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The challenges of 2024

What will be the challenges of 2024? And how will we manage them?

It’s true: 2024 is so close we can almost hear the tears of the Baby New Year announcing his/her/their arrival. Next year promises to be consequential for us all. The U.S. Presidential election, further violence and unrest around the world, continued fallout from climate change, and uncertain economic prospects are just some examples of many. Encouraging, I know.

How on earth are we to carry on? Mindfully. Authentically. Intentionally.

Let’s start with mindfully. Over the last few years, I have been working diligently on “living in the moment,” a phrase that sounds cliche now, which is a shame because it is incredibly powerful and sadly under-appreciated. For example, while in the dentist’s chair, instead of stressing about the pain that may come with the next plunge of the scraper or regretting all the times I didn’t floss long enough, I now just breathe deeply and think, “Okay, this moment is good.”

That, of course, is not to say that we do not plan ahead for what may come. It is to say that we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves, or fall behind by agonizing over what was. Instead of wasting January and February worrying about March and April. Find the good in each moment, find the opportunity in each day, because when those next months do arrive, we will be able to greet them more enthusiastically, more confidently, more successfully.

It also means that we should celebrate the small wins each day along with the larger ones. As we shared in an issue of Focal Point a couple of months ago: “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” —Doris Day

Authentically is next. You may have seen that Merriam-Webster recently announced that “authentic” is the 2023 word of the year. According to Merriam-Webster, “A high-volume lookup most years, authentic saw a substantial increase in 2023, driven by stories and conversations about AI, celebrity culture, identity, and social media.”

Glad to hear it. Authenticity has many benefits, not the least of which is self-respect.

Data also show that consumers of all types value authenticity at record levels. (Sadly, many Trump supporters mistake showmanship for authenticity, but I digress. Hey, it’s my blog and I’ll digress if I want to.)

When we craft the messages that fuel our organization’s success, we do so for one purpose and one purpose only: begin, nurture, and protect our most important relationships. In order to take on the challenges of 2024, doing so has to come from an authentic place.

Finally, intentionally. Here’s where having a clear focus on our work flexes its muscles. We are much better equipped to move forward in uncertain times when we are certain about what we do, why it matters, and how we do it better and differently than everyone else.

Having a rock-solid intention also gives us confidence. It gives us a plan. It gives us focus. That focus can help us disempower the headlines that threaten to distract us from what we’re here to do.

Perhaps more importantly, our why—the reason we believe our work has importance—can give us the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism we need to take on whatever challenges 2024 may bring.

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