....Can you guess?
I’ve grown up in Colorado and in a family of skiers. I remember Christmases when the hottest gift was a pair of Oakley ski goggles. My brother got them and wore them with both style and pride.
I wasn’t too invested in my ski gear and managed to have the same pair of goggles for well over ten years. They worked but were unremarkable.
Since then my skiing hobby has been interrupted by pregnancy, a sick parent, and boot problems.
It’s only the past two years that I’ve felt confident about my return to the slopes but my absence and uncertainty about the sport meant that my gear was the hand-me-downs of all hand-me-downs.
When I skied over the holidays my goggles, shabby, the foam peeling along the lining meant to keep my face warm but ventilated, were in poor shape.
The day was mostly sunny but, inevitably, I skied in the shade of the trees. As I began to sweat, condensation formed on the inside of the lens, clouding my vision. In both cases, bad goggles mean you can’t see. In the shade I lost the contrast of the snow. With the condensation, my vision was less sharp.
When I can’t see well I get tense, nervous, start skiing poorly, and feel that injury or accident is just around the corner.
Clear vision matters.
It matters in our work, just as it matters on the slopes.
A new year, just as a new day or a new week, allows us to commit to seeing ourselves and each other more clearly.
My proposal is that this year we give each other the gift of seeing one another as capable.
Not too sexy but pretty counter cultural.
As I’ve coached and facilitated leaders from all different levels of the educational hierarchy, a recurring theme is disbelief in our personal power and in the capacity for change, transformation, and reinvention in others.
It’s a discouraging and disempowering lens.
It carries the same tightness and fear as my foggy goggles.
When we see others as capable we . . .
Stop trying to perfect every word out of our mouths and starting talking and trusting
Stop withholding feedback and start inviting high integrity connection and conversation
Stop managing people and start leading them
Stop trying to rescue people and become the person who sees them as bigger than the situation
The greatest gift we can give this new year is clear vision.
You are capable.
They are too.
That’s the hottest gift we can give in 2024.
Your coach in life and leadership,