C-Suite Network

2020 Doesn’t Have to Be an Ugly Sweater

How to Reflect on 2020

It may be tempting to burn the 2020 calendar and never look back, but before you flick that lighter, let me propose something more productive than fire. Look back and take it in. Take it all in, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you take the time to look backward and unsnarl the tangled knitting that became the “2020 Ugly Sweater”, you may realize that the pile of yarn can be reused for a thing of beauty. 

The process may give you pause because, as an effective leader, you want to feel like you are in control, and admitting the sweater came out ugly can show a vulnerability that can make you uncomfortable. But I argue the insights and benefits of self-reflection outweigh the feelings of discomfort. 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs.

Reflection is an effective tool and not just to mentally note “well that happened” but to apply an understanding of WHY that happened and HOW you reacted or acted. The ability to connect the dots can help you map out your future journeys.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Application of your reflective knowledge isn’t just about identifying successes or failures; it’s about a deeper understanding of the whys and hows. When you have the full context in perspective, it can make your workplace a dynamic one with flexibility and innovation because you possess that clarity from multiple levels.

 “If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.”― Michel de Montaigne.

 Here’s something else; the practice of reflection can be beneficial in all aspects of your life, not just as a leader in the workplace. Take the time to reflect on your personal relationships, your health, even your knowledge.

You know that moment when you are driving, and the front of your mind snaps to attention, and you think, “how did I get here?”. The road is the same, your car, the momentum, all the same. But where was your mind? You didn’t notice the work crew getting ready to paint the middle of the road back there, so you may get stuck in slow traffic on the way home. Or the momentum of your life has kept you from noticing the reasons your personal relationships are suddenly changed?  

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” ― Gautama Buddha.

Disentangling the past without dwelling on the negatives and reinforcing the positives’ patterns can transform your future. Self-reflection can help you make room for innovative ideas and growth when you discard the past.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”― Friedrich Nietzsche

Speaking of driving fast, here’s a tip. SLOW DOWN. In order to reflect, you need a certain stillness and quiet. Take a walk. 

Just don’t do it in your ugly sweater.

About Cristina:

Cristina DiGiacomo is a Practical Philosopher who works with business leaders facing big challenges and teaches them how to think differently, see things in a new way, and find unique solutions, so their companies thrive. For more about Cristina, go here.



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