Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast

Looking Back to Move Forward — How to Make the Most of the New Year

December 23, 2022 Gerrit Pelzer, Martin Aldergard Episode 17
Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast
Looking Back to Move Forward — How to Make the Most of the New Year
Show Notes Transcript

The end of the year is always an excellent opportunity to slow down, reflect, and set the course for the New Year.

Reflection helps us get clarity and new insights. Often, that's all we need to take the right actions. But, reflection is also important to bring into awareness what's good already — something that often gets lost in our hectic daily lives.

So, why don't you set aside some time during the holidays period to reflect? You may want to use the questions below as guidance:

  • How has the year been for you?
  • What went well? What have you accomplished?
  • What have you learned?
  • What can you be grateful for?

  • When you look back at how you have spent your time and energy this year, how well has this been aligned with your true life priorities?
  • How clear are you actually about what your life's priorities are?
  • What constitutes a meaningful and fulfilling life for you? What do you need to do to avoid regrets on your deathbed?
  • And based on all this, what do you want to continue doing next year, and what do you need to do differently?
  • How will you ensure you will act on this so that it does not remain just wishful thinking?

To make change stick, you may want to start each day by setting an intention that is aligned with the direction you want to take in life. Initially, you may need regular reminders, e.g., an alarm on your phone. Daily evening reflection on how your day went is also beneficial. It is also good to have a buddy or, of course, an executive coach to help you make the necessary changes.

More info about us and our work is also on our website: secondcrackleadership.com

Do you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for us? Would you like to explore how executive coaching can support you in making the most of the New Year? Or would you like to discuss with us how we can support you in transforming your organisation? Then email us: hello at secondcrackleadership dot com

Or connect with us on LinkedIn:
Martin Aldergård
Gerrit Pelzer 


References:

[19:07] Documentary on human trafficking: “The Deal” (English) or “Verhängnisvolle Versprechen” (German)  by Chiara Sambuchi

[33:19] Kai Romhardt: Netzwerk Achtsame Wirtschaft,   and the Mindful Business Commitments in English

[33:46] "A Culture of Happiness" by Tho Ha Vinh

[49:05] Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh from Present Moment, Wonderful Moment:

"The day is ending and our life is one day shorter.
Let us look carefully at what we have done.
Let us practice diligently, putting our whole heart into the path of meditation.
Let us live deeply each moment and in freedom, so the time doesn't slip away meaninglessly."

Second Crack – The Leadership Podcast

Year-End Reflection (Episode 17)

This transcript is AI-generated and may contain numerous typos and errors.

[00:11] Gerrit Pelzer: A warm welcome to Second Crack - The Leadership Podcast. In this show, we explore everyday leadership dilemmas and paradoxes, and we invite you as our listener to self-reflect. My name is Gerrit Pelzer. I'm an executive coach and I'm joined as usual by my long-term friend at business partner Martin Aldergård. Martin works as a leadership consultant and focuses on transformation and change in organization. So, hi Martin, how are you today? 

[00:39] Martin Aldergård: Hi, Gerrit. I'm fine, thank you. That was a great introduction. 

[00:44] Gerrit Pelzer: We want to end the year with a special episode. We want to take the opportunity to emphasize the core theme of our whole podcast, which is reflection. And we also want to take a bit of a risk and make it a bit more personal by answering some of these reflection questions ourselves. 

[01:08] Gerrit Pelzer: So as a quick reminder, the whole idea behind reflection is, we see it in the workshops that we are doing, and I see it a lot in my individual executive coaching that, especially experienced leaders, they don't need more how to advice. They usually need to just make more time for reflection. And one thing that all my clients have in common is that they're extremely busy and they rarely take the time for self-reflection. And why is reflection so important or so powerful? I believe there are a number of benefits. 

First of all, reflection helps to gain clarity and it helps us get new insights. And often this is enough to know what you need to do. In contrast, people are often looking for the quick solution. They are looking for the how to advise, what they, what they should be doing. Tell me what I need to do. But this is often not working because everybody's situation is unique and what works for one person, or what works in one organization, that does not necessarily work for everybody else.

And reflection is also important for for wellbeing because often we just rush from one task to the next. We're desperately trying to create a better future or an even better future, but then in this rush we completely forget to appreciate. What is good already and happiness can only be found in the present movement, not in the future. And so while we can reflect anytime, I do it actually daily, every evening, but the end of the year is a bit of a special opportunity, many people take some time off. They slow things down. And also it, it may feel like closing one chapter. and we have the opportunity to start creating a new chapter on a blank page.

