Clear personal values and metrics – how can they help us to get where we want to go, but perhaps more importantly, be more fulfilled, resilient and happy?

By: Nicki Kavanagh 01/11/2022

I can’t say I love January. It is dark, cold, often wet and very often, grey. However, it is a time for a fresh start after what is usually quite an intense end to the previous year - finalising projects in a shorter working month, shopping, celebrating with family, and reflecting. As I ask myself about my successes in 2021, I have been thinking about how I measure success. I have been considering three overlapping “buckets” or values: fulfilment, resilience, and happiness, which broadly answer three questions.

1. FulfilmentWhat gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement?”

My most significant source of satisfaction has always been helping people be the best they can be, whether that be my team members; those I coach; participants on our leadership and personal development programmes, or organisations whom we support through their journeys of strategic planning and execution.

Last year at Juniper, we decided to focus on shorter-term goals. In a professional context, this allowed us more control, as projects and deadlines flexed in the face of lockdowns and evolving client challenges. This also helped us on a personal level to “chunk down” periods of Covid-induced isolation as well as plan for time away from work.

In 2021, I learned to enjoy the satisfaction - to celebrate a job completed, or an obstacle overcome, rather than racing onto the next project. That is certainly a positive habit I am planning to build on in 2022.

2. Resilience “How can I grow as a result of facing challenges head-on?”

This time last year, I wrote in my blog that I wanted to bring forward to 2021 my mindset of “embracing the journey rather than simply focusing on the destination”. It is something I have continued to find strength in as we navigated the past 12 months.

In the face of adversity, we tried new things – we launched a podcast series, engaged with a new client in France and old clients in new ways from the UK, some of whom we had not seen for a few years. We facilitated face-to-face socially distant workshops on how to identify and cascade organisational values, and we held a team “offsite”, onsite as we were rarely in the office as a team together in the early months.

We spotted areas where things may have needed a refresh or change of direction, and we challenged ourselves to try something different by planning and acting. The result was twofold – not only did we have new offerings, but also an enhanced sense of achievement.

3. Happiness What can I do more of to feel happy, energised and relaxed?”

Daily exercise was a big win for me in 2020 – it helped me focus my mind whilst staying fit and healthy. So, I continued to build on this in 2021. I acquired a bike and a rowing machine! But for me, the emphasis was not on whether I achieved all 10 miles, it was about taking in new vistas on unknown country lanes and doing seven miles on the bike and three on foot if I fancied a change.

It was about doing what would bring me happiness, like spending time with family, planning my summer break in Cornwall, and being deliberate in choosing whom I spent time with.

So, as I look forward to 2022, I am less focused on formal SMART objectives, and more on goals that are linked to my personal purpose and values. I am planning according to what will bring me a higher sense of satisfaction, the steps I can take to build my resilience and how I can experience more happiness.

And I realise that I have so much to look forward to this year, including celebrating Juniper’s 20th birthday!

As always, we would love to hear about what you are looking forward to this year, any personal goals you have and how you are going to reach them.