If you’re putting pressure on yourself or others to complete as many work tasks as possible before the Christmas break, Thrive’s DIANA CHEPKOSGEI has an alternative message for you…
Much to the surprise of myself and those around me, 2022 is almost done. It seems to have caught us off guard this year. More so than normal. “Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?” we say, shaking our heads in bewilderment.
But it is nearly Christmas. And so we do what we often do at this time of year. We start to take stock, reflect on what’s been and gone, and consider the feelings that come up, from gratitude to grief.
Organisations do the same. Leaders look at what the spreadsheets tell them about the year. And staff come together for an end-of-year party with eating, drinking, and maybe even an ‘employee of the year’ award.
But there is another trend that happens around now. In the frenzy of December, I’ve started to notice more and more encouragement and advice on how to ‘finish strong’.
Google the term and you will find ’9 Ways To Finish The Year Strong’ or the ‘Finish Strong Checklist’. You’ll be told ‘The beginning doesn’t matter, the end is what matters’. Or ‘You didn’t come this far to only come this far’. Or ‘It’s never too late to learn how to manage your procrastination’.
It’s natural to want to end the year on a high note. To break new ground. To stop a bad habit. To reach some goals. And a bit of encouragement and guidance on how to do that is not a bad thing.
But even though a ‘strong finish’ is an admirable aim, this message can add pressure where pressure isn’t needed. If you feel like you haven’t done enough this year, it can make you feel inadequate, exhausted, overwhelmed, and invalidated. Or it can lead you to compare yourself unfavourably to others.
And I think there is good reason not to heap pressure on ourselves or others at the moment.
Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced change and unpredictability lately. We’re still recovering from a pandemic. The war continues between Russia and Ukraine. A rise in the cost of living is being felt around the world. The threat of climate change seems to grow.
So what if rather than finishing strong, we consider the idea of ‘finishing gently’ instead?
What does this mean?
Firstly, it means taking a moment on your own to slow down, breathe, and tell yourself, “I’m proud of you, you did just fine.”
It means recognising the growth and progress you made, even in the mundane things. it means thinking what you are grateful for. It means acknowledging your losses and giving yourself permission to grieve as you seek to find meaning. And it means finding courage to sit with your emotions and pick up the pieces to recreate a new version of yourself.
And then as an organisation, it means acknowledging the great contributions your team made this year. Maybe you got that funding. Maybe you increased your customer base in the middle of inflation. Maybe you did just fine as a leader. Or maybe even if contracts were not won, you still had your team, and that means more opportunities to keep writing those proposals, to keep believing, and to keep trying. The most important thing is to keep trying!
Crucially, it also means having boundaries and being willing to say ‘no’ to a new task – and expecting the same of others. Will it really matter if those tasks wait til the new year?
So breathe. Inhale. Exhale. You did well. And 2023 is another opportunity to try, learn, unlearn and connect. So why not ask yourself now what a gentle finish might mean for you?
If you or your team is under pressure at the moment you might like to explore a Resilience Check-In with us. And if you’re a leader or HR manager, and want to think about new ways to look after your team, explore Leadership Coaching with us.