[03:16] Gerrit Pelzer: So we might not only want to reflect, but also use these insights from the reflection for, for future planning. So, when we want to reflect on how the last year went, we can acknowledge what went well, what we can be grateful for, we can acknowledge our achievements because in our hectic lives, we, we tend to forget it, right? We, we have just completed a big project, but all we think about is, oh, what's next? We can then check if how we spend our time and energy in this year, whether that's in alignment with what really matters in our lives. And then based on this, how have I spent my time? We can decide what do I want to continue doing, what do I maybe want to do more of, and, what do I want to do differently next year? It's a bit Martin like the, the keep stop start exercise that we sometimes, use in our workshops. So ultimately, uh, what's most critical is getting clarity. What matters most? What are the priorities in my life? And, uh, maybe then setting intention and making a commitment accordingly, uh, but you know, when I, when I talk about setting intention and making a commitment, I'm not just talking about the usual New year resolutions, like, uh, eating healthier, exercising more, and then after two weeks those are forgotten. 

[04:49] Gerrit Pelzer: And, Martin, before we dive in, the question I was about already to ask you, I just want to, uh, have this quick reminder. As usual, if you like the podcast, please help us grow the show. And one of the best ways of doing this is to tell a friend about it or post about it on social media. And if you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so on your favourite podcast platform. Subscription is completely free. It helps you not to miss any new episodes. And for us, it's also a great recognition of our work, so we really appreciate. 

[05:26] Gerrit Pelzer: So, taking a deep dive into reflection, Martin, when, when you look back at 2022, what stood out for you? What, what were some major changes for you? 

[05:39] Martin Aldergård: Yeah, of course I have. I have only one major change for me and my family. The decision to relocate back to Sweden after almost 24 years in Asia. And, uh, building a company together with partners in Thailand, growing the business to almost 30 people, uh, working through the whole covid situation and then still deciding to leave the business and relocate back to Sweden. And of course, this is a huge change. yes, we hesitated for a long time because, you know, with family and everything and with the business there, there are a lot of people that depend on you. It's not an easy decision. Uh, and, uh, thinking about it, right, it has been seven months since we moved back to Sweden and I far, I, I'm, I'm far from landed yet actually.

[06:43] Martin Aldergård: And it, this really surprises me. It's really difficult to start all over again. It's a lot of infrastructure that is needed. There is a lot of, schools, but something just like your daily routines. Of course, moving to a new country, different climate, everything is new. So for me, reflection is really important now at the year end, and see how I'm going to continue in 2020.

[07:15] Gerrit Pelzer: Yeah. And o of course, I've, I've known you for about whatever it is, 12 years or so. So, I've, I've been involved in this, uh, process. We spoke about it many times, not on the podcast, but, uh, personally. And even though I'm aware of this big change in your life, It makes me feel different about it. Now that you summarize these, these key points, or that is, even when you say it was, it was only one change. Wow. It was a huge change and still is. 

[07:48] Martin Aldergård: It's a huge step and, and I'm happy to share some more around this later on in this episode, but I, I also really want to highlight another thing that happened this year, and this is when we discovered about this Inner Development Goals. And you discovered it? It was all, uh, it was, I, I got the tips from, uh, from, uh, from the Sharmarke, in, in Stockholm, and he let me know about this Inner Development Goals summit that happened in April this year. And, and from this, It really, really clicked the Inner development goal framework, not only how the words are put together and how the structure, the framework wraps things together. It really fits my experience and what I've practiced. helping to lead change. 

[08:44] Gerrit Pelzer: Well, and Martin, when you say it clicked for you, it took me a time for, for it to, to sometime to click. Yeah. you might recall you introduced it to me. I hadn't heard about it before, and my initial response was, oh my God, we don't need another leadership model. But once then I understood where they were coming from and what it actually contains. I said, wow, you know, this makes perfect sense. This matches everything that I've learned over the last decade in terms of coaching and also in terms of everything, how we can use applied neuroscience. So basically everything matches what you want to achieve in coaching and what we know about how the brain and might work in order to achieve this transformation. So, I'm really grateful you found it. And ultimately we spent what, six episodes on it? Yes. And I think it's, it's really fantastic and. 

