At the end of each year I like to look back and reflect on the year that's passed and consider what I've done, what I've learned and how I feel before putting together an action plan for the year ahead, and this year is no different, except I've reflected not only on the last year, but on the last 10.
At the end of 2009 I was wondering what would be in store when I turned 30 the following September. I already had children, the house, the job, the holidays and the money, what would be next? Would my life just continue in the same way?
I made a decision to hit 30 with something big on the horizon, and I signed up for a charity cycle across Kenya. Since then I've upped my charity support considerably and now support in schools as a mentor, sleep in a cardboard box each year to raise funds and awareness for the YMCA and have been part of an incredible group of HR Professionals supporting staff and children for Hope For Justice.
10 years again I was in a different house, a different relationship, I was employed and seeking my next promotion to HRD. I had a very different outlook on life and what really mattered. My view on mental health issues was different, I had different friends, a different relationship with some family members and could never have imagined that life would be so different now.
The last 10 years have included Burnout, Yoga, Meditation, four books being published, an empowerment course, or three or four, new qualifications, starting The Chrysalis Crew, a divorce, a new relationship, two house moves, a new outlook on life, trips abroad on retreats and volunteering weeks, and much much more.
As I think back to where I was a decade ago, and the person I was, it's hard to believe that so much has changed. I didn't set out to be where I am now, yet here I am, and I love it.
It's been a decade of ups and downs. I've had times where I've fallen totally out of love with HR. There have been times where I've been totally fed up with life. And there have times where I would have given anything to get out of my head, and my body and not be me, even for a day.
There have been celebrations, awards, accreditations, new opportunities and closed doors. As I look back, I wouldn't have changed a thing.
I've made mistakes, I've learned from them. I've made some not so great choices, and I've recovered from them. I've formed relationships both work and personal that I wouldn't make again and I've had health issues that could have been avoided had I prioritised my self-care more.
Since starting Chrysalis, I've learned more about myself and done more work on myself than I ever thought possible, and I'm still learning. I've developed products and services that are making a significant change for our clients in ways I could never dreamed of.
I never imagined ten years ago that I would be running my own company. I didn't imagine I'd be working a four day week. I didn't imagine true flexible working, no annual appraisals, a 1.5 page 'handbook' and genuine collaborative working.
I don't recognise the who I was and I look at myself today, but I know without the then, I couldn't have the now.
Sadly, in a lot of cases, the HR policies, practices and procedures from a decade ago haven't changed in the way that they could. We still have a lot of unhappy people at work, we still have a lot of managers not skilled and equipped to do their job and we still have a lot of leaders who aren't leading.
Let's hope that the next decade helps us create unforgettable workplaces that our people won't recognise when they look back ten years. Let's hope our people are happier, more productive, and new skills and new lessons to reflect on. Let's hope we have more trust in our workplaces, more open conversations, more regular feedback, the ability to learn from our mistakes, to be led by leaders who are passionate about people and not just profits and productivity. Let's hope the 'always on' culture that we have created changes in positive ways.
Let's make 2020 the decade of our people, let's hope it's the decade where we truly change the world of work.
Kelly is Founder of The Chrysalis Crew and Global Empowerment Coach for HR Professionals. She leads the crew with an open heart, an open mind and has the courage to challenge the status quo and do things differently so that we can change the world of work.
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