Julia Schmidt

Finishing the year with a positive mindset is something you should always try to do. Focusing on the good lessons of 2020 will give you an excellent way to begin a new year of hope. Don’t focus on setting new goals or resolutions now. Instead, prepare your personalized gift box. What will you put in it? There is really just one rule: you can only put good things inside; the best moments, the best outcomes, and the best accomplishments of the year. Call it a Christmas gift box, an end of year gift box, or whatever you prefer. Just fill it with gifts that will help you embrace 2021 with self-confidence, empowerment, strong resilience, and optimism.

What did I accomplish this year?

It certainly was not the goals I had set for 2020; but it included amazing victories resulting from new ways of thinking, finding solutions to problems I had never imagined, and keeping myself and my team calm during the challenging pandemic. I discovered that feeding my brain with success, helped it to perceive success. Instead of focusing on the things I had left to accomplish, I focused on the things I had accomplished and checked those off my list. My brain saw the checkmarks, released feeling of success, and prepared my mind to pursue new goals. Whether you realize it or not, every single moment, you create your own reality; in your professional career, relationships, finances, community, health, environment—and all areas of wellbeing. You generate the energy, and you transmit it to others.

What can I do to shift focus from the bad to the good?

If you only focus on the bad, you will feel bad, cultivate negative thinking, and attract undesirable outcomes. At the beginning of the pandemic, to combat this, the first thing I did was reach out to my Executive Assistant network to share best practices for working from home. For example, creating a safe environment, avoiding isolation, staying healthy, and developing new ways to working mindfully. The article that resulted helped many administrative professionals find solutions to new challenges and navigate an environment of uncertainty.  

Does my wellbeing matter?

One of the best lessons to be learned from 2020 is that the new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling, and lack of physical contact with family members, friends, and colleagues has helped us appreciate the importance of maintaining physical and mental health and wellbeing—for ourselves and for others. I encourage you to take the best that you have learned about caring, active listening, empathy, and gratitude with you into 2021.

I am reminded of a lunch I had with a friend and her daughter a few months ago. Trying to focus on the positive outcomes of the year, I shared that recently I felt much closer to my father, who lives in Brazil. Having an opportunity to call him more often drew us closer together. Also, I have been able to attend more webinars and conferences than ever before, since so many professionals are working virtually. Suddenly, there are no more borders, as technology has become the foundation of our lives at home. When I asked my friend what her best outcomes of the year were, she began listing only negative ones. Her daughter kindly interrupted her saying: “Mom, Julia asked you to share positive things.” Her daughter then joined the conversation, and instead, began sharing many positive outcomes. Remember, you choose the direction of the conversation—positive or negative!

What am I putting in my gift box?

In my gift box I am putting the extra miles walked in nature, improving my physical wellbeing and mental health; the good laughs with my daddy; my improved social and problem-solving skills gained through critical thinking; my ability to adjust and respond quickly to changing circumstances, ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and processes; my ability to self-motivate; and my ability to develop solutions through advocacy. Additional items will be new crisis management and communication skills to clearly disseminate information and instructions. Also included will be an improved digital literacy in new applications and technology, expanding my curiosity and helping me to innovate and create partnerships for success.

Everyone is still a bit scared about the challenges we are experiencing. But we are less scared together. So, in my personalized gift box, I will put the togetherness and kindness from friends and colleagues.

 “Nothing beats kindness … it sits quietly beyond all things.” (Charlie Mackesy)

A new year means a fresh start. Make the most of it. Be kind with yourself. Do not look for drastic changes, but rather, appreciate your gift box and all that it holds. Let it nourish and motivate you. Fill it with the best gifts you have. It is your life, and you own it!

About Julia Schmidt: She is a member of IMA Norway and an award-winning Executive Assistant with over 20 years of experience working in different industries. She is known for being a passionate advocate for people development and in helping others succeed and embrace their leadership skills. Julia is a proud member of IMA - International Management Assistants, an active networker, mentor and the author of The Executive Secretary Guide to Building a Successful Career Strategy, available now on Amazon.

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