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2021: The Year of Reimagining

Do you remember how you felt this time last year? At the beginning of 2020, for me the possibilities seemed well… possible and hope seemed a reasonable assumption. But perhaps – if you’re like me – you’re starting THIS new year a little differently. Hesitantly and with caution, maybe? Hopeful but with trepidation, possibly?  Optimistic but cynical?

Perhaps the beginning of last year seems not just one year ago but many lifetimes long past. The fatigue of 2020 is still with many – personally and professionally. If you’re in a leadership position chances are you faced some of the prominent challenges brought to light by the pandemic, ongoing social justice concerns, volatile stock markets, divided political election and screen fatigue.

The future is still unclear and while we wait for our turn in the vaccination line (or choose not to), there undoubtedly will be many changes we’ve yet to uncover ahead for us all.

So what can we say we’ve learned from last year that can positively impact this one? Beyond the challenges, there’s been a common humanity many of us have found. A slower and more intentional pace to our work, life and family. We’ve found new hobbies & habits. We’ve connected more with others. We’ve become more willing to adapt or “pivot” in our personal & professional lives, especially when we get to control when that change can occur.

If 2020, was the year of recalculating, I invite you to join me in thinking of 2021 as being the year of reimagining. An opportunity to closely look at the possibilities and reimagine the new realities of the way we do business, the way we work & the way we connect with others.

Who You Are Is How You Lead

As an admitted lover of control (control freak, you say?), I enjoy planning things down to the finest detail. In fact, during my childhood, I would make schedules for my Saturdays and inflict them upon my friends to find some sense of control when my mom was experiencing the first woes of her long-term illness. It’s still my go-to, especially at the beginning of a year, when I can look at the calendar ahead and manipulate it however I choose. Rarely – no, NEVER – do plans go exactly as designed.

What elements of self-awareness can you focus on growing this year? What types of activities will bring you joy AND a greater level of self-understanding? How might an increased level of self-awareness impact your ability to lead yourself, your organization, your team or your family?

Gain New & Improved Vision

I am often amused, impressed, and saddened that my children now critique television show characters when they don’t have masks on. “Mommy, do they not have the coronavirus there?” is a common question by my 7 and 9 year olds, especially when I’m daydreaming while watching my HGTV’s Beach Front Bargain Hunt. Of course, I get to explain to them that these shows were filmed years ago and not in 2020 or that cartoons can’t catch the VID (I think). Regardless their questions always give me pause and offer another sense of reality that didn’t even honestly occur to me.

Who in your life offers a different perspective on the world or work than yourself? How can you lean into conversations with those person(s) to further reimagine your future? What lessons can you learn from expanding your network to include others with notable differences in how they view the world?

Give & You Shall Receive

It’s no secret I believe in the importance of connection. I founded my business on it. But I also believe that more often than not, we learn more about ourselves through service to others. In late 2020, Florida Nonprofit Alliance published their COVID-impact report on the statewide sector. One of the prominent findings was that volunteers had stopped engaging as significantly as they had in previous years. With the value of volunteerism being the engine of social programs, it’s hard to quantify how much volunteers really mean to philanthropy. Current monetary value of a volunteer hour is $27.20 – up from 7% from the previous year and consistently increasing over the last decade. 

What are those opportunities you’ve always wanted to learn more about but previously didn’t? How can you create authentic & meaningful activities focused around serving others? In what ways, would service to others enhance your leadership abilities?

Wherever the start of this year places you and wherever the road of 2021 may lead, I wish you continued connection, humanity, grace, and levity through it all. On behalf of the entire Connect For More team, we look forward to connecting with you soon!

Are you a nonprofit looking to reimagine your engagement with volunteers in the virtual space? Are you wanting to volunteer but not sure how & where to start? Are you a company seeking to empower your employees through service that is both accessible & meaningful?

If you answered yes to any of these, plan to join us for our first virtual workshop of the year: Reimagining Volunteerism in the New Year on January 28th (hyperlink to registration page). We’ll be featuring experts in philanthropy & volunteerism to share how they’ve adapted their engagement strategies along with what they recommend next.

Questioning if you’re a “true” leader or even want to be? Brené Brown defines a leader as ‘anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential’. Contact us today at info@connectofmore.com to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn more about how we can help you become a more courageous & authentic leader through coaching, self-care and leadership development.

Want to learn more about coronavirus impact on the Florida nonprofit sector? View the full FNA report which details decreased fundraising activity, less engaged volunteers and greater uncertain about financial sustainability.

Are you looking for a dynamic and engaging speaker for your virtual conference? Book Liz today by contacting her amazing team member at laura@connectformore.com. Keynote topics include: Courageous Leadership, Owning Your Entrepreneur, Somehow I Manage, & Shame(less): Surviving Self-Judgement & Maximizing Self-Care.

Liz Wooten-Reschke

About the Author: Liz Wooten-Reschke is President/CEO of Connect For More. She engages leaders and empowers philanthropists by sharing resources necessary to help them accomplish their mission. Liz provides executive coaching, strategic facilitations and customized solutions for all sector leaders, philanthropists, consultants and rising stars interested in making a difference in their communities. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and a professional member of the National Speakers Association. Liz is also a proud member of the University of South Florida Alumni Association Board, a fourth generation Floridian and Key West Conch. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, four children, two dogs, and one cat. For more information about Liz or her work, please visit her company websitefollow her on Twitter, or visit her Amazon author page.

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