A former colleague of mine told me that he and his wife every year for New Years Eve sit down and write a letter to themselves. They seal the envelope and stash the letters away for not to be opened until the following New Years Eve. I’ve always thought that sounds like such a great idea, and I’ve even had us do it in our family (once also with friends), but for some reason it never became a tradition. I find myself always thinking it should though… Very strange how good intentions too often don’t fly due to something. What is that? Implementing good habits like cutting sweets, working out more often, reading more etc. etc. I’ll leave that for now, back to my point today.
A few years ago I studied Leadership, and in particular one of the classes I took changed my life in such a profound way, I can’t even explain. During our first week in class, we had amazing lectures on Henrik Ibsen, who he was and how he might actually be one of the greatest authors on Leadership. His play Kongsemnerne was part of our syllabus. (I’m sorry I haven’t been able to find the English translation of the title). Anyway, from the play there is a phrase Kongstanken, directly translated to “the King-thought”, pointing at the reason for why each of the potential Kings in the play should become the King. We were challenged to write a letter to ourselves explaining our own “King-thought” – what did we want with this Leadership-class? Why did we want to become a leder? And why should we? What did we want to accomplish? We wrote the letter, sealed the envelope, exchanged our own letter for someone elses, that way we couldn’t make a new one, read it etc., before it was due during our final study-session to be held in Rome before summer the following year.
It was such an insightful experience. On my own behalf it became clear to me during that year, that it was in fact not the Leadership-role that excited me the most. I realized I wanted to work as an advisor and consultant, working with and as close as possible to leaders who are open to being challenged and do all it takes for them to succeed with their “King-thought”. You can imagine how interesting it was for me to read the letter I had written to myself when starting the class. The process I had been through that year became very clear to me. I’m not sure I would have recognized this realization about myself if I hadn’t spent that year digging deep into what Leadership is all about, and discovering what were my own true motivation and passion.
How about you write a letter to yourself?
What is your “King-thought” on what we are struggling with right now? Recently I’ve spent countless hours studying and interpreting signs of the future, the new era we were just barely entering. The pandemic has made us go from nudging towards this new future to taking quite a leap into it. What I thought would take us (at least in Norway) 5-10 years to adapt to, now has accelerated so fast I think we will find ourselves there very shortly. And what happens then, when we are all forced to handle a new normal we can’t see clearly, and certainly don’t understand? When learning to handle new situtations we are used to be given some time to learn about what’s ahead of us, and we normally need time to prepare for the changes we see coming. Whether we like it or not, we are now forced to make the changes. Now. Once again, there will be survival for the most adaptable, flexible, curious and willing. Not necessarily the strongest. Because the principles that have worked for creating the strongest up until now, will not be working anymore. We simply need to hit refresh. In our houses, businesses, comunities and nations. We can choose to find it exciting and wanting to play a part outlining the new normal. And we can start with ourselves, and in our own environment – where we at least have some kind of control still. Right?
So I think you should write yourself a letter! Then you seal the envelope, stash it somewhere you won’t see it every day, try to forget about it, and set an alarm on your mobile to read it, start with 3 months ahead. If we’re still in some kind of turmoil in 3 months, set a new alarm for 3 new months ahead.
Here are topics you could cover in your letter:
- What are your thoughts and questions right now? What can you take control of, and how can you do it?
- What are your greatest fears? Do you have a worst case scenario? Can you do something now that reduces the damage if your worst case scenario become real?
- What do you think will be your key-learnings when this chaotic situation is over, and your new normal has arrived? What did you do that made you and your dear ones exited from this chaos as a stronger team than ever before?
- Did you achieve a goal that you set together which actually gives you a great reason to celebrate now, months later?
- How do you want to celebrate? Are you going on a trip together? Should you make a common investment to get to where you want, if the time isn’t quite there yet? Like go on a trip, or create something new together? What is the investment – and what will it take?
- What will actually be your new normal? Looking back at your life before the pandemic, what do you want to ensure you bring on into your new normal, and what do you want to change?
If you haven’t seen the movei Across the Universe yet, I can so recommend it! It’s one of my favorite movies for several reasons. The obvious reasons are that I love the Beatles’ music, and that everything hippie make me happy. But the plot is also about people creating the future that they want. And that is maybe what I like most about the movie! We can all create the future that we want, it’s a choise we all have. We just need to focus on the right things, and do what it takes of us.
Lots of luck in creating your future – and remember to feel joy and have fun while doing it!
Peace & love.