On January 1 every year, about 40% of us begin a New Year’s resolution. Lose weight. Travel more. Learn a new skill. Eat healthier. Save money. Get organized. Spend quality time with family.
Sound familiar? If these resolutions apply to you, you’re in good company. They are the most common in the U.S.
Yet by the end of the year, only 8% of people stick to their goal. In fact, for about 80% of us resolution-setters, we give up by February. Perhaps we’re looking at “giving up” the wrong way. In my experience, the act of surrendering can lead to the biggest personal and professional leadership development opportunities of all.
New Year or New You: The Power of Approaching Leadership Development Differently
The start of a new year inspires many of us to make a change. But notice something about those all-too-common resolutions. They are about doing something different. None of them challenge us to be something better.
That work is harder and much more meaningful.
When we pursue a better version of ourselves, every life we impact benefits—especially at work. A study by UKG across 10 counties found that for 70% of people, a leader has a greater impact on mental health for employees than doctors and therapists and matches that of a spouse or partner.
Yet the flip of a calendar date doesn’t magically help us show up better. The changes we need from ourselves must become an everyday leadership pursuit. Achieving something better involves planning, nurturing, and space for development. It takes a higher purpose and North Star guiding us along the leadership journey.
We cannot achieve this level of leadership development inside of the daily grind, stress, and burnout that prevents us from operating as our best selves. It’s tough to develop our leadership skills when the circumstances are too challenging to do anything but maintain the status quo. Our instinct is to keep fighting, chugging along, and going through the motions.
Our comfort zones are cozy for a reason. The path of least resistance gets the most travelers.
What if you surrendered the fight against discomfort and the unknown to pursue a better you? Rather than giving up, you give in to the new possibilities for yourself as a leader and a person. Instead of struggling with change, you embrace the daily work and intentionality of self-improvement and leadership development.
What if becoming a better version of yourself this year than last year was everyone’s New Year’s resolution?
Surrendering as a Pathway to Leadership Transformation
Tense muscles. Rapid, shallow breaths. Pounding heart. Anxiety. Pain.
This describes my first 60 seconds in an ice bath at a Wim Hof Method course in December 2023. The training combines breathwork, cold therapy, and commitment to master body and mind. I wasn’t new to the coursework, but on this day, something changed in me forever.
As I sat in the frigid water, I fought—to survive the cold, to breathe, to remember my training, to stay submerged for three minutes. My instinct was to fight everything.
Then something profound happened.
Alecia, one of the coaches, looked into my eyes and said, “Surrender.”
In that moment, I took a deep breath, sank lower into the icy water, and gave in.
The cold was still there, my circumstances the same, but something remarkable occurred. My breath slowed, and a sense of ease washed over me. I gazed at the sky. I saw beautiful cloud colors and birds soaring above. I became fully present in that moment.
You don’t need to endure an ice bath to learn how to surrender. But discovering how to let go and give in at just the right moment can change your perspective and presence dramatically.
“Surrender” still rings in my ear and has become the word guiding my leadership journey this year.
Surrendering in 2024 to Lead Differently
The journey of surrendering is not about resisting our leadership development path but rather allowing it to unfold. When we create ease within ourselves as evolving leaders, we grant those around us permission to let go and flow with the current—wherever it needs to take us—instead of fighting against it.
I had the privilege of experiencing this firsthand within my family.
One of the most remarkable gifts of my conscious leadership journey is learning how to create space for personal discovery with my two sons. Despite being in their early twenties, Alec and Jaden decided to spend New Year’s Eve with me and their mom in Nosara, Costa Rica. The location of the flagship leadership adventure for Conscious Leaders Quest has become one of our favorite places on Earth. We share such special moments together under the jungle canopy reading, surfing, hiking, eating, and enjoying time with friends.
Without surrendering to this special time, I might have missed what wonderful teachers my sons have become for me. I would not have been present to cherish each moment with them. I could have wasted time fighting to create a trip that met my expectations rather than allowing our time together to develop organically resulting in something far more special than I ever could have conceived.
When we surrender, we grow—and so do the people around us.
In this new year, I encourage you to lead with purpose, guided by the wisdom and value of letting go. It’s a conscious choice to relinquish the need to control every moment, solve every problem, and have every answer. Instead, discover how to be present and ask better questions. Allow your leadership to flourish and inspire others to pursue this incredible transformation.
Think of your New Year’s resolution as an endless opportunity for a profound shift in your leadership style. One packed with positive changes for yourself and the lives you touch, including your family, employees, and community. It’s the Journey of a Lifetime!
Start Your Journey with the Conscious Leaders Quest
Conscious Leaders Quest offers leadership adventures and community that empowers modern leaders to unlock their boldest potential. Our Process helps individuals redefine what it means to be the best version of themselves while embracing the thrill of the quest and power of a leadership cohort. CLQ takes a holistic approach to mind, body, and business. When leaders discover the best in themselves, they become empowered to cultivate the best in others.
Are you interested in advancing your leadership development journey through CLQ’s adventure-based approach? Learn more about our next quest in Bozeman, Montana, on June 21-27, 2024.