In a few short days, the calendar will flip from the surreal of 2020 to the hope of 2021. And for many it will go unnoticed because, in that moment between the years, that split second when it’s neither 2020 or 21 and also both, when the past hands the baton to the future — a remarkably unremarkable thing happens:


When we awake on New Year’s Day, COVID will still be real. Black Lives will still matter. #MeToo will still be a growing club for whom no one ever wanted to be a member. Our nation will still be divided. And the trust we have placed in our electoral system and the peaceful transition of power we have taken for granted will still be tarnished and fractured. The calendar fixes none of that.

Leaders do.

2021 has genuine and powerful hope because:

  • Leaders have the courage to see the struggle of others and connect.

  • Leaders are willing to ask the difficult questions others fear to name.

  • Leaders take the time to listen and to hear.

  • Leaders know change isn’t a switch, it’s an evolution.

  • Leaders understand our differences are what make us stronger.

  • Leaders get that they don’t have all the answers, that’s not their job.

  • Leaders realize the collective wisdom and knowledge of many is greater than that of one.

  • Leaders see problems as opportunity and conflict as invitation.

  • Leaders want to honor others.

  • Leaders don’t want followers, they want partners.

  • Leaders seek engaged disagreement.

  • Leaders LEAD:  Love, Engage, Accept, Design.

In a few short days, the calendar will change to 2021. Lead. You need no title, you need no power and you need no followers to be a leader. You simply need the courage to lead with your heart, to respect others, and to engage in the conversations most of us ignore.

Let me be among the first to welcome you to 2021: the year of your leadership.

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash