The Year of Hope: 2022 Edition
For me, 2021 was interesting, inspiring, joyful, and filled with incredible gratitude for my family, friends, and colleagues who surround me with such meaningful support and connection. On the other hand, it was stressful, challenging, hurtful, filled with loss and grief—and at times I felt hopeless.
The paradoxes abounded for me and perhaps you can relate and connect with some of those highs and lows in your own personal and professional lives. It reminded me of 2020 in so many ways. The main skill I was cultivating then was resilience and I was proud of how well we rebounded from disruption and showed resilience to the hardships of the outside world.And so, I began 2021 with my first blog of the year called "2021 Is Our Year of Hope".
As I experienced the year, it was filled with all those paradoxes I mentioned above. I was looking forward to leaving behind 2020 and all the hardship and ambiguity that came with a global pandemic and found myself right back at the beginning again.
The context was different but similar—I realized that coming into 2021, I was focused on leaving behind a challenging context and was seeking some inspiration that would help me feel stable and connected.
I connected to this deeper reflection during my end-of-year vacation in Costa Rica a week or so ago. I read Brené Brown’s new book, The Atlas of the Heart, which I highly recommend. Her intention is to help us put language to our emotions so we can better recognize, name, and make sense of our feelings and experiences.
She notes in the opening: “So, often, when we feel lost, adrift in our lives, our first instinct is to look out into the distance to find the nearest shore. But that shore, that solid ground, is within us. The anchor we are searching for is connection, and it is internal. To form meaningful connections with others, we must first connect within ourselves, but to do either, we must first establish a common understanding of the language of emotion and human experience . . . Language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning and self-awareness . . . when we stop numbing and start feeling and learning again, we have to reevaluate everything, especially how to choose loving ourselves over making other people comfortable . . . Those sharp edges feel vulnerable, but they are also the markers that let us know where we end and others begin.”
What resonates with me about this quote is that the context swirling around us is often where we put our attention and focus. I see now that my focus was on my context and not on my core and my center—the “solid ground is within us.”
In 2022, the "Year of Hope 2.0" for me is about going back to my roots: to ground, find meaningful connection, and ultimately a deeper sense of belonging for myself, my team, and the leaders we serve at FlashPoint.
Our vision statement at FlashPoint is simple: “More meaning at work.” There simply isn’t something I am more hopeful about than connecting other humans to their solid ground and them find deeper connection and belonging! It’s the core of what everyone at FlashPoint is committed to.
As I am learning, unlearning, and relearning, I am hopeful not as a fleeting emotion, but as a PRACTICE. A practice is “actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.” Practicing hope is having clarity on where I want to go, a pathway that I will be persistent with and can pivot pathways again and again when needed, and where I believe in myself that I can do this (what Brené calls agency).
Brené goes on to say, “We need hope like we need air. To live without hope is to risk suffocating on hopelessness and despair, risk being crushed by the belief that there is no way out of what is holding us back, no way to get to what we desperately need.” Given the rising sense of loneliness, anxiety, and pressure we all feel, I can’t think of a better PRACTICE to engage in than HOPE (the 2.0 edition).
What’s cool about my journey (and really all our journeys) is that hope springs from adversity—it’s forged not in the easy times but through challenge and discomfort. Had I not experienced 2021, I would not have deepened my understanding of hope and all its rough edges and wouldn’t have found my way back to my center.
What Costa Rica also taught me is the importance of time and reflection to better understand and put our experiences into perspective.
The sunsets are simply breathtaking in Las Catalinas. I was in AWE every single night. But what I didn’t realize is that the beauty and brilliance only deepens after the sun has dropped of the face of the earth.
From the time the sun touches the horizon until it’s completely gone is a total of three minutes. It’s short and fleeting. It’s not until after it’s gone and then for nearly 75 minutes thereafter that you have a deeper understanding of the light’s impact on the horizon (the three pictures move left to right with 1: the sun touching the horizon, 2: 25-30 minutes after, and 3: 45 minutes after that).
As I reflect on 2021, I started the year in the 3 minutes—a cursory understanding of hope. Now one year later, because of the paradoxes, emotions, and experiences of both opportunity and adversity, I now sit in the 75 minutes with a new understanding of hope that is richer and deeper.
Hope is a practice that I am committed to and know I’ll help create for others. I will create more meaning at work. Our FlashPoint team will create more meaning at work. Our clients and the leaders we serve will create more meaning at work. I will have more meaningful connection. Our FlashPoint team will have more meaningful connection. Our clients and the leaders we serve will have more meaningful connection because of this PRACTICE and intention.
If hope is the air we breathe, we welcome our whole community of leaders to practice hope, avoid despair, and use your own agency to create a richer and deeper life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Come on the journey with us to keep learning from adversity and forge our shared experiences into opportunity!