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Two Holiday Wishes and a Dare

As we transition from 2021 to 2022, here are my two holiday wishes and a dare for leaders this season.

Holiday Wish #1: Rest and Rejuvenation

When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brownn

It has been an arduous year for every one of us (stacked on top of another challenging year that preceded it).  Everyone I know, myself included, wants to be of service to our families, friends, co-workers, and our larger community—but we are tired and finding it difficult to “pour from an empty cup.” When we’re depleted, we’re not able to show up for people in life and leadership.

Therefore, my first holiday wish for each of you is that you find ways to make this holiday season restorative for yourself and others. Take the time to catch your proverbial breath. Celebrate the good fortune you do have. With sincerity and compassion, relish in good company and treasure the people in your life who are sharing this journey with you. It’s not indulgent to pursue rest, rejuvenation, and camaraderie; it’s necessary to restore your energy for the year ahead.

Holiday Wish #2: Open Yourself up to the World (When You’re Ready)

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

As we’ve all had to deal with unyielding waves of unprecedented change, many of us have pulled back our engagement with a volatile world. It’s understandable. As a form of self-preservation, there is a human instinct to close ourselves off from the onslaught of emotions triggered by repeated exposure to chaos. As a result, many have “sheltered in place” both physically and emotionally during this pandemic era.

In response, my second holiday wish for each of you is: As you regain your footing this holiday season, I hope you find ways to open yourself up again, even metaphorically, to our beautiful but broken world. You don’t have to solve every global problem or crack the code on world peace. Start small in whatever way speaks to you. Find points of connection and engagement that enable you to add your contribution—no matter how miniscule it may seem—to making the world you live in a little better.

The Dare: Ask Yourself, “How Can I help?”

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Research shows that helping others actually makes us feel better; the act of helping releases endorphins, and MRIs reveal that altruism is hardwired in the brain and activates our neurological pleasure center.

So, after you’ve restored your energy, dipped your toes back into engaging more fully with the world, and you gear up to return to work in 2022, I dare you to set an intention to commit to becoming a helper. It starts with asking yourself these four little words: “How can I help?”

If you look at the people in your circle of influence—friends, family members, and trusted colleagues—and challenge yourself to help at least 10 of those people in the coming year, even in small ways, it has the potential to transform your life experience over the next 12 months.

Remember that your brain is literally wired for benevolence and offering your support can make 2022 much more fulfilling. So think about using “how can I help? as an anchoring question in the new year.

Frankly, the time is now. Each of us has the capacity to make a profound difference in the lives of the people closest to us;  after a tough two years, they need us and we need them. And I’ve observed in my over 45 years of leading people that the more energy you give others, the more they reciprocate.  In short: The more you give, the more you get.

So let’s make 2022 the year that we step up to the challenges of the day and rededicate ourselves to meaningfully helping others.

And if our ConantLeadership community of over 400,000 people can each rise to the challenge of this dare, we can positively impact over four million people who, in turn, can positively influence millions more. The helping can spread exponentially. Collectively, we can make a palpable difference.

Let’s do it: I dare you!

Here’s wishing each of you a restorative holiday season and a most fulfilling 2022.

About the author: Doug Conant is Founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, Chairman of CECP, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and co-author of two bestselling books, TouchPoints, and The Blueprint.

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