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Freshen Up Your Focus

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If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that priorities shift.

As we returned to our homes, spent more time with our families, watched our health more carefully and started to question the way we’d been doing things, everything seemed up for question. Did we really need to be putting on expensive outfits, to get in expensive cars, drive to expensive offices, pay for expensive parking, and buy expensive coffees, in order to get things done? Did it really matter if we made more crap, got another promotion, travelled more countries, ticked more things off our never-ending to-do lists… or was there more?

In March this year, Kiwi-born UK poet Tomos Roberts (aka Tom Foolery) went viral with his poem The Great Realisation where he paints a utopian post-COVID future. It ends on a message of hope: “And so when we found the cure, and were allowed to go outside; we all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind.”

Here’s a secret: everything was always up for question. COVID just made it visible. How long for? It’s hard to tell. All the things we take for granted as the default – how we work, how we earn, how we live, what we care about, what our identities should be, how we should look – are always up for question, if we’re brave enough. Choices all carry their own risks and consequences, but there’s nothing we can’t do, just things we don’t want to suffer for.

But here’s the thing: rewording all the stuff you’re already saying, updating the colours on your poster and changing “connection” for “inclusion” isn’t going to help you if you don’t have real priorities that you’re willing to make hard choices for. It’s not enough to tell me your buzzwords. I need your commitment.

If your priority is inclusion: what does that really mean? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? Piss off some influential stakeholders? Prioritise people over politics or promotion? Make it into the papers?  Stay the course when the pressure come on? Risk a lawsuit?

It’s never been a better time to get clear on what really matters, and to do something about it.

Is it time you took another look at what matters to you?