportive family and circle of friends, so I was never alone, though I feel more alone than ever. But 2024 will come at midnight, no matter how I feel.
My story is much like so many women around the world. We take care of our families and communities; we spend many hours stretching our energies to work, attend to others, and try to find time for ourselves. Many of us are the breadwinners in our families or handle the finances, medical issues, teacher conferences, and more. And through it all, even if it takes us to the scary edge of life or takes more than we think we can give, we persevere.
We are resilient.
Every year, I choose a focus word. In the past, this word has included Accountability, Gratitude, Intention, and Grace. I usually put this word in the front of my new year planner, on a piece of paper taped to my workspace, and sometimes even keep a notepaper in my wallet so I always remember what I have chosen to guide me for the year.
This year, my focus word is RESILIENT. I chose this because my life has changed significantly in the last couple of months, and I must be resilient to move forward with my life.
The Power of Resilience:
To be resilient means that one is able to withstand or recover quickly from even the most difficult situations. It doesn't mean that everything is automatically fixed or better. It means that we go on; we find the strength to make it to the next day or the next.
I want to focus on women's resilience. Think back to the women in your family, in history, in your community who have been challenged by life in some way and yet were still able to push through because that was the only choice. I think of my grandmother, who raised eight children, one with a physical disability that left her bedridden, widowed twice, and worked midnights at the greasy diner outside of the steel mills for years. Her resilience to continue to care for her family and pass down the life lessons and love we all needed was the greatest gift. And when times are hard for me, I think of her and my own mother and the many amazing women I've seen challenged beyond what I could imagine.
Now, as an entrepreneur, I am facing challenges I never imagined. I'm learning lessons and skills and gaining knowledge I hadn't had to tap into before in order to be successful. Many women entrepreneurs are running businesses while also caring for children, partners, parents, and friends. They manage households and clients, promoting themselves and uplifting others, handling hardship while trying to help others succeed. We are professional multitaskers! This is resilience.
Why choose a word at all?
Choosing a focus word for the year provides a center point for all you do for the year. I am choosing resilience to remind me that I can experience joy and happiness while also managing grief. I can succeed in my business and manage a life as a left-behind partner. I can remember to care for myself even when I find it challenging.
And so, this year, when things feel tough, I will focus on this word to remind me to push through, to believe in myself, and that I am strong enough to overcome. And when my clients need it, I will remind them that they can push through, believe in themselves and that they are also strong.
I encourage you to choose a word that holds meaning for you this year. Here are some examples of how different words can work as a focus word.
Accountability - Improve communication with the team. Follow through on deadlines or to-do lists. Be honest in what you can and cannot do when asked for a favor.
Grace - Forgive yourself for mistakes and learn from them. Take a beat before passing judgment. Understand when someone needs a little extra time or caring. Accept that others make mistakes and they are opportunitis for learning.
Innovation - Search for an out-of-the-box solution. Try new recipes. Learn a new skill. Create a new family tradition!
Whichever word you choose, connect it with your own personal growth and your personal and business life. Let this word guide you to positive solutions or actions. Doing this can have a positive influence on your family, community, and business.
Also, take time each quarter to reflect on how this word works for you. Have you been able to use it and apply it to your work and activities?
Share your word with others! You might inspire others with your word to choose their own word. No one should have to wait till January 1 to choose a word. This can be done anytime. Write it down. Define it. Draw it out. Anything that helps you remember what that word is for you.
Me? I will remain resilient in this new stage of life. I will embrace change and opportunity and remember to self-care.
I hope the new year brings you happiness, peace, opportunity, and joy.