The heady, hot months of December and January connote the proverbial silly season. It’s a mad-rush time with too many year-end functions, bubbly-induced headaches, paying and receiving bonuses, last-minute Christmas shopping, family politics (your sister and the chicken versus lamb debate again?) and general mayhem. And in between all of this, we’re supposed to spend quality time with our loved ones and de-stress from the day-to-day challenges we face as working professionals.
The beach beckons. So you pack the car/caravan/SUV or catch an Uber to the airport. And off you go.
There you are at last, lying on a brightly coloured towel, trying to ignore those extra winter or Christmas kilograms and attempting to read the novel that’s been on the dresser for the past five months. Down by the water, the kids are building sandcastles. Your partner is rubbing sun tan lotion onto their upper arms.
Breathe. You’re supposed to be having fun.
But instead, what do we do? Do we switch off and smell that fresh sea air, smacking of salt and optimism? Do we enter a Zen-like state of calm as we watch the seagulls dive over the water? Sometimes. But we also start to reflect. Then to ruminate. And all too often, to obsess.
Because another year is about to start and well, we want to do things differently. Better.
If that mental inventory and stocktaking process is inevitable, make it work for you. Make it a positive experience. Don’t let it get you down and disheartened.
Here’s how, by sticking with the beach metaphor, Lemonade Hub’s team believes that bit of much-needed lazing can help you improve your professional life in 2018 and beyond:
1. Fill your bucket
Like a kid playing happily and filling their plastic pail with spadefuls of sand, try to fill your mind with all the successes of the past year. Think constructively. You want to build a sandcastle with good foundations, right? So, what went well at work? And why did it go well? Hold onto that good feeling and let it settle. You know how to build a great sandcastle.
2. Fill your bucket again
We also have to consider what went wrong. So fill your mind’s bucket with a quick overview of the year’s professional challenges. (Let’s hope the list isn’t too long.) The fact is that sometimes when you turn over that bucket to create the perfect sandcastle, the result plops out and just disintegrates before your eyes. That’s life. But again, watch your children at play in the sand. Yes, they may get upset by a wobbly effort, but then they simply learn the lesson and keep going. So, take the time to identify what can improve, and how. Building a business is very much like building sandcastles, after all. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.
3. Take a swim
You’re at the beach. Have a dip. Want an analogy? Take your opportunities when they present themselves. Next year, when you have the chance to connect with a big potential client, pitch a deal, go for a promotion or whatever may come your way, seize your chance. Yes, cautious is sensible. So just get your toes wet, if you have a cautious nature. Then take it from there.
4. Swim a little deeper than usual
Right, we’ve got you swimming! Now venture in a little farther. If you are submerged from your big toe to your pinky toe, get into your ankles, and so on. We don’t want you swimming with the sharks (and yes, there are plenty of those around, in the ocean as well as the cutthroat type in the world of work). But we do need you to extend yourself a little. Just try it. Innovation requires doing things a little differently.
5. Appreciate the moment
You’re on the beach. Smell the fresh sea air. Watch the seagulls dive over the water. Breathe. Next year is next year. You’ve reflected. You’ve made some decisions. Now let it go and be in the moment. Go on. Have some fun. Make it a holiday. You’ve earned it.