Q4 · 2014Year-end – finishing strong with presence

Hello everyone,

It’s the beginning of December. Has your year-end panic started yet?

That hectic rush that overcomes us around this time of the year, no matter how hard we try, seems unavoidable. It’s the final push to complete your projects for 2014. You are driving hard to achieve or exceed the objectives you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. You can see the year drawing to a close, and you are determined to get it all done. At the same time, you need to plan out the new years’ activities and make sure that everything and everybody will be ready when January begins. It’s “make or break” time.

But here’s the challenge: for the entire year, you have been giving it your all – top intensity, focus and commitment – and the time is flying by. A client recently said to me, “the days feel longer, but the years seem to get shorter.” And the stakes, of course, are always higher.

One of the bright spots for me this time of the year is watching the Tennis Davis Cup Finals (yes, Switzerland has won the trophy for the first time!) as well as the ATP World Tour Finals, especially since I had a collaboration with some of the Swiss Players. This is the year-end tennis tournament where the eight greatest players in the world, ranked by most tournament titles and ranking points collected throughout the year, battle each other in one final competition. These are the true elites of the sport: Djokovic, Federer, Wawrinka (Nadal wasn’t able to play this year because of an injury). What makes this tournament unique is that it comes at the very end of the year, when lesser players have already hung up their rackets for their well-deserved break between seasons. While these eight superstars have already battled it out all year long, and delivered their finest performances, their reward is the honor of being selected to compete one last time. They can’t opt out. They need to give it their all, with top intensity, even though they might be feeling the most depleted.

So how do they manage this moment? And how can you?

This is the period of time when you need your full presence, charisma, energy and focus to finish the year strong. At this level, it is not about playing it safe, but playing with presence.

You already know that as 2014 comes to a close, a lot of things will compete for your precious energy. You’ll feel pulled in different directions. When you think back on the work you already achieved, you might feel even less motivated to push ahead. You probably feel like hanging up your racket as well. When you think about what’s left to do before the year’s close, you might instantly feel stressed and overwhelmed. Neither of these reactions will lead you to the kind of focus that you need.

But when you can approach this moment with presence, then you are fully in control. You can act, and not just react.

What I mean by presence is being true and connected to your authentic self.

Especially at the end of the year, in this period of massive stress, you need to consistently focus on the things that matter the most and have a significant impact not only on the short-term, but also on the mid-term. Identify the areas where you can make the difference and focus on them. And: have the courage to park or let go of less value-adding activities. Then, fully connect with the relevant people – you will not only be a role model for your own performance, but inspire others to finish their year in the same mindset. You can do this deliberately by a daily ritual that I call the “Check In – activity” so that you are mentally and emotionally ready to show your “best side” every day. With such limited amount of time each day with the important people, you have to be committed to bringing this side of yourself to those daily interactions.

So I know that it’s crunch time, but let’s press the reset button. Take a few moments to think about what it will take you to get through December with strength, agility and focus. Know that this is the period of time when you make the difference. Finish your year strong with presence. And then hang up your racket and enjoy a well-deserved holiday break.

All the best,