[09:44] Martin Aldergård: This, it has also. Led me to understand better of why the IDG framework was put together. What's the purpose? The meaning behind, and, and this also really important that we realize that sustainable transformation is, is going to slow and that we need to work on developing our own Inner capabilities as human beings, as leaders, as teams, as organizations. To make this transformation more effective, basically quicker because we don't have time. So this is also a great inspiration beyond the content of the framework is also the purpose. Yeah, the meaning and, and this is something that both you and me are really inspired by and, and intent to bring into our work as coaches and consultants more and more.

[10:38] Martin Aldergård: Right. And, and then the third big change for me that I wanted to highlight is of course, what we're doing right now that, that you and me kind of pushed ourselves finally. To start with this podcast, and it has also been much tougher than what I thought. To put yourselves out there, express your thoughts without knowing how it'll be perceived, and taking this enormous time and this, this discipline. To prepare the episodes, launch the episode. That has been both inspiring, but of course also exhausting.

[11:22] Gerrit Pelzer: Yeah, indeed. I mean, this is also, especially when we prepared for this episode, this was the first thing that came to mind since it is the podcast. Well, that is the big change that we had. We launched the first episode in, uh, February and what episode is this now? Is it, is it 16 or 17? 

[11:40] Martin Aldergård: 17. 

[11:41] Gerrit Pelzer: So, I think we can be proud of that because I read somewhere that most podcasts don't survive, uh, more than six months Exactly because of what you said. It is so much more work than at least I anticipated. but it's, it's also fun. I, I, that is one of the learnings for me that I enjoyed it. Mm. 

If I can, lead over then, because I'm, I'm a bit concerned because I'm taking now out this positive energy because this other big thing for me in this year was we launched the podcast in February and that was the same month when. Russia attacked Ukraine and we were thinking about, oh my God, you know, this is such a major event. Should we postpone the podcast? And, for me, in terms of really when, when I look back on this year, this is perhaps the one big event that I think shook my world at least. I mean, we have, I don't want to neglect. Overlooked that we have armed conflicts all the time in so many parts of the world, but especially with the situation, uh, between Russia and Ukraine, I did not expect that would be possible, and I'm hugely disappointed that diplomacy has completely failed. And actually we're talking about it all the time when we're talking about leadership in organizations. It is also in the context of the Inner Development Goals. So, the importance of true dialogue, listening to others without judgment, but with the intention of understanding the other side. And, and all I see, is that the top leaders, political leaders in the they don't apply it. It's always oversimplified. We are the good ones. They are the bad ones. And in worse case, in the extreme case, we need to kill them. And there seems to be hardly any intention to understand, the other side. So, but then the situation shows how mm, fragile or, or brittle, The world is we live in, right? Mm-hmm. And, and then it has so many consequences. I mean, first of all, there is this immediate loss of life lives, uh, this immense suffering that I think, you know, you and me who haven't really been in war, we can hardly grasp the suffering that is involved. And now this whole thing leads to a severe energy crisis, a massive increase in costs of living. And, uh, it, it, it has so many consequences. And then when I add to this, the global situation in terms of the climate challenge we are facing, when I see what I perceive as an increasing divide among people, uh, what's happening in China, the United States, but also elsewhere, there's just some examples.

[14:59] Gerrit Pelzer: and then we see partly based on the, uh, pandemic, the increase in, in mental health issues. Uh, it becomes just very obvious that, that we must change things. And so, reflecting on this and then, but also looking forward, I hope that what we are doing with our podcast, even if it's maybe just a small step in what we're doing with the individual executive coaching, the workshops, I hope that these are all small contributions to making this world a little bit better step by step. And you spoke already or you started talking about the Inner Development Goals. They are particularly aimed at achieving the 17 UN sustainability goals. And, uh, we can also apply this in organizations. And I think the more people are aware of this, the people in general, and leaders in particular apply this in their daily lives, whether that's in organizations or in let's say political leadership, all these will be small steps to, making a better future for everyone. 

And also I've realized when I look back on the, at least the last year, maybe actually even the last two, three years, My individual coaching has also changed. clients demand much less of a performance focus, but they want to work more often on wellbeing for themselves, for the employees in their organization and, sustainability. 

[16:37] Martin Aldergård: These are, it's, it's an interesting mix. I'm having a very kind of individual, very personal view on the big change I went through. Yeah. And you are sharing like this very big world improvement view. And interestingly we are working on both levels. Yeah. And my reflection on this is also that in order to do my small part to help make the world a better place, I also need to create my place in the world better for me, right? So, my change is in the way a prerequisite for me to be able to look beyond my own struggle or my own life.

