Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “The Most Powerful You”
I believe I speak for many thousands of people when I say that we’re very ready for a brand new year, with its shiny new energy of hope that can help us achieve a much-needed feeling of renewal, inspiration and anticipation of happier days.
When I look back on the posts and podcasts that were most compelling to me this year (either interviews that I conducted or other people’s work), I see clearly that what holds my attention most from all the millions of words that fly my way aren’t standard headlines about business, leadership, or innovation, but something deeper. What I care about most is that which changes the nature of people’s lives and thinking – that transforms how they operate in the world and brings greater bravery, power, and impact – both personally and professionally. I care about how we can achieve more happiness, mindfulness, resilience, wellness, courage, love, empathy, positive impact, and how we can find new ways to succeed and thrive against all odds.
That’s why my work today as a career and leadership coach and writer appeals to me so much – because it helps people understand in new ways, and transform, what’s in front of (and inside) them so they can become more of who they already are.
The coaching and training work I do isn’t focused on helping professionals meet specific executive or business goals (that’s important, of course, but not the most important to me). It’s about helping people grow, stretch, “find brave” and empower themselves to become a person they are proud of, doing work that is meaningful, purposeful and significant – making the difference that matters deeply to them. When they do that, their goals shift to become more thrilling and personal. That focus is vitally important to me because I spent so many years not being proud of who I was or what I was doing in the world, and feeling desperately stuck with no way out.
I once read a piece where the writer talked about choosing one word that would signify what she wanted more of in the coming months – her “theme.” I absolutely love that idea and engage in a process each new year to identify the quality or experience that resonates most for me that I want to embrace for the coming year.
In thinking about the themes that represented my focus in past years, it was breakthrough, helping people move forward after loss and struggle, and create their own breakthrough. (My first book, Breakdown, Breakthrough explored that in great depth).
But now, after writing my new book The Most Powerful You and spending years helping women close the 7 most damaging power gaps they face, my theme has changed, especially after all that we’ve been through this past year. I’m ready to focus on a new direction – for my business, my life, and in what I’d like to help my clients and course members achieve in their lives as well.
For me, my 2021 theme is expansion. But not just expansion for expansion’s sake. Rather, I’ve come to some new realizations that, for years, I’ve unconsciously and inadvertently constrained my own growth because I’ve been overly-controlling in key ways, trying to ensure certain outcomes when in fact, those outcomes are holding me back from the very growth and impact I dream about.
I’m excited to update my theme for 2021 and work toward amplifying my reach and impact and empowering others who dream to make a much bigger impact and are ready to overcome their hidden fears and blocks in the way of that.
Does expansion speak to you as a theme for our new year, or is it something else you long to create more of and amplify in your life and work?
How can we identify our own best and most empowering theme for this new year – what we wish to stand for, focus on and bring forward next year?
Below are eight critical questions to ask yourself that will help you choose the best theme for your life going forward and identify clearly what you want to focus on in 2021:
1. What do you care about the most in life – from everything you read, hear, watch and attend to? What would you give up everything for?
2. What agitates you most in the world that you desperately long to transform or improve?
3. What do you want to accentuate, amplify and build on in your life?
4. What key words describe the people you find most inspiring, impressive, compelling, no matter what field or industry they’re in?
5. What do all your dreams for the future have in common – the critical threads and recurring patterns?
6. What is the most outlandishly wonderful fantasy you have for your life, and why would that bring you so much happiness? What specifically would be different in your life if this fantasy became a reality?
7. What fears, insecurities or blocks do you think might be holding you back from becoming the person you want to be?
8. If you were the bravest, most powerful version of you right now, what would you want to be, do, say and create in 2021?
When I answer these questions, I realize that I want my theme for 2021 to be about expanding to overcome more of my “perfectionistic overfunctioning” behavior and finally let go of hanging on too tightly to trying to ensure certain outcomes. I want to let the Universe guide me in a more fluid, flexible way. I want to listen to my own intution and internal guidance more, stop listening to outside “experts” who don’t feel right to me and start trusting myself more.
If I can muster the bravery and power to commit to expanding in thrilling new ways, I believe that you can too. I emerged in my 40s from a miserable corporate career, having spent many years lost, confused and wasting so much time doing meaningless work in toxic environments that made me chronically sick and depressed. If I can overcome all that and get on the “finding brave” pathway to build a life that nourishes me, I trust you can too.
So, what’s your theme for 2021? Please share it below and with others. Say it out loud. Claim it. Put your stake in the ground and boldly declare that you will do what it takes in 2021 to experience and create more of what makes life worth living to you.
If not now, after this heartbreaking year, then when?
To build a more rewarding life and career, visit kathycaprino.com, and join Kathy in Career Breakthrough programs and her Winter 2021 session of The Amazing Career Project. For added inspiration, tune into Kathy’s weekly podcast Finding Brave, and read her new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.