A new year often invites energy to reboot and reframe - an articulated desire to take some new steps, let go of things or replace what’s old for what’s new. But 2021 is not like any other new year because it follows 2020 - a year that had no equal: one that turned all our lives upside-down as we grappled with the consequences of a global pandemic, economic insecurity and urgent calls for justice.

What are ways to refresh our thinking as we take on the challenges of 2021? At Spring, we had a conversation about this and here’s what we talked about:

Lean into what’s changed

We can’t live 2021 in a temporary stance, because we have no control over what really is ‘temporary’. It’s better to abandon the ideas and declarations of ‘what I’ll do when all this is over’. The local landscapes, smaller circles, and new home and work habits inform our lives for the foreseeable future. This is truly ‘our new normal’ and settling into the cadence of this life can help us get the most out of it. Besides, by wishing it was different, we’ll miss the opportunity to be present and fully experience whatever gifts of learning these times have for us.

Embrace the pace

Many of us recognized the benefits of slowing down last year. Without our travel schedules, or packed agendas of meetings and events, there was time for more. Including more space for reflection. The restrictions of this time have forced us to ask: what are the things I really need? And in more quiet moments: what do I have time to explore? Considering how much we’re now able to do virtually, maybe there’s no need to return to the former pace. Less is not only more, it’s also powerful.

Make conscious connections

Our meetings are now conducted virtually. The online format allows for a new kind of productivity and increased efficiency. But what we used to gain from gathering in the edges of our in-person meetings - the chats, glances, touches, and shared laughs - are gone. These were moments of connection that helped built trust and faith in our teams and collaboration, that helped all of us see and be seen by others. Without them, we must create different moments of intentional connection in our virtual meetings. This means taking a few minutes to acknowledge each team member, hear their voice and use creative formats so that the connection and the size of the group can be felt by all. For us, these conscious connections have revealed new things, and ironically in some cases even deepened relationships while we remain physically apart.

Let’s take a deep breath together, and welcome a new year full of discoveries.