Right. So, it is all connected, and I think, yeah, these two different examples, you and me bringing up a to totally different, you are a little bit, uh, stereotype, but you are like on the 10,000 meter view, right? Yeah. When we are talking and, and I'm on the really ground, very individual level, and I think we need to bring in both the big picture and the small individual things.

[17:46] Gerrit Pelzer: Yeah. And Martin, I think that is also because you went, for you personally, through a huge impact that not only a, a, a huge change that not only impacted you personally, but also your family. Mm-hmm, yeah. Mm-hmm. And then of course you put these things at the forefront. And, I'm, I'm also happy to share a few things that changed in my personal life and, and none of these have been, uh, so big and I, you know, I don't want to talk too much about me. Or, or we want, maybe, maybe we don't want to talk too much about us, but I think we can always learn from the experience of, of other people. Mm-hmm. also in this context, uh, how change works and what is it actually that initiates change. 

And one thing that has really changed for me, through the pandemic, but then also this year, is, is how I look at money and material things. my business was hit quite hard through the, through the pandemic and uh, but at the same time I also noticed that other people were much more affected. You know, I live in Thailand and uh, the hospitality industry here was just dramatic for. Mm-hmm. but then besides this, I, I reached, so to say, a personal tipping point. Completely unexpected when I watched a documentary on TV by, uh, Chiara Sambuchi. Uh, the English title is "The Deal". I watched the German version, which is called “Verhängnisvolle Versprechen”. And we put it in the show notes. Uh, and, and the documentary is about human trafficking. Especially, it's about women from Nigeria who are forced into prostitution in Europe and was heart-breaking to watch. And I think everyone has heard about human trafficking, but frankly, I was never really aware of all the details and, and the cruelty involved. It was unbelievable. Mm. Shocked me. I was deeply moved and I actually recommend everybody to watch this, this documentary in, in this documentary. There was one woman, her name is Princess. She was able to escape this horror and she's now supporting other women in Nigeria from being trafficked. And what is needed there is education, but also definitely money. Because it's a, it's often a combination of poverty and greed that is enabling this, this situation. And so the women that she is helping, that's through an organization called Liberated Women Nigeria. Uh, she helps giving women micro credits to start, for instance, their own small business. And uh, one woman started a small weaving shop and then she was asked, well, you know, how much money did you get to get started? And that was the next shocking point for me. It was 170 euros. So 170 Euros can change a person's life. And I wouldn't be surprised if many of our listeners, that's the amount of money they spend easily over a nice dinner with, with a bottle of red wine. Mm-hmm. , so, you know, it's only 170 Euros. that can really change a person's life. And that has put things, uh, in, into perspective to me because I, I typically work with quite wealthy people. Yeah. And sometimes that brings up the desire in me. Ah, you know, I, I'd also like to have more income, but then I think, wow, you know, what, what, what do I really need? So that was one major change in my life, how I look at money and material things.

[21:53] Gerrit Pelzer: And, uh, another major impact would be, about mindfulness and, and presence. So, I've been working on mindfulness actually for years. Uh, years ago I started regular mindfulness meditations. But uh, again, you know, it's sometimes these small events that trigger you to go to the next level of change and it. Pretty much, I would say exactly a year ago I visited a good friend of mine in, in Germany. Uh, hello Norbert, in case you're listening. And he had just retired and you need to know, he, he has been living in the same street where I grew up, and he's somebody who's always busy. You know, if he's not working, you will find him around the house doing things, this and that. And I asked you, so what are you doing now that you're retired? You're probably not going to sit on the sofa and watch TV all day. And you know, I said it laughingly and he answered in a rather serious way that one major thing that has changed for him or he gave that as one example, is that he's also more mindful. So, in the past he would, uh, read the newspaper while having breakfast and today, he has breakfast first and reads the newspaper afterwards. You know, and this was one of these moments where I thought, damn, you know, that's, that's exactly what I'm doing, respectively not doing. So, you know, typically while I'm preparing breakfast, I might listen to a podcast and then while I'm having breakfast, I'm, I'm watching the news.

