Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth. As 2021 draws to a close, I think of these three words as so much more than a phrase scripted across a beautiful holiday card. With all that's going on in the world, it's a more thought-provoking phrase for many than it was even a few years ago. Peace is certainly something our world could use much more of, and maybe even our own corners of the world. Many people are saying 2021 presented surprisingly more challenges than 2020. Here at Alloy, requests for support on the topics of resilience, healthy management of conflict, leading through change, and understanding the mental health impacts of a crisis were at an all-time high, and it doesn't appear that will be abating soon. Here we offer three year-end exercises to glean everything you need from 2021 to look forward to a more peaceful 2022 -- at least in your corner of the world:

Make Peace with Your Past Year. I have long loved to use the photos on my phone at the end of the year to make calendars, notecards, or other small gifts for friends and neighbors. These photos mainly consist of memories of fun experiences together, scenic landscapes where memories were made, or dogs. Yes, dogs. What would we possibly do without their unconditional love and the lessons they (often inadvertently) teach us? I recently learned from one of John C. Maxwell's talks that he also reviews the photos on his phone at the end of the year and with a very meaningful twist -- he picks out a dozen or so photos based on their depiction of a lesson he learned and doesn't want to lose. So for our first exercise, let's use a hybrid of these two practices and the photo libraries on our phones to get the most out of 2021. You can set up an album or file in your phone for 2021 Highlights and be sure to protect some time for yourself to walk through your photos. A few ideas for consideration as you peruse your library for pictures:

  1. A new connection, colleague, partnership, or relationship that you're thankful for
  2. Something you tried and had never done before
  3. A difficult circumstance you made it through
  4. A lesson from above
  5. Someone, or something, you lost
  6. A "mountain-top" experience
  7. Someone who added value to you this year
  8. A scene that gives you peace
  9. Something you experienced that you'd like more of in your life
  10. A milestone or celebration

Make Present-Tense Peace with Your People. Completing the above exercise can also bring to the surface some relationships that are broken or not as healthy as they could be. When conflict is allowed to go unresolved for too long, the energy drain and pain can feel like it's waiting at every turn. Seeking more peace and contentment in life can involve asking ourselves some tough questions, and often having to do with relationships. Do I have any recurring conflicts with anyone?  Anyone I'm avoiding?  Any "unfinished business" with someone?  That last question comes from a proactive perspective to dealing with grief. ie, Is there anyone in my life, that in losing them I'd also lose the chance to make amends, ask for forgiveness, forgive them, tell them how proud I am, or how much I love them?  You can choose to have more peace in your life by making room to have a meaningful conversation where necessary, and even if it's a little awkward, you'll likely both be relieved. Furthermore, simply entertaining the thought of (and making mental preparations for) healing a broken relationship can provide great peace of mind long before, or if we ever have such a conversation. Five powerful questions you can ask yourself to lend some perspective and help you prepare to make peace in a relationship:

    1. What am I feeling?  (Angry, sad, neglected, frustrated, taken for granted, confused, etc)
    2. What am I thinking about our situation?
    3. What could I better understand about them?
    4. What would I like them to understand about me?
    5. What do I want for the ongoing relationship? 

Look Forward to More Peace and Progress in 2022. So far, we've taken a look at the past and surveyed our relationship landscape in the present to shore up our peace. Now let's take a look at the year that's on the horizon and how we can invite more peace into our lives and corner of the world. A few solution-focused coaching questions to help your vision:

    1. If a miracle were to take place overnight and you woke up tomorrow to your life exactly as you want it to be, what would that look like? What are you doing? What are you not doing? Who are you with? What are you thinking, and saying to yourself?
    2. When in your present life are there glimpses of the above happening right now? How can you expand times like these?
    3. If part of your "miracle" includes a problem that has gone away, at what times in your life right now are you not experiencing that problem? What is different when things are working the way they should be?
    4. What does the miracle feel like to you? More peace, less pressure, more fun, more energy, initiative, teamwork, etc? When is that already happening now? Understanding that it's this outcome we're usually striving for can help us recognize it and keep us headed in the right direction.

As we reflect on 2021 and look forward to 2022, it is our great hope that you are intentionally moving toward the life that you envision. We have ridden out the rapids over the last couple of years  - rapids that have required some surrender and likely caused us to drift off course in some areas. Remember that no one ever "drifted" to a destination they were excited about, and also that it's never too late to chart our course. Please know that you never have to navigate alone and that our team is ready to support you. Whether you're sticking an oar in the water or a 350-horse outboard motor, a coach can help you maximize your resources and chart your course to the peace and progress you desire. It is with much appreciation that we thank you for being part of our lives and allowing us to serve you this year, and we're looking forward to much success working together in the years to come!

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