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Goodbye 2020! (#20)

The Confident Leader

Our sentiment about 2020 couldn’t be stronger – good riddance 2020! Is there anything good to remember from this year?  Let’s find out. 

Learn from the past, but don’t live there. Build on what you know so that you don’t repeat mistakes.
— Harvey Mackay, American businessman, author and syndicated columnist

This Week’s Edition

SAYING GOOD-BYE: In business what’s the most effective way for a leader to say good-bye to a year that’s hardly worth remembering? 

Clarify Your Thinking

“Good-bye 2020,” said every leader who was awake over the past twelve months. As we yearn for a fresh start, how will you say good-bye to 2020? How will you think about what happened this year?

Well, you have options. You can just forget it. While that sounds good in theory, the sheer pain of what you endured may make forgetting it a practical impossibility. Alternatively, you can just dismiss the whole year, chalk it up as horrible or whatever description you deem fitting. The problem with this latter approach is that it subjects you to recency bias – a trick of our mind that gives greater importance to the most recent memory or event without regard to a true evaluation of the whole. Meaning, if the last memory you had of something was negative then you will remember the entirety of the experience as negative even if there were positive aspects.

As a final option, I encourage you (along with the other leaders I coach) to proactively determine how you want to remember 2020, versus just letting your mind default to its most recent experience or memory.

Your mind is powerful. You control your mind. You have a choice in every situation. Make a powerful choice: choose how you want to remember 2020.


post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

About ten years ago, I started an activity that has since become an annual tradition. In the last week of each year, I reflect on the previous twelve months. I call it the “Yellow Notecard Exercise,” for no other reason than when I originally started the effort I just reached for whatever was within reach – yellow notecards. 

Here’s how works:

Step 1: Get a stack of 12 yellow notecards

Step 2: Open your calendar to January of that year

Step 3: Begin cataloging the following for that month:

–       The activities you did

–       What you accomplished

–       Your financial track record

–       What went well and what didn’t

Step 4: Repeat the process for all 12 months

Step 5: Lay out all 12 notecards on a table

Step 6: Make note of any trends and patterns

Step 7: Determine what you want to KEEP, STOP and START doing

I have shared this exercise with many leaders, and every year they report that it gives them a better perspective about their leadership performance – a look at the year in its entirety, not merely a biased look at the recent quarter. 

While it may take an added measure of courage to reflect on each month of this momentous year, you can do it. You will be reminded of stories of bravery, perseverance and accomplishment. Surely, you will cherish the reminder of those feats as you begin the next six months of your leadership.

What’s Your Opinion?

Share with me your best approach to reflecting on the year and choosing how to say good-bye.

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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