So, my friend’s comments made me seriously consider my, my habits and planted a, a, a seed. And then, you know, like, is, is you're collecting pieces of a, of a puzzle. I remembered Thich Nhat Hanh saying once, you know. We need to do everything mindfully. So, when you're washing the dishes, your most important task is to wash the dishes. And, and so I applied this in my life and I realized, first of all, for instance, with this breakfast example, I found it initially difficult to really only eat without doing something in parallel because the feeling is the perception is. I'm missing out on something. I'm not super effective and efficient. But I also realized while I was doing both, I would not do either one properly. So, for instance, this, this example of preparing breakfast and, and listening to the podcast, then suddenly I would look, I don't know what for the eggs in the fridge. And then, oh, what did they just say in the podcast? I would have to rewind the last 30 seconds. Right. and now I've made it quite a habit. And then I realize when I want, when I start doing things in parallel again, I get kind of itchy and nervous because I realize I'm, I'm missing out on something. Does, does that make any sense? 

[24:56] Martin Aldergård: Total, total sense. And there is so many points here that I'm also thinking about as you're speaking.

When you spoke, for instance, about money and I realized starting all over, suddenly money is hugely important. And when I don't have infrastructure, when I'm coming to a new country and I have a difficulty even renting an apartment because I haven't had an income in Sweden for 24 years, then suddenly money becomes so important and. Then also your, your story from Nigeria, which again highlights that a single person can make a huge impact and it's many times not that much that is needed. So I'm using this also to, to justify my own actions, to understand that I can set myself up to make a better impact, the small impact that I can have, and then the troubles that I'm going through is still relatively small and insignificant compared to, for instance, what she had to go through in Nigeria. So these reflections are really important and they give inspiration.

Yeah. And for me, a a when I'm looking back at 2022 and trying to see what can I learn from 2022 and I'm, I can't really come to a conclusion about exactly what did I learn. I'm, I'm still in the middle of this. I still too many things going on. Mm-hmm. . And again, I realized when you start all over again, you have unlimited options. There is so many possibilities. So it's, it's a blessing and it's a curse at the same time. 

[26:54] Martin Aldergård: I'm very fortunate. I have many years of experience as a consultant. I have good friends. I have a podcast with you. Uh, I have connections that I can work on. I'm meeting interesting people. There are a lot of opportunities, but of course this is also, I am limited in time and energy and the practicalities of building a new support structure takes a lot of time. Yeah. So it is both a blessing and a curses. That is what I'm learning. Uh, and actually I'm still trying to answer how to deal with this, right? Yeah. So moving into the future, I mean, what should I focus on and, and how do I really narrow down my vision so that I invest the time in and my energy more in the right things? 

[27:43] Gerrit Pelzer: So, your reflection questions lead to more questions.

[27:48] Martin Aldergård: Yes. And I think that's totally fine, right? It's absolutely, it's, it's an, it's an, it's an evolving thing. I, I don't think we wake up with these big ahas and, and something that I'm actually asking myself right now is also, If I can't decide where I really want to spend my time and energy yet, so can I. Can I use faith, can I use, can I use opportunity to make this selection for me and, and how open am I to see the opportunity and the right and pick that right opportunity in the moment if I really can't really plan it out? And how much time can I allow myself for this process? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. because of course, uh, Europe going into more and more of recession, the things cost money, you need to have, uh, you need to be able to have work. Yeah. So this, this is, this is, uh, tying together the, the points that you made into, then also from my personal story from this year, it actually opens a lot of questions, , and it's always like, like we used to say this, I'm still confused, but I'm confused on a higher level. So hopefully I have better questions than I had in the past. 

[29:04] Gerrit Pelzer: That's great. Yeah. And, and when you were talking about the limited time and energy, I should probably add one of these key learnings for me from this, what should we call it, continuous mindfulness experience, was that there is this feeling that when you do only one thing at a time, you, again, it's a feeling like you get less done, but number one, it's probably much better quality. And as a consequence, I have just been, more selective in terms of what I consume. So I don't listen to just any podcast anymore. I actually watch less TV, news and discussion shows. And actually, you know, I don't feel I'm missing anything.

So if you now like move forward, how do I want to use this reflection for the future? And was about to say planning the year, I would actually say like more like setting the direction for next year. it's always work in progress and that is definitely for me, yeah, to continue working on this mindfulness experience and actually see for me, may maybe we, we should add this. I mean, of course also as coaches and consultants we are not perfect. But I think maybe one difference for me, when, when I compare myself perhaps to the average listener of our show, I started this process of reflection as a self-exploration journey when I actually became a coach. So over years, uh, these things have developed. And quite some time ago I identified three key areas in my life. Not necessarily in this order, but there's health o obviously, because without good health, you, you can't, if your health is severely impacted, then, then you can't do anything. Uh, second is relationships, and I'll say first and foremost with, with my wife and with my mother, and then, uh, my work. Because on one hand it provides my income, but it's also related to my, my, uh, purpose in, in life. so, you know, I don't need to spend so much time thinking about these priorities. 

