Full show notes: www.safetyontap.com/ep214

Two quick questions for you: first, did you get what you got in 2023 by design, or did your year kind of happen to you by accident? Second question, what’s going to change for you in 2024? I have gifts for you inside, keep listening!

Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap. 

Since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Welcome to you, you’re in the right place.  If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve! And of course welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.

This episode will be released on the 18th of December, and many of you may have even stopped work for the year.  The past few weeks are a unique time in the yearly cycle, when the health and safety leaders I work with turn their minds to those two important questions I just asked:

 – Did you get what you got in 2023 by design, or did your year kind of happen to you by accident?

 – What’s going to change for you in 2024?

The most effective leaders I know and work with know the answers to these two questions.  And the ones who struggle, or drag themselves over the line for an underwhelming finish, don’t. 

It’s that simple.  It might not be easy to hear that, but I’ve seen it enough to share it confidently with you, because I know things can be better if you choose them to be better. 

So this episode has two simple things I hope will help.  The first is about the process the leaders I work with go through to make 2024 Their Best Year Yet, and the second is a short reflection on something I do for myself, which is choose a word for the year. 

Let’s go!

You got what you got in 2023 for a reason.  You might not know why, and you might have had curve ball after curve ball thrown at you.  It’s a relief to get to the end and say: that’s over, phew.  But it would be a shame to not squeeze a little juice from your year regardless of how it unfolded, because it will teach you something about yourself, your plans, and what you can do differently. 

So the coaching process I developed for my clients is called Your Best Year Yet.  It’s an uncomplicated step by step reflection and prompt to learn from 2023 and get ready for a better 2024.  I didn’t invent any of the things it involves, much of it is thousands of years old.  But it’s a great guide, and creates helpful accountability, for you to set aside some headspace and calendar space to make 2024 Your Best Year Yet.

It’s a 30-ish minute video and a couple of pages in a playbook you can download, and I want you to have it for free, because I know it will help if you have a play with it. 

I won’t go into all the details, you can take a look at safetyontap.com/ybyy

I’d love to hear how you go with it, feel free to drop a comment in the show notes for this episode at safetyontap.com/ep214

The second thing I wanted to share is my Word of The Year, and a little about why that’s even a thing. 

For many years I have chosen a Word (or phrase) of the Year, a bit like a motto to guide me through the year.  I have retained my word from 2020 until now, which was the phrase Ruthless Gentleman.  It might sounds like a strange combination of words, so if you’re interested, have a listen to epsiode 166 which is where I explain my reflections and how I arrived at that phrase. 

The past few years, during and post-Covid, have in many ways been a bit of a blur for me.  So whilst the phrase was still helpful, I probably needed a different word for 2023 but didn’t do the work to decide it.  There’s a lesson in that given what we talked about earlier about doing your year by design, rather than by default. 

Anyhoo, the idea of choosing a word of the year isn’t my idea, I learned about it from my friend and past Safety on Tap podcast guest Tim Allred, who picked it up from Dr Jason Fox, also a past guest.  But plenty of people do it, my wife listens to the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin, and she and her sister also partake in this simple but powerful ritual. 

So here’s a bit about my word of the year for 2024 – PRESENT. 

In arriving at this word of the year, there were three perspectives which are all equally important in bringing meaning to this word, and helping to connect the word, which is just a word, with my intent and my behaviour throughout the year. 

The first perspective on the word PRESENT, is simply to be present.  I have spent a lot of time and energy working on myself these past few years, and many of you will know part of that work centres on anxiety.  The most useful, relevant and impactful improvements I have been able to make have come from a field called Acceptance and Commitment Training, Or Therapy, ACT for short.  Within this, the creator Russ Harris talks about the causes of many of our problems, of which there are 6 broad ones.  And each problem has a flip side, a solution or a way forward.  One of those 6 problems are when we get stuck in either or both the past or the future, and we loose contact with ourselves and the world in the process.  The flip side of this is to Be Here and Now, sometimes called Contacting the Present Moment. 

Now this idea is not a new one, Eastern Philosophy has long taught that the only time we have is right now, because the past is gone and we cannot know or reach the future – it is only this present moment that we have any choice about, any influence over. 

So the first perspective on my word PRESENT, is to keep contact with here and now, to BE PRESENT. 

The second perspective on PRESENT is the synonym of a gift, giving a present like giving a gift.  I’ve always strived to be generous, to give first, and as Edgar Schein encourages us, to have the intent of being genuinely helpful.  I’d like to think that this thread has always been with me, this podcast is evidence of that, and a hundred other little ways in which I hope to make someone else’s life better by giving. 

So if it’s not new, why did it float to the top, to be important enough to highlight to myself for 2024? I can only think that I can do more, and do better.  The podcast hasn’t quite been weekly for a while, so that’s one example.  The writing I share on Linkedin is getting deep, personal and rave reviews.  But deeper than that, I’ve been reflecting on how I can be more generous without being emptied at the same rate.  It’s a bit like hugs, or compliments, or useful knowledge – just because you share it, doesn’t mean that someone else now has it and you don’t, or you have less of it.  So this second perspective of the word PRESENT, is to give even more generously.  This excited and energises me. 

The third perspective of my Word of 2024, PRESENT, is the verb form, the doing word, presenting.  But not like being on stage or being a performer, this perspective of the word PRESENT, got me focussed on how I show up in the world.  This was a whirlwind of things, how I show up as a Dad and a husband, how I show up even when I don’t feel like it, how I show up for you and the Safety on Tap Community, and logically, how I show up for the people I work with every day in my coaching and facilitation work.  It also has me thinking about where I will choose to not show up, if it’s not aligned with how and where I need to show up the most, and the best. 

So three perspectives on my Word of The Year for 2024, PRESENT: to Be Present, to Give Generously, and to Show Up. 

It’s occurred to me that these three perspectives might just sound too clever, too polished, too sickly sweet.  So with a tiny bit of imposter syndrome, I wanted to you to know that this word emerged from a surprising a messy series of reflections, journaling, and a little meditation.  I did not have the word, any of these words, until the last minute, and then they came together and their interrelationship flowed, literally I turned from my writing desk, pen and paper to come to the keyboard to write this podcast episode for you.  If it sounds woo woo, then that’s alright, it probably is – and then you realise how mentally and practically powerful this kind of stuff is, for real. 

I wish you and your family all the best for your holiday period, whatever you believe and however you celebrate. 

I can’t wait to talk with you on the flip side, don’t forget to check out the free video and Playbook on Your Best Year Yet, over at safetyontap.com/ybyy, and I’m looking forward to 2024 with you. 

Thanks so much for listening.  Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way?


Transcript – Ep214: Making 2024 Your Best Year Yet

Feel free to share this with your team/colleagues!