Nobody is perfect. When I wrote that JOMO was my word for 2020, part of my logic, was the power of saying No.
12 months later, I’ve not made the progress I had intended. We’ve spent at least 9 months trying to seek the Joy Of Missing Out on all kinds of things that we’d deemed normal: going on holiday, leaving the house for social visits, popping to the hairdressers.
I never expected that the universe would take the word so literally. I do apologise – and hope that I’ve been wiser with this year’s word. My entrenched habit of counting blessings has come into good use amongst a pandemic, Black Lives Matter and countless terrible happenings. I’m thankful for my book, a third podcast series, new career appointments and real progress in how Stemettes operates. As historic as 2020 was, life continued and my gratitude journal is full of small wins, personal wins, mundane wins and entertaining wins.
We begin 2021 older and wiser. New Years Resolutions are out of the window and folks are hesitant to set goals, now knowing that life as we know it could spin in an instant. I’ve got a secret project to focus on for the next 5 months and a new public role commencing in the Spring, so I’ve selected the word ENOUGH to guide me through the next 12 months.
2021: Enough is Enough
This post is more ‘note to self’ than usual. A word like ‘Enough’ means so many things. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s a determiner, adverb and pronoun. This year, for me, it means these 3 things:
ONE – I have enough on my plate.
There it is. In clear text. I have a lot going on. I’m a founder & CEO, Keynote Speaker, Podcaster, Board Member and Trustee. As nice as it would be to add a doughnut to my plate, or vegan sausage roll, I need to finish what’s on it to allow space for more. The doughnut is tempting, as would be any other piece of food that others assume I’d love to eat. But I need to be disciplined. Having too much on my plate will lead to things falling off it, or instability – neither of which I want, or those piling food onto my plate would want.
Almost all unexpected, I spent time and resources making decisions about these things. I’m thankful for all of them, but in 2021 will need to remember that dropping food or having an unstable plate doesn’t benefit anyone in the long run. Given last year’s ‘Say no more’ approach didn’t work, I’ll aim for ‘Say yes as much as no’ and go from there.
TWO – I’ve done enough.
Let’s stick with the plate analogy at this imaginary gathering. This is not the first time I’ve had food on my plate. At some point in the past, I’ve eaten before this imaginary gathering. That means that the doughnut being offered is not the first I’ve ever had or even the tenth. There’s a fair bit I’ve managed to do across 3 and a bit decades. Celebrating my wins is not something I’m very good at.
Once something has been completed, I’m onto the next thing or trying to figure out lessons learned from the experience gained in that achievement. For those of us who survived into 2021, we need to be conscious that 2020 was a tough year. We can’t take for granted what we lived through and how it wasn’t a given that we’d get here. So, in 2021, I’m going to spend more time dwelling on what has been achieved and using that to help me with ONE.
THREE – I am enough, they are enough.
When Black Lives Matter resurged earlier this year, I was initially very nervous. I’ve always been Black, so none of what had happened was in any way new to me. I was nervous about having to relive and share traumas for the benefit of folks who had been unaware or blind to certain realities – with no resulting progress. In an attempt to ‘do something’, I attended countless roundtables (which I will not be doing ever again) and got even more frustrated with empty and thoughtless chat. What role should I be playing in improving things beyond what I do already?
Being named the Most Influential Woman in UK IT was a pivotal moment for me on this front. The idea of influence is something I continue to grapple with and the award raised even more questions for me. It’s not a paid award or one with some sort of interview or submission process, so the panel saw enough in the ether to place me at number 1. Shortly afterwards, I was admitted to the BIMA Hall of Fame alongside Anne Boden of Starling Bank and the same questions arose in my head. Not quite an Imposter Syndrome type feeling, but something of: if I’m getting this, then what does this means for any and everyone else who was eligible? How am I at the top? Where do I go from here?
In 2021, I’m using these accolades and the other things I’ve done. I’m going to followup on my influence to open up even more spaces for folks who are eligible but unseen. So if you ask me something, I suggest someone else and you don’t follow up on the suggestion, I’m going to be asking why. If I’m enough, I have this influence and my own quality meter, then that person is also enough. Whether it is a fellow woman in STEM, a member of TeamStemette or my beloved assistant Suzanne, you better follow up with them and respect them as much as you’ve respected me by asking in the first place.
You have been warned.
Here’s to Enough in 2021.