[31:30] Gerrit Pelzer: But if you, as our listener, if you haven't done that yet, that is probably where you want to start. What is it that truly matters in your life? And if one day may sound a bit drastic, but if one day you lie on your deathbed and you look back on your life, what will the fulfilling life look like? So just adding on, on my future direction based on what I explained earlier, I, maybe I want to expand this, what I called until now health, to wellbeing for, for lack of a better word. And so this includes this, Continuous mindfulness part, but also other aspect of what some people might refer to as engaged Buddhism, like compassion, loving kindness and, and mindful consumption. And that includes not only for instance, what I eat and what I buy, but also what, what I watch or read. 

And then, in the context of what we said before, the overall statues of the world, uh, climate challenge, uh, conflicts, divide, I want to bring more of this into my work. Like I said, I noticed already this change in my executive coaching where people seek less of a focus on performance. Of course, they still need to get results in the organization, but I see an increasing desires for leaders to work on, meaning, purpose, and overall wellbeing. And again, we are already hopefully making our little contributions with the podcast, with our, our work. And so I think we can explore more maybe together how we can bring the IDG into corporations. 

[33:19] Gerrit Pelzer: I'm also working, not working yet, but exploring other options. I've recently connected with, Kai Romhardt in Germany. Kai founded The Network for Mindful Business in German, it's called Netzwerk Achtsame Wirtschaft. And I would like to see what have they done already and what can I learn from them to bring more mindfulness into businesses. And then I've just started reading a fantastic book. It's called A Culture of Happiness by Ha Vinh Tho. The book was just published last month and Ha Vinh Tho was the first program director of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan. And so to me, one key aspect of this book is that how can we move away from a focus on financial, what should we say, key performance into indicators like gross national product and the like to a more balanced view that includes, wellbeing and, and happiness. So I want to explore how we can bring more of this into, uh, the workplace and into organizations. Mm-hmm. , and I think that is more than enough to keep me busy over the next 12 months. And Oh yeah. There's also the podcast, which we still want to grow. Right. 

[34:48] Martin Aldergård:  and I think we're going to continue with the podcast because it's, uh, it's such an it's such an individual, it's an individual development project, and it is also this great way to start a conversation with our listeners, with our clients and the people that we, that we meet through the podcast. Yeah, 

And I want to pick up this the, the, when you're mentioning in, in the professional side of things, clients are so much more concerned around creating purpose, meaningful work, and I also see this how we change, how we lead change in organizations. Uh, helping people to be involved and included in change is so important moving forward. Uh, helping everyone in the organization to feel purpose and meaning in the change, and what they're part of. So I think really this is a theme that we will continue pushing throughout 2023. 

[36:04] Martin Aldergård: And the sense of purpose also then comes back to, to individually, and my own individual reflection for 2023 is I, it was the right thing to move. It was the right thing to move back to Sweden and good. Right? Right now it's a lot of struggle because I just did it and it still is a lot of chaos. But I'm spending quality time with people that matter a lot to me. Now, for 20 years, I have spent maximum two weeks per year with my parents. Today I just take the bike ad hoc in the afternoon if I have a time between meetings and my dad calls, yeah, I take my bike, I'm there in five minutes, we have a coffee and I can be back home for my next meeting. Or I can pick up my son at school. When living in Bangkok, you know the traffic, it takes one and a half hours to get anywhere. I can be at five minutes I'm at my son's school with bike and I pick him up, surprise pickup, and we just take a short walk in the forest and we go home and then feel much better about it. Or I spend time with my brother fixing things around his house. This creates purpose and sense of me, meaning for me right now. And then I can transfer this into my projects, and making sure that with clients and their change, they can bring their people to a stronger sense of meaning, purpose in the change that they are going through. 

[37:45] Gerrit Pelzer: You know, you, you sound so, so positive and excited about it. If it, if it wasn't so cold, I would feel very, very much inclined to move to Sweden.

[37:56] Martin Aldergård: you know, 

[37:57] Gerrit Pelzer: I'm not sure, but on a, on a more, more serious side, it, it really, it really shows your sense of priorities, mm-hmm. , and this maybe small remark, that I made earlier, that we can find the happiness only in the moment, like you said, with Absolutely with family, enjoying nature and so on. Uh, and we are often too concerned with, oh, you know, what do I need to do to be happy in the future? 

