FIVE INTENTIONS FOR 2020
It’s almost a new year. Time for celebrating the year that’s past and setting intentions for the year ahead. I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions – at least not those that involved giving things up. Given the statistics on how many people actually stick to their resolutions, setting myself up to fail never struck me as a great way to start a new year. Instead, I have always made resolutions proactively to do or achieve things, to visit places I’ve never been, study new subjects or languages…
This year as I contemplate the coming year – and a new decade – I have set five intentions for the way I want to run Actually in 2020 – for who I need to BE and how I want to show up in the world as my business grows. I am sharing them here so that you can all hold me accountable and also, I hope, to inspire you to set positive intentions of your own.
Here’s to an amazing new year!
In 2020, I will BE…
…EVEN MORE COLLABORATIVE
One of Actually’s guiding principles is community. This means more to me than simply the gathering of a tribe. It means acting in community with others. It means prioritising collaboration over competition. It means regarding every person operating in the same sector as a potential partner rather than a competitor. That isn’t always easy. Our prevailing paradigm is focussed on competition. It is, we are told, the basis for the proper functioning of the marketplace. It allegedly guarantees the best outcomes for customers and companies.
Here’s the thing. I just don’t buy it. Our focus on competition has created a world in which so many of us can only think in terms of winners and losers; where all possible outcomes are reduced to this binary choice. I saw a great TedX talk this year in which Alex Smith explored this issue and why the focus on competition is bad for businesses and for our clients.
In 2020, I plan to keep collaboration at the forefront of my mind. Every time I review my marketplace I will be looking for people to partner with. When I consider my offer and services, I will be trying to find the ‘white space’ that I can occupy that offers the opportunity for cross-promotion and collaboration with others.
My first collaboration of the year is with the awesome Kate Wolf – in our wonderful co-creation: the Actually Magic Mastermind. If you want 2020 to be your year of wild success in both your business and your personal life, then this is the Mastermind for you.
I started out as an optimist. But, you know, sh*t happens and knocked that optimism out of me. I saw the best in people who then abused me. I believed that a risk was worth taking and was proved wrong. I kept getting back up and trying again and being defeated. Gradually, I began to regard cynicism, scepticism as the most sensible choice. Until a few years ago I realised that I had allowed myself to get to a point where I refused to hope. For anything. Let me tell you, that is not a great place to be.
It’s taken a while but I have regained my natural optimism by making conscious choices every day. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to believe in the possibility of change. I choose to believe that however bad things may get, we can find a way through and out the other side. Because we can. Because I refuse to cower any more.
It isn’t always easy. I have to concentrate. And sometimes I get it wrong and slip back into old patterns. But I refuse to give up on optimism because I believe that optimism wins.
…PREPARED TO TAKE MORE RISKS!
In the agency that I co-founded in 2010, I am known as the ‘sensible’ partner. I am the one who reigns things in, assesses the risks and is more likely to say ‘no’. That was partly due to the diminishment of my optimism – if you cannot hope for a positive outcome then no risk is worth taking – but it was also a search for equilibrium. My business partner is at the far end of the risk-taking spectrum. He never met a risk he didn’t think was probably worth it and is instinctively pre-disposed to look only at the ‘pros’ on any list of pros and cons! My natural inclination to seek balance required me to take up a position at the other end of that spectrum, to provide a counterpoint and remind us of the potential ‘cons’.
But that is not how I roll. I look back over my life and I see many, many examples of me taking big risks because I believed that if they paid off, it would be worth it. Most of the time they did and it was. Sometimes they didn’t, and I survived. I want to reconnect with that person. So in 2020 I plan to be more open to risk, more prepared to invest, more determined to jump in and see what happens.
…MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The whole premise of Actually is to help you to make a difference in the world. I want everyone to know that they can change the world – by making a difference. It could be within their own family and social circle; it could be in the wider community, across the country or around the world – whatever the context, we can all have an impact.
Following the General Election, I’ve seen a resurgence of what I call the ‘hopeless and helpless’ mindset. And there were a few days after the result where I felt that too. But I want us all to look back in 12 months’ time and see this election as the catalyst for greater engagement in politics. I want us to start going beyond simply turning up every five years and putting our cross on a ballot paper. I want to see people holding their MPs to account and insisting on proper representation.
Time to stop talking about it and start doing it – so in 2020 I’ll be running some workshops on how you can get more involved, feel more empowered and make a difference. Watch this space for more info.
I am grateful to my wonderful friend and Actually Partner, Karen Skidmore, for reminding me of the importance of celebrating every win. As she says: she says:
“Your celebration may only be a few minutes as you toast your success with friends or family with a glass of fizz or a chink of a china teacup. It may be material as you decide to treat yourself to a new purchase; a new pair of shoes or a fancy haircut. It may also be the gift of time; as a visit to your favourite art gallery or walk across the hills with the wind blowing through your hair…This moment to truly connect with what you’ve achieved is precious.”
I’m planning to celebrate my successes regularly in 2020 – and I’m planning to have lots of successes to celebrate!
I wish you every success in 2020. May you have opportunities galore for collaboration; cause for great optimism; a series of wonderful risks worth taking. May you continue to make a difference to the people around you and to the world at large. Above all, may you enjoy a multitude of reasons to celebrate!
And, as you contemplate your year ahead, as you consider your goals and all the things you want to achieve, don’t forget to ask yourself: ‘Who do I need to BE to make the difference I want to make in the world?’
Here’s to a new year and a new decade.
Here’s to ACTUALLY making a difference in 2020!
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