written by Angie Morgan & Courtney Lynch

As we listen to leaders reflect on 2021, we’ve noticed a consistent trend: time has seemed to bend this year.

Some aspects of our working lives have felt like two years instead of one, others have felt like just a month instead of twelve. The admin of work – emails, Zoom calls, coordinating projects – has felt heavy. Connection to people has felt light. Many leaders remark on how they’ve only seen key team members in person a fraction of the time this year than they had in previous years.

This year has felt off balance. Better at times than 2020. And then at times more exhausting due to the prolonged need to be flexible in the face of uncertainty. Unfortunately, we are about to enter a new, likely dramatic, chapter of the pandemic as Omicron hits our shores. As frustrating as this is, realize the value of the experience you’ve built with living and working in a pandemic.

As Covid ramps up in the coming weeks, keep these factors in mind:

  • You’ve been here before. While none of us would choose another season of Covid intensity, it’s coming and it’s better to recognize it than to ignore it. Reflect on your go-to strategies for weathering virtual work and school, restock masks and hand sanitizer, create a list of books, tv shows, movies or other at-home entertainment you’d like to check out if outside entertainment options slow down.
  • Fully embrace the holiday season. Before virus circulation peaks again, take time to safely connect with friends and family during downtime and holiday celebrations. If there’s a quick getaway trip you’ve been wanting to take, a sporting event or show you want to see, go sooner than later.
  • Remind yourself and your team of how well you can adapt. As we head toward the New Year, spend time reflecting personally, and with your team, on all the adaptations and successes you’ve experienced since March 2020. Brainstorm how lessons learned will allow you to move through the challenges coming as case counts rise quickly. Take time to plan how you’ll work during this wave, anticipating choices you’ll need to make about virtual or in-person work, and protocols you’ll want to bring back into effect. Take actions that make sense, don’t do things just to do something; choose efforts that will have impact.
  • Stay informed. The desire to hide from disappointing news is strong. Override it and work to stay aware of changing dynamics. What’s uncanny about the coming wave of the virus is the speed it’s spreading. Now is the time to access trusted sources for information. Not to fuel drama and panic, but to allow you to prepare and discern next steps as best as possible.

As the end of the year approaches, focus on what’s most important to you and stay grateful for friends, family, and the resolve you’ve built from successfully navigating the challenges and change of 2021.

Angie Morgan & Courtney Lynch are the co-founders of Lead Star and the New York Times best-selling authors of SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, Leading from the Front, and the soon to be published Bet on You. Sign up for Lead Star’s free, weekly newsletter to get timely leadership tips delivered directly to your inbox each Monday.