What you have learnt about yourself in 2020 is truly your gift to yourself

 This piece is dedicated to my dear Ana who is a wonderful coach and friend.
Ana has been such an inspiration to me just lately.

Ana has had so many disasters befall her this year and her Christmas wish is simply to sleep in her house (even without beds) after a large tree smashed through their roof in hurricane Zeta. This latest episode in a string of challenges for her this year isn’t what inspired me. It is her ability to seek out light, hope and positivity in any given situation.

Ana is only human, of course she was devastated as each new bombshell dropped, yet she chose to breathe and accept the facts of each of these new situations. After briefly laying out all the facts and her reactions to them, Ana turned to list all the opportunities and learning that she’d discovered in her situation. Even sitting alone in a hostel while trees were being extracted from her roof with a husband suffering from COVID, she talked excitedly of the gifts of new learning, new perspectives, new attitudes and new realities as if, with hindsight, all things had been working together for her greater good rather than against her.

If, like Ana, we took a moment to play the ‘what gift is hidden behind the wrapping of my personal 2020 events’, game, what learning opportunities could be there for you?

Some of the gifts I received this year came from being overwhelmed by the volume of people reaching out for help, feeling a personal responsibility to support everyone that asked and exhausting myself in the process. I took on one volunteer support role after another and, even though I loved what I was doing and offered help freely, it was coming from a place of a sense of duty, rather than from a place of choice. I was burning my candle at both ends. Loving what you do and being appreciated for it is wonderful, it can though make it tricky to spot your own driving force assumptions as they push you into the exhaustion of not-enough-me-to go-around.

I’d been daydreaming for ages about ways I could create ‘more-Gillian-to-go-around’, support more clients post 1:1 coaching and those that couldn’t afford coaching, but my inner voices convinced me of the absolute and disastrous nonsense of an artist with zero technical skills even starting such a folly that no one would want anyway. Perhaps an online coaching platform to suit everyone could be created by a technical, analytical, IT, data-savvy expert, but definitely not me!

It didn’t feel like it at the time but, with that beautiful gift ribbon called hindsight, I can allow myself to unwrap my learning and see that what began as an inner call of duty, became a beautiful gift.

I learned:
·         To check in with my ‘helpful’ intentions whether I am in a place of choice or stress.
·         To love and accept myself just as I am and lean into what I can do well.
·         The value of deep empathy and compassion, with myself first!
·         To reach out to others and the value of coaching supervision.
·         The value of my own coaching, communication and social skills in new situations.
·         That I am courageous and confident. I can do whatever I put my mind to.
·         That I don’t have to have all the skills and knowledge to get a project moving.
·         That there is ALWAYS gift and opportunity in problems.
·         I only find the gifts if I search for them with compassionate curiosity and a sense of fun.
·         That walking my dog with my phone turned off is my best thinking time.
·         That speaking candidly is a gift to all rather than staying quiet to protect feelings.
·         To let go of my assumptions and worries about my abilities and what is possible.
·         That my creative and artistic talents are transferable and valuable in surprising areas.

Hey Presto – Inside-Out Coaching ACADEMY was born to a techno-virgin!

What have you learnt about yourself in 2020 and how could these be gifts?
·         What have you discovered you can do that you didn’t think you could?
·         What new strengths, abilities and skills have you discovered?
·         What helped you to adapt and recharge in 2020?
·         What have you loved and appreciated in yourself this year?
·         What have you had the courage to let go of or say no to?
·         What or who has surprised you the most and what did you learn from that?
·         Which of your beliefs, habits or assumptions have changed?

Dear Ana, you have been my inspiration to stop, search and find these gifts, by laying out the facts, deliberately setting old, limiting assumptions aside, breathing and exploring all possible learning opportunities with open curiosity and humour.

Who will be your role model and inspiration in 2021?

Working with the Inside-Out Coaching Compass Setting tool*, I scribbled all my learnings down as single words and the word that most resonated with me was ‘Creativity’. This will be my talisman word for 2021 as I move creatively into the New Year excited to discover what new gifts come hidden in each month! I choose to acknowledge and celebrate my creativity as something that can be useful in more situations than just painting and writing!

What was your key learning from 2020 that you will transfer to 2021? What will your special talisman word of 2021 be?  Whatever it is, I hope it brings you meaning, purpose, joy and fun as you search for the gifts of learning in each new challenge.


*A year review and new year planner that I sent as a gift to 2020 clients. Happy to share if you drop me a line.

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