This is the 20th anniversary of my annual Musings letter to clients, colleagues, and friends. Each January missive contains my “theme” for the year. It is aspirational, comprised of qualities that I want to focus on throughout the year. My annual theme is a lens through which I want to see my work and my world, and a beacon to guide my thoughts and actions. Although it is influenced by external realities and events, it is born out of a desire to seek deeper understanding from lessons that life presents.
This year, my theme is Courage, Connection, Compassion. I’m a firm believer in what Maya Angelou wrote: “Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.” Alert readers may recall that “Fearless” was part of last year’s theme. This year I am calling on Courage, as I realized over the past year that fear will always be with me. Amanda Gorman’s Guest Essay in the New York Times Opinion page (January 20, 2022) brings this into focus when she writes “…I look at fear not as cowardice, but as a call forward, as summons to fight for what we hold dear….If you’re alive, you’re afraid. If you’re not afraid, then you’re not paying attention.” This year I want to be able to bring more courage to feel, face, and learn from my fears.
Connection is about investing in professional and personal relationships in ways that honor the other person and supports their unique gifts, struggles, and dreams. And beyond that, a pandemic has underscored how we are all connected to one another. More than ever, I see and feel the web of connection we all share. My intention is to strengthen healthy connections in my life and work.
Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and are motivated to relieve that suffering. I want to come to a deeper understanding of empathy and compassion, and take actions to help as we all endeavor to build a more loving world.
I’ll let you know how I’m embodying these three intentions as the year unfolds. Meanwhile, if I can support you in creating and living out your own theme for 2022, please ask. It would be my pleasure to work with you in this realm.
Sharon Keys Seal, PCC