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Happy 2022, friends!
 
So many of us are starting the new year with some sort of disruption related to Omicron. Trying to dodge this COVID thing and trying to live our lives is like the new Squid Game that won’t end, but without the big cash payoff in the end. Haha. It feels silly to declare that 2022 will be an amazing year. But I also refuse to say things like this year is already doomed to be as terrible as the past two years have been. At least here in the US, we are not starting the year with the second annual attack of the US. Capitol. So I send out this first note of the year, feeling cautiously optimistic, with a small wave and a big smile.
Happy New Year!
Photo Credit: Chong Oh
As a friendly reminder, you are receiving this message, my monthly notes to clients and friends (and my two children!) as an update on what I am currently working on, learning, and thinking about. During the past two pandemic years, I let go of the idea of trying to keep up with a regular schedule, but my intention in 2022 is to send out some helpful bits of information to you each and every month. If you would like to opt out for any reason, please let me know or unsubscribe at the bottom of this note! You can read the past issues here.

For those of you staying on, thank you for being here! Here are a few things I’ve been itching to share with you.
No Goals Necessary
 
In closing out 2021, I noticed some clients’ hesitancy to plan out concrete goals for 2022. I think it’s due to a combination of the new realities that the pandemic years have brought upon us. Living through a pandemic has made it hard for some to solidify long term planning and frankly, so many of us are too burned out to set some grand goals. For many of us, our goals are to simply keep our loved ones safe and keep chugging along with our responsibilities. I hear you.
 
Goals or not, I recommend taking some quiet time to think about the past year, which then may naturally lead you to surface a few new insights, intentions, and changes you might want to bring into the new year. Maybe even a goal or two. Ha. I adore this kind of work and have many sets of reflection questions I have worked with, but the one that resonates the most with me at this moment is a super paired down list of questions from ”Suleika Jaouad’s Isolation Journals. Jaouad is a former columnist with the New York Times who wrote Life, Interrupted, a 40-part series chronicling her experience as a young woman with Leukemia living in medical isolation. I fell in love with her last year.
Suleika Jaouad's Isolation Journals
Her five questions were:
  • What in the last year are you proud of?
  • What did this year leave you yearning for?
  • What’s causing you anxiety?
  • What resources, skills, and practices can you rely on in the coming year?
  • What are your wildest, most harebrained ideas and dreams?
    • With this last question, Jaouad says she sets a timer for five minutes and writes in a “completely unedited stream of consciousness.”
Sigh. Her post "The Five Lists" is just lovely. You can subscribe to her free weekly journal prompts here.
 
If you are interested in a longer set of reflection questions, you can find a set that I used last year in my December 2020 Notes.
Becoming Helpable
 
Whatever it is that you want to accomplish or try in 2022, please don’t think that you have to do it all on your own, or all at once. Who can help you? What tools or systems can you set up to help you in 2022? How can you make yourself become easier for others to help? These are some great questions to ask yourself if you would like to become more helpable. 
 
For more on this, please check out this video on self care that is under 3 minutes which I made with Professor Debbie Streeter for The Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell. It’s so hard for me to see myself in videos, but here you go and I won’t watch it again. Haha.
Self Care Video 
What didn’t make it into the video is where I originally heard the idea of becoming more helpable. Credit goes to Bonnie St. John—the first African-American woman to win medals at the Winter Olympics, a Rhodes scholar and a former member of the Clinton administration. She said the difference between a person who sings and dances well, and a superstar, is that the superstar has way more help. This made sense to me.
 
“Beyoncé without all the help is just a lady who sings and dances well.”  Ha! I’m not trying to be Beyoncé here, but I know I can be a better coach, mom, wife, daughter, and friend when I’m focusing my time and energy on the things I want to and need to do, and be super honest with myself about my capacity and limitations.
 
She said: “The more helpable person can do more. You can be larger. You can have more impact.”

The question I have been asking myself is, “How can I become more helpable?” Can I figure out how to delegate tasks and whole projects, find the right people, and articulate what I need? Am I ready to make myself more vulnerable, less controlling, let others into my weaknesses, and ask for help?

St. John said asking for help didn’t come easy to her at first. “I’m a one legged Black woman. I’ve spent my whole life proving that I can do it all myself."
 
I learned about St. John from an unlikely source, in a podcast episode of GOOP called “The Small Hacks That Make Life Easier.” (It’s a wonderful episode if you don't mind all the skin care commercials embedded in it.)
 
Are you a helpable person?
 
There is this quote from Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great," that I write out every time I crack open a new notebook. “Happiness is doing meaningful work with people you love.” So many of you have provided both parts of that equation for me over the years. So, thank you.

Please share what you are up to and how I might get to catch up with you in 2022!
 
Caroline
P.S.
In partnership with Vitamin Digital Media, I am making a new website!  I had become so embarrassed of my outdated website, yet I could never make time to work on a new one. Every time someone would list it as part of my intro in a meeting, I would ask them sharply like they did something wrong,  “How did you find it?”  Haha. I love how the new one is coming out, and can’t wait to finish it this year. Please let me know what you think!
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Copyright © Caroline Kim Oh - CKO Coaching and Consulting LLC - All rights reserved.

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