December can often be a joyful and chaotic blur. Between 2023 planning, holiday parties, the stressors of the current economic climate, and the pressure to get “everything” done, we can often miss out on one critical activity.

Pausing to reflect and integrate the insights of the year. We set better goals and visions for the future when we account for all the past events. This can both be true at an organizational and team level but also at a personal level in our own leadership, presence, and impact. 

It takes wisdom and self-awareness to be able to discern the learnings from a situation. We can often oscillate between being overly hard on ourselves for decisions gone wrong or being unwilling to face the discomfort of our choices or an unexpected outcome. Yet, to create change in the future within ourselves and the people we lead, we have to often pause, look behind, understand the context and then make the right decisions to confirm we are walking in the right direction, at the right pace with the right gear in hand. 

Here are five reflection questions that you can explore for yourself as you wrap up the year

  1. What were some meaningful leadership moments of the year? What made them powerful for you?
  2. Where did you grow this past year? What enabled those growth areas for you?
  3. Where did you question the status quo and create change – in yourself, your team, and your community?
  4. Where did fear and your own voice of self-doubt hinder your growth? What helped you work through those voices?
  5. Who are you becoming as a leader in the world?

Another thing to pay attention to is the paradox that comes with being a human and a leader in the world. There can be space for both joy and grief to co-exist. You may have led a direct report to get promoted and then let go of another in the same quarter. You may have navigated some powerful wins for your organization and yet struggled to bring clarity to a strategic roadmap with all the uncertainty. Good leaders don’t have all the answers all the time. Sometimes, we make mistakes and our leadership power lies in how we course correct both in our strategy and the people we impact. 

Another reminder is to pay attention to any beliefs you carry around – “this is who I am, this is how I have done things” and give yourself permission to try on something new that aligns with your values and the leader you want to become. Honor the chapters of your life, something may have served you well in the past but perhaps also needs to give room to something new. 

I hope you create room for all parts of you to be seen by yourself as you close out the year. I hope these learnings inform your personal vision of how you show up as a leader in 2023.

Pic Credit: Patrick Schneider

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