[38:23] Martin Aldergård: Mm-hmm. And I'm convinced this is going to also show through on the professional side of life, being more purpose driven. What, what advice can we give more? Or how can we wrap this up? What could our listeners do? 

[38:40] Gerrit Pelzer: Yeah, that's exactly what I just wanted to say. We, that's entirely new for both of us, I think we have never shared so much about us on any of the previous episodes. So, so back to, uh, your question, what can the listeners do? I think, again, as it's the year end, many, maybe not all, take some time off. And I think, uh, it's good to set some quiet time aside for reflection. I think for most people, that should be at least an hour. A half day may be better, or if you have some, some holidays, you can extend this exercise over a couple of days because usually you just don't get the clarity from sitting down for an hour, one hour and, and then, think really hard, and then you have all the answers and then you move on. It's, it's a process and at the end of the day, you need to find the questions that resonate with you.

But if you have no idea where to start, I think some of the questions you can use that, that we use today, like start with this innocent question. How was last year overall? Don't make the mistake to focus only in the last two, three months that you can still remember. You can look into your calendar to review what, what happened over the course of the last 12 months. Really what went particularly well? What can you be grateful for? What, what have you accomplished? What can you be proud of? And I don't mean that in an arrogant way, but acknowledging also what have you really achieved? Because again, in our hectic lives, we often forget it. We just focus on what needs to be done without petting our own shoulder once in a while.

[40:26] Gerrit Pelzer: And another question I like is, what have I learned? I think we've covered a lot of this today. And then I, when we move then to the priorities and, and how can I use this reflection for the future, so when I look at how have I spent, and you said it so nicely, Martin my time and energy, how is this aligned with my true priorities in life and that requires, of course, knowing your priority. So if you haven't done this yet, then this might be the time to ask yourself like, yeah, what, what, what is it actually that really matters to me? Uh, what do I need to do to avoid regrets on, on the, on the death bed? And then this leads to, okay, based on this, what do I want to continue doing or do more of next year? And what do I need to do differently? And I think it's also important, I don't mean this in a judgmental way. “Oh, you know, I've wasted six months of this year on on things that don't really matter.” No, it is a neutral evaluation, so don't beat yourself up on this. 

[41:41] Gerrit Pelzer: And this then leads to the maybe more difficult question. How can I really make changes next year? so that is not just these two, this standard new year resolutions that I give up on after two weeks. and I think generally the, the change starts with awareness. So if you don't have the clarity on what matters, uh, to you, and if you don't know what a fulfilling life looks like for you, then, then what can you do? Right? It's almost like you are. Uh, in a little boat and you are on this big river, and, uh, you just go wherever the river takes you. So, if you don't know what your direction is, then you can't take steps into the right direction. Mm-hmm. And when you compare what you're doing with how this is aligned, with what matters with you, then you quickly see where you need to change things, what changes you need to make.

[42:44] Martin Aldergård: This is interesting because I have, right now, I have a different feeling about this. Okay. And of course, it's different on, on the different contexts and the different kind of problems that we're trying to, to, to get clarity in for ourselves, right. And, and I'm, I'm liking this, this river metaphor a lot, uh mm-hmm that, that you're mentioning, right? Because for me it's, I'm, I'm in the middle of this, this raging river that going downstreams, right? And, and it's, it's really not so linear for me yet. Mm-hmm. in order to kind of figuring out where do I actually want to be and where do I need to go and what is my direction, and that's why I also struggle right now to setting priorities and figuring out what I should do, and what I need to say no thank you to. To me, it's, it's much more of a system right now, a complex system. It's not so much of a linear, okay. I have my vision, I have the To-Be state, I have the As-Is state, I can analyze the gap, I can figure out action plan A, B, C, D. It's not linear for me at all. Mm-hmm. It's much more, it's much more chaos. It's much more complex and there are so many stakeholders involved in this, right? It's not only what I want. It's what my family , it's the clients, mm-hmm. potential partners. It's kids, it's parents, everyone. And it's constantly changing , so, so my approach has been much more of try a lot of things, experimenting. Yeah, see what evolves and, and trying to, to be open to those possibilities. And, and see this is something much more emerging. Mm-hmm. and, and, and, and of course this, this links to my question previously about for instance, but how much time, how much do I have this luxury of experimenting? Of course. Yeah. 

