Cocktails retrospective

12 things I take with me from 2021

2021 was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I moved from one learning situation to another. As December is a good month to do a yearly retrospective, I started reflecting and writing down the stories and learned lessons. So, I finished my list of 12 things I will take with me from 2021 and I’m happy to share it with you.

Define your normality

In 2021, we were surrounded by huge amounts of information: news about the virus, the economic crisis, political destabilization, strong opinions about health, death, vaccination, religion, and traveling. It felt like the most important task of our brain was to balance everything and give us the sensation of being in control. So, my way of coping with everything around me and normalizing this year was to understand the risks but continue to enjoy my life: I traveled to beautiful new places, visited colleagues, met friends and family, and shared worries, frustrations, and laughs with them.

Focus on at least one skill and take it to the next level

Ever wondered “Why should I stay with this company?”, “Why should I join that company?”, “What makes this company a great one?”? All the answers are included in that company’s employer branding strategy. In 2021, I invested more energy into this topic. I graduated from the Employer branding college and became certified as an employer brand leader. I love the discussions in the alumni group, and the collaboration with my colleagues in the employer branding team, and I will continue my journey in this area.

Another skill I focused on this year was food and product photography. I loved the 3 collaborations I had and the passionate talks with photographers. I am proud to say that my Instagram account is looking really tasty and full of color. Friendly advice: Don’t go there if you’re hungry!

Start the day with a positive vibe by listening to music

Try it once, and you’ll feel the power of music in the morning. Coffee or tea might be good companions, but music resonates with the energy inside you and can set your day on a better, nicer track.

For example, I remember that while I was studying for the employer branding certification, I started a discussion with my mentor on a Friday morning with “It’s Friday, yeah!” in the background and the incredibly good vibe of that song followed me throughout the day. A few years back, when I was in Warsaw, my colleague and I started the meetings on Maluma’s songs. Now I’m listening to Christmas carols by Frank Sinatra.

Give it a try!

Balance the energy you put into your job with that invested in the other activities throughout the day

Burnout is a mental disease and it gets cured in months. Burnout is defined by its three core symptoms:

  1. mental and physical exhaustion
  2. cynicism and detachment
  3. feeling lack of effectiveness

The irony is that in December 2020 I started writing an article about burnout and never finished it due to lack of time and too much workload. So, I hope that 2022 will bring fewer similar situations and more time to cover this topic.

Don’t underestimate the healing power of a city break. The change of scenery can make a positive impact on your life.

Due to the pandemic, most of my activities took place at home. So, at some point, it got pretty challenging to find the balance between home chores, my significant workload, worrying about family and friends, staying creative, and having a hobby. And, as you find out in this nice story, if you carry all these thoughts with you every day, at some point, it gets pretty heavy to carry them around. So, city breaks proved to be the perfect way to change the scenery, break some habits, relax, and get back energized.

Be empathetic; a nice thought can make someone’s day better

This year I said and heard a lot of “How are you?”, “You look amazing today!”, “Reach out to me if you need help!”, “Great job!”, “How can I help you?”, “It’s normal to feel that way!”. Show empathy with every occasion you have because working remotely can make people feel disconnected. You never know what mental dragons others are fighting or what skeletons they have in their emotional closets.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

The pandemic affected the normal flows of interaction and how we get to know people. We used to enjoy coffee meetings, beer gatherings, birthday celebrations, and successes with the team. We used to share bad news or frustrations, we loved and hated the same things, but we released all those emotions at work. But now, working from home has made us rethink all that, and for the majority, it meant removing or diminishing all the interactions and reducing a typical workday to work tasks. And this has brought along not knowing what’s on the other side of your screen, not knowing what others are going through, and it’s become easy to judge or jump to conclusions. So, my advice is: put yourself in the other person’s shoes, investigate the context and only then draw conclusions. There have been so many situations when I totally changed my perspective after seeing the bigger context.

So, try jumping jacks, skip jumping to conclusions! It’s healthier!

Get back in shape through kinesiotherapy and yoga

After almost one year of not going to the gym, it felt amazing to be back. It’s like riding the bicycle: you never forget the moves and always feel energized after every session. The risk of getting Covid is still there, but one hour of kinesiotherapy with a great trainer can do miracles on mental and physical health. Never stop exercising!

Embrace your flaws; nobody’s perfect!

Everyone has strong skills and things to improve, and it is important to identify and understand both. Unfortunately, flaws are harder to see or digest, but a great colleague sent me an interesting personality test pointing out that each of us has saboteurs – negative behaviors that sabotage our plans. The Saboteurs are at war inside our head with our wise true self, the Sage. After becoming aware of them, the platform helps us also to take some actions to minimize and change our perspective about them.

One example I loved:

  • Your Controller Saboteur might say: “No one else can be trusted to get the job done. It’s all on you and up to you.”
  • But your Sage would say: “Your team is capable of so much more if you take the time to inspire and empower them instead of micro-managing.”

You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate!

I’ve participated in an excellent training, and the main topic was that mindset plays a key role in embracing change during a merger. If you educate your thoughts to concentrate on all the things you can create, you move away from negative feelings like grief, frustration, vanity, and politics. And when you think you deserve something, think about it as a negotiation: you want to achieve/obtain something, and the other side wants to see the added value you create or the results you bring to the table.

Find people who can challenge your ideas; a good debate can help you grow

I love to discuss trends and share knowledge with HR leaders in the IT industry. And due to the accelerated growth plans in the IT world, this was a great year to engage in different types of topics. From site expansions, the HR role in a fast-growing organization, and how to adapt to a rapidly changing market, to the mindset behind statements like “expand in emerging markets like Marocco”, “hire 1000 employees in a year”, “expand to new markets outside EU”, “be a voice inside the organization”. I learned a lot from these interactions.

Show appreciation for everything you have

Health, family, knowledge, friends, colleagues – they all have a great role in balancing your life. They can help you on your worst days and be happy for you during your most joyful moments. One colleague taught me that if you feel appreciation for someone and you don’t show it, it is like wrapping a present and never giving it. So, take this advice and show gratitude to family, friends, colleagues, and others.

At the end of this beautiful retrospective, I wish you all an incredible 2022! Cheers!