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For the Greater Good

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What comes to mind when you reflect on the year that was 2020?

As we approach the end of the year and try to cram all those last-minute things in before our well-earned break, it is more important than ever to take stock of the year that was. Self-reflection, insight, and personal enquiry are the pillars on which great leadership stand.

To that end, now it is the perfect time to ponder: self, others, and context. To aid in this reflection see part 2 & 3 of this 3-part exercise below. It will only take 20mins, but the clarity and level of profound insight will pay you back immensely as you enter the holidays and New Year.

If you have not yet completed part 1 of this exercise, please do so here.


Part 2: Others (second)

Take time to think about the key people you share your life with: friends, family (however you define it), work friends and colleagues, community you engage with (schools, gyms, restaurants, where you may donate your time).

  • What are they thinking and feeling in their own right?
  • What has happening for them?
  • What has challenged them?
  • What have they learnt?
  • What has given them joy and what has pained them?
  • Where were they in March, and where are they now?

Record your answers down in the Others circle of the worksheet.


Ask the following questions without any judgement or blame, with no stories attached: simply observe, look, think, feel; these are the sentient creatures you share your life with, pay attention.

  • Think: who am I for them?
  • What is it like to interact with me?

Record your answers where the circles overlap in the worksheet.


In part 3 of this exercise we look at the broader context in which we have been operating in 2020.


Part 3: Context

This can mean many things to many people. This is an invitation to open your eyes and look around at your environment. Record your answers in the section around the two circles titled context.

  • Lift your head from your own ‘feeding bin’. Look at your house or flat, your garden or a park nearby, really look – the trees, the birds, the ground cover, the moisture or lack of, breathe the air deeply, look up as much as down; is it thriving?
  • Look beyond at the community you live within, the ecosystem of which you are a part; are people smiling, connecting, calm, busy, inward looking, anxious? Are people in shops, masked, but buying? Are Christmas decorations up? Look how people are responding
  • Go further, to a city, a forest a beach; what can you see – in the infrastructure, the gathering of many?


Ask yourself, what is the mood, the ‘vibe’? This matters. You, your friends/family all live within an ecosystem. What is yours?

  • If you work, look further than just the people you work with; walk around, get a sense of the whole and the feeling of the whole.


Go further still – let your mind wander, without judgement or blame or fear or anxiety, just curiosity. Watch our world as it goes through this immense challenge, all of us together, and yet apart in so many ways.

  • Where are we connected, wanting, and needing the same things; where do we differ? Who has and does not have, and why?
  • Look at those messages, meanings, values, beliefs, assumptions that make sense to you, that you agree with, THEN with no blame or judgement, look beyond to what is profoundly different in face, and form, and culture and beliefs.


Ask yourself, who you want to be in this world and begin to shape this for yourself. Gather up the joyful best of yourself, be proud of who you are. Then be brave about the stuff you want to leave behind, the suitcase of clothing that no longer fits.


Craft a visible story for yourself.


Personal purpose, values and ambitions, linked to a broader ambition for yourself, your relationships and how and where you work, all within a world landscape in which our actions DO make a difference.

The worksheet mentioned throughout this article can be downloaded here.