[44:49] Martin Aldergård: And. I think it's really important, this also actually makes me think about how we lead change in an organization. We must be more open to emergence. We must be open to things we cannot analyze and plan and analytically figure things out when the environment, when the world is much more complex than what we think. And I realize that's only going to frustrate myself if I do. And I think in a change project, it'll also really frustrate people if that is how we approach change . Yeah. So I, I can learn both for myself from this and how I help clients to drive change. 

[45:36] Gerrit Pelzer: Yeah. And I'm glad you brought it up, and I really love this term emergence, and I'm glad you brought it up because I didn't mean it in a linear way so that you, you have a clear objective in your life, and then you look where are the gaps, and then I take actions, and then automatically I will achieve my goal. Now, I mean it more in terms of direction, having clarity about what is important for you, right? Because you gave this example, there are different stakeholders, but you know, you can make an active choice. Do I now fa focus on the client who pays my work or do I focus on, on family? Yeah. And like I said, for me it has been a long process that I've been working on, so, Again, it is still also work in, in progress for me. I'm far from perfect, but I have this, I have this guiding principles, like I said earlier, health and wellbeing, my key relationships, my work, and I can quickly make check in and say like, okay, you know, is that helping me in any of these three areas? And if yes, that is probably a good thing to do for me. And if it isn't, then I may have to say no to things that also sound, sound, very attractive. 

[46:57] Martin Aldergård: And this, and this process is not a quick fix. Right? No. You have worked for years for achieving a level of clarity that you have and a level of simplification. Yeah. It's not, it's not a quick fix at all. Yeah. 

[47:13] Gerrit Pelzer: Maybe as a last item, is then when, when people say, okay, now I've worked on this, but then how do I make the change stick? And again, there is no, no quick or easy solution, but to avoid, let's say this new year resolution effect and we give up, quickly, what can really help is. Starting with setting, setting an intention every day, right? I have some sort of support structure. So starting your day with setting an intention, helps a lot. Then you may need regular reminders. That could be an alarm on, on your phone. I don't recommend these post-its on a screen because you put it there, it works for one day, the next day you don't notice it anymore.

I also, and, uh, again, Martin, as you said, I've been doing this for years, a daily evening reflection. I do this with a, a partner together. Uh, hi Nick in Hong Kong. so we have this, this routine to have daily reflection and then you may want to have some personal support, uh, working with a buddy a. or a coach, of course, and there's of course much more. But I think that would be, be go beyond the scope of this episode. But maybe for my, one of my, my last contributions today would be, it's actually not from me, but in addition to the evening reflection, I found, uh, a wonderful, you could call it a poem. It's by, uh, Thich Nhat Hanh, and it's taken from the book Present Moment, Wonderful Moment" : "Present Moment, Wonderful Moment". And if you like, you can read this out loud to yourself every evening and see what effect it has.

[49:05] Gerrit Pelzer: "The day is ending. Our life is one day shorter. Let us look carefully at what we have done. Let us practice diligently putting our whole heart into the path of meditation. Let us live deeply each moment in freedom so time does not slip away meaninglessly."

So, it may sound, especially this practice of, of daily meditation, maybe that doesn't resonate with, with everybody, but I find this aspect of reminding yourself that every day your life will be a day shorter. And what can you do to make sure that time does not slip away meaninglessly, uh, at least for me, that's very powerful. Martin, anything, anything else to add?

[50:03] Martin Aldergård: There is nothing to add on top of that. It was a great conversation today Gerrit. Thank you so much and looking forward to our next episode in 2023. 

[50:17] Gerrit Pelzer: Thank you Martin. And yeah, it was new for us and the next episode will be with a guest again, we'll have Paul Lawrence on the show and we'll talk about systems and leadership and how can people, how can leaders really drive results while at the same time they might not be fully in control of outcomes. And then, we haven't discussed really at what day we want to publish the episode, but for everybody who celebrates, Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year. 

[50:54] Gerrit Pelzer: And this is the end of the episode today. Again, if you like the podcast, remember to subscribe. If you want to help us grow the show, we really appreciate it. If you tell a friend about it, uh, post on social media or leave a positive comment or rating and more info about Martin and myself and our work is on our website, that's secondcrackleadership.com and we would also be very happy to hear your feedback, your questions or comments. The address for that is hello [at] secondcrackleadership.com.

May you all be well. Bye for now and until next time.