So here we are in January. Most people will be glad to see the back of 2021, I’m sure. In fact, I remember saying that this time last year – 2020 was everybody’s annus horribilis and we all thought that 2021 was going to be the beginning of the end, when in fact, it was the end of the beginning, pandemic-wise. What is now abundantly clear is that Covid-19 is going nowhere, and we are all going to have to live with it. And live with it we will because life must, indeed, go on.
Despite my well-documented hatred of Christmas, I’m a big lover of New Year as I always see it as a chance to look forward, not back, and encouraging an optimistic mindset in these uncertain times can’t be a bad thing. I also devour inspirational books and I think January is a good time to feel inspired by some of the messages that can radiate through the gloom and create positivity. Here are my favourites...
1. Don’t trip over what is behind you
We can let our past disappointments loom large over our future or we can choose to learn from them and move on, as hard as that can be, so learning to look forward and not back is a skill we should all cultivate. Whatever we are feeling, the only certainty is that it won’t last forever.
2. We have two options; learn and grow or repeat
Our brain is hardwired to play detective, always looking for the evidence it needs to confirm its perspective. It will go on a hunt to prove you and your worst fears right, but awareness breaks the cycle.
Therefore, the most powerful question to ask yourself is what evidence it’s looking for and why? Otherwise, we are stuck on an endless cycle of repeat.
3. Endings often spark new beginnings
When one door shuts, another one opens. We might not see it at the time, but it always does.
4. Hurt people hurt people
Whether personally or in our work relationships, we can choose to surround ourselves with a tough exterior and ignore the red flags until we start to familiarise them or choose to be vulnerable and trust our intuition when it comes to other people. Knowing that people hurt others because they are hurt themselves is a powerful lesson.
5. They weren’t sorry when you didn’t know – remember that
This one hurts … but, it’s very true. Being honest with ourselves and others is the key to all our trust-based relationships, including those with our staff. I watched a video recently where an 80-year-old woman wanted to divorce her 83-year-old husband after 60 years of marriage because she’d found out that he’d cheated on her with her best friend when they were in their 30s.
“Why are you doing this? I made a mistake”, he said. She replied, “You didn’t make a mistake, you made a decision.
And your choice is why I don’t want to be married to you anymore”. Ouch!
6. You are enough
One of the most life-changing mantras to repeat to yourself is: “I am enough. I have always been enough. I always will be enough”.
7. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say. Being resilient is a choice.
Strength goes hand in hand with the best leadership qualities.
8. The best way to predict the future is to create it
We can all sit back and let life happen, and it will happen to us – “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”, as John Lennon said. But we can equally choose to shape our lives into a different path. Sometimes it’s not brave to stay, it’s cowardly.
9. Negativity cannot survive without your participation and permission
People treat us the way we allow them to. Nobody can intimidate us without our consent.
10. Nothing changes if nothing changes
That includes us and our mindsets. Change is positive. Staying stuck isn’t. Living with uncertainty is well documented as being one of the biggest challenges to mental health, which is perhaps why most people have found the pandemic such a challenge.
Just knowing that decisions that affect our personal plans are out of our control is very hard to cope with. We are having to adjust to being at the mercy of something bigger and, potentially, more deadly than all of us. But adjust we must, so perhaps some of these pearls of wisdom can help us do just that.
Hellen Ward is managing director of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London and a beauty ambassador for the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF).