2020 will be one for the history books! I keep hearing people talk about adjusting to our “new normal” and excitement around getting “back to normal” now that we have a COVID-19 vaccine, however something doesn’t quite sit right with me. I am always challenging myself (and clients) to be open to other perspectives to deepen our emotional intelligence. So rather than trying to get things “back to normal”, what if we don’t return to the way things were?

By not returning to normal, rather shifting the way I see and do things for a new normal, I am much more hopeful for our future. I mean, there is some normalcy we are all craving like having kids back in school, socializing with whomever we want, whenever we want, eating out, not wearing masks, and travelling…  just to name a few. But what I am talking about is not going back and accepting the way things were with the busy-ness, systemic racism, social injustice, and our complacency. 

Not only did we experience the COVID-19 pandemic, the tension also exposed the deeply rooted inequities and injustices in our American culture. It called people to wrestle with their beliefs, their core values, and for many, advocating for those beliefs. For me, it challenged me to get clear on my stance around social issues such as racism and disparity gaps, and what I could do to make a difference. I’ve embraced my own privileges and challenges as a first-generation Chinese-American (a native-born U.S. citizen whose parents are foreign born), being in a biracial marriage, raising biracial children, and living in a small, rural, fairly homogeneous community. 

I found myself in advocacy roles empowering ESL (English as a second language) speakers in leadership roles, voicing my opinions and solutions at the local level through Town Council, campaigns, equity task force meetings, and coalitions, and accountability for our elementary schools and school district. 

I am still navigating, listening, and learning knowing that leadership and advocacy will certainly be a part of my 2021 vision. I just can’t “return to normal” after seeing the injustice, disparities, and complacency we have been accustomed to. My one word for this new year is LISTEN.

“If we only listened with the same passion that we feel about being heard.”

-Harriet Lerner

What will not returning to normal look like for you in 2021? 

Send me a response by Tuesday, January 12th to be entered to win a copy of “Do Nothing” by Celeste Headlee and a few other giveaways!

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