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  • Mary Scifres

WHERE AND WITH WHOM IN THE NEW YEAR?


In 1975, Diana Ross sang: Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? 1 These questions inspired me last year as I focused my clergy coaching ministry and expanded into executive coaching with CEOs, business owners, and other senior-level leaders. Charting this new course required new ways of being and new companions. But first and foremost, it required knowing where I wanted to go. The best way to chart a journey that is fulfilling and life-giving is to decide where and what you want that journey to be and then determine who you want alongside you. To get clarity for your journey into 2023, here are some questions to explore:

  • Where are you now?

  • Where would you like to be?

  • What’s the gap between the two?

  • What next step might you take to get closer to your desired destination?

  • What additional action steps or goals might help you get there?

If reflecting on these questions feels overwhelming, try considering a second set of questions first.

  • What things can you subtract or let go of?

  • What things need to drop away to make room for new possibilities?

In his blog post, “Where Now and with Whom in 2022,” Executive Coach and colleague Kevin Buck of Emergent Success noted, “Remember your grade school learning that addition and subtraction are always complementary functions. Getting to where you want to go will involve both [adding and subtracting].” 2 It’s natural to think we can simply take on something new if it will help us get where we want to go. But more often than not, we end up overburdening ourselves and beating ourselves up when we just don’t have the time or the emotional bandwidth to add one more thing. Subtracting and letting go makes space for the new without creating burnout or the feeling of being overwhelmed. As you reflect on this second set of clarifying questions, trust your gut. Even if your mind says you can’t possibly let go of something, jot it down. There are always new paths forward yet to be discovered. Once you begin clarifying what you want or need to subtract, the math gets clearer for what and how to add. Once you have a sense of where you want to go, it’s good to think about the companions you want to bring with you on your journey, especially if you’re moving in a new direction or into a new season. In leadership training, one of my favorite topics is finding our Champions and Explorers. When we spend 80% of our time with people who are exploring the same questions we have, championing the same causes we value, and pursuing a shared purpose, every part of the journey gets easier. To figure out who your 2023 Champions and Explorers might be, consider these questions.

  • Who will support your dreams and aspirations?

  • Who will challenge you to stretch and grow?

  • Who do you want to support and challenge in the year ahead?

  • Who do you want to learn with?

  • Who brings you joy and fulfillment and receives the same from you?

  • Who helps you see more clearly or focus more decisively?

Don’t forget that Buck’s reminder of subtraction and addition being complementary functions applies to people as well as activities. When you spend less time with people who are holding you back, you free up time to spend with people who will encourage you to move forward. When making time and space for relationships that are life-giving and growth-filled, consider these questions.

  • Who do you want to spend more time with?

  • Who is dragging you down or holding you back?

  • How might you let go of people who don’t support you?

  • Who can help you set boundaries to spend less time with the unsupportive people?

  • How might you arrange your calendar for more time with your Champions and Explorers?

Let 2023 be the year you move forward in new and life-giving ways. May 2023 be the year you fully commit to the personal and leadership transformation that will take you where you want to go. If I can support your journey further or you just want to have a conversation, please reach out. My hope for this New Year is that each of you finds a path that draws you closer to your dreams, your purpose, and your impact in the world. It’s truly an honor and a joy to journey with leaders like you.

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