Thoughts and Gratitude for the Holidays

For those of us who strive to make our world a better place – whether you work for a charity, a non-profit service provider, an advocacy organization, a social-purpose business, or are “just” a community member who is passionate for a cause – there is really no time that is absolutely quiet: no time where there isn’t someone in need, an action we can take, or a new idea that we can sketch out. Although we encourage others to take time for themselves and those they care about, we’re not always so good at following our own advice.

With that idea in mind, I would like to share three thoughts for those of us who are working for change in our communities:

First, if you are at work over the next week, whether it’s providing support to those in crisis, heading across the country to help restore power in areas affected by ice storms, or staffing a desk at a community service, thank you. Our world doesn’t shut down just because of the holidays: your efforts are important and even crucial for those who face difficulties during this “quiet” time of year. I also hope that you get at least some time over the next week with friends and family to rest and recharge.

Second, for those who do have the opportunity for a break, take it! Spend it with those who are important in your life and reflect on the positives in your life and work. If you’re so inclined, think about what you want to see happen in the months to come, but don’t let it dominate your time away. Come back in the new year refreshed and ready for the challenges and opportunities that 2014 will bring.

Finally, for everyone, enter 2014 with the idea that we all can make a difference. Every day brings us choices, from what we do at work and how we interact with those we meet, to what we value and what we want to see in our neighbourhoods and our world. The impact may not be readily apparent, but it is the small actions of many that make a difference.

I hope you find what you need this holiday season, safe travels to those who are visiting friends and family, and I look forward to connecting and collaborating in the new year!

Strong Roots will be on break for the remainder of the year, returning to normal operations on Friday, January 3. I will still respond to email and phone inquiries during that time as I am able, however it may take longer than my customary two business day response window.

Plans

Tis the season for looking back at the year that has passed and making plans for the new one on our doorstep, and Strong Roots Consulting is not immune to this time-honoured tradition. 2013 has been a good year to both me and the business overall (injuries aside!), but I have definitely identified some room for improvement, including how I track my time, where I draw the line between Brian Hoessler the individual and Strong Roots Consulting the venture, and what is the best way to incorporate social media in my work.

During a brainstorming session, I started thinking of where I would like Strong Roots to be by this time in 2014. The problem I ran into is that these outcomes were all fairly generic: review and revise some of the business elements, define a clear mission, vision, and goals, and sketch out a path to reaching those goals, including initial actions, milestones, and rubrics/indicators, resources needed (including my own professional development), and processes for reviewing progress and adapting in response. I could easily see myself dragging my feet on these pieces and be no further along come next December: worse, if I only accomplished these outcomes, the year would not have been very productive!

The solution I hit on? Change the deadline. I am giving myself three months, to March 16, 2014, to have these pieces together, so I can spend the remaining nine months of 2014 following through. Another component to keep me on track is my commitment to report back through this website on the progress I’ve made, at the very least at the one- and two-month yardsticks (i.e. January 16th and February 16th) and when completed: I hope that sharing this experience will also be useful for my readers who are wrestling with their own planning, be it for individual growth or organizational change.

I already have some ideas on all of the outcomes identified above, and just writing them out and sharing my thoughts this way is helping to fuel my enthusiasm and determination to move ahead. What are your goals for the days to come, either personally or for your organization? Share below, or just follow along for the ride!