2020 twins… Where was that on my to-do list?

By Naomi Goodman, co-founder, the-thread

The two big ticket items at the top of my 2020 list were, do a meaningful training course and decide your next career move. So how did, have babies, sneak in? 

As much as I try to ‘let the Universe guide me’, I’m a planner. It’s definitely a hangover from spending an entire career managing projects. At the top of my plan for 2020 were two key items: do a meaningful course; and decide your next career move. So, how did I do? 

I had a plan to study Ayurvedic health in India, but that changed when the pandemic hit. Instead, I’ve loved learning more about Ayurveda and Vedic studies in my online meditation teacher training course with Deepak Chopra and his team. And for item two, co-founding the-thread with Laura House, our employee communications and engagement consultancy, has definitely been a highlight. So, despite the pandemic, tick tick, items one and two achieved. So where did three, have babies, come from? I don’t remember writing that one down. But here I am, huge belly, bad back, painful ribs, swollen ankles, with not one, but two babies on the way.

So, in an unplanned, yet very welcomed, turn for 2020, my status has changed from #femaleleader to #femaleleader plus #femalefounder #MumBoss. And it’s the #MumBoss one that’s really got me thinking. It’s made me think about the world my little bambinos are stepping into. Yes, 2020 will be remembered as the year of great heartbreak and unrest. But we’ve also seen some monumental moves forward. To me, it feels important that as they grow up, these two little ladies understand that with great pain, also comes great progress. 

So, when I tell them about what they can learn from the year they were born, this is what I’d like them to know:  

Don’t let other people’s prejudices stop you from fulfilling your potential – This year we saw Kamala Harris, America’s first BAME and female vice-president, elected at a time when racism, anarchy and unrest are rife in the US. So as my girls grow into their own, I’d like them to know that there will always be prejudice, but the only way forward is to listen to why, understand it from both sides; and to use your power to lead authentically and help overcome it.   

Learn from the lessons of the leaders before you – I imagine it’ll be many years before the world aligns on lessons learned from COVID-19. But one thing we know is that it is predominantly the countries with female leaders, e.g. Germany, New Zealand and Denmark, who are managing the pandemic best. So, although 2020 has reminded us that there is no one way to do things, to lead with compassion, courage and conviction feels like a great starting point to me. 

Lean in on your friends, colleagues, families and network – The impact lockdown life has had on social isolation and mental health has been huge; but it’s also reminded people of the importance of human connection – who now knows who their neighbours are? Are you speaking to your elderly relatives more? What I would like my little girls to remember as they face life’s challenges is that however you may feel, know that you are never alone. Actually, we should all remember this. We are never alone. People care.  

Protect and connect with the environment that provides for you – It has been absolutely fascinating to watch the how the pandemic has affected our natural environment this year. When time stood still and lockdowns happened globally… wow, just wow. Bluer skies, cleaner air, a resurgence in wildlife. I’d like my little girls to know just how important our natural environment is; and to not be complacent, we all play a role in nurturing and protecting it.   

Don’t be afraid to fail, it only makes you stronger – This year we’ve seen some businesses disappear, others thrive and a whole heap of start-ups. It’s been a year of stepping into the unknown. I grew up terrified of failing. Maybe it was because my parents were both established teachers, maybe it was because I was the eldest, maybe I just didn’t like to show any weakness. But I really do want these girls to know that it’s important to take a chance on yourself. If you fail, that’s okay. Learn and grow gracefully.  

So that’s it from me for now. A few thoughts I wanted to share as I step into my new #MumBoss life. I’m on maternity leave from 14 December and will be back towards the end of Spring. I’ll be mainly offline, not checking emails or socials… but I’m sure you’ll see me popping up on LinkedIn to promote the-thread’s content, and maybe at the odd event or two… and if you have any internal communications and engagement challenges you want to discuss, just get in touch with Laura or the team at laurah@the-thread.com or hello@the-thread.com.

Enjoy your festive season and see you in 2021! 

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