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Taking a Pause and Reviewing Your Year

by Stephanie De Flora

“In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.”

― Jeanette Winterson


Recently I was given the following professional advice – “When your task is complete, wash your hands because it’s hygienic and because what’s done is done.”


This advice comes on the heels of how the best laid plans unfold: there’s the PLAN for what we want to happen, the EXECUTION of the plan, and the REALITY of what happened. Subtle nuanced words, but for anyone who has mumbled the phase “I just wish…”, we know there’s a lot of space between the PLAN and REALITY.


As a former project manager, I can attest to the allure of the plan phase; the point in time where order and vision unite in the most perfect form. The client agrees to time, place and resources and all parties proceed toward defined objectives.


Execution is just as is sounds; it’s the moment where the majority of the agreement in the plan phase are executed, firing squad style, and left in almost unidentifiable remnants to be sewn together as Frankenstein v.2.0.


Reality are actual results at any measurement point – be it a mid-way check in or the completion of agreed upon deliverables (change requests included). This is typically a vague approximation of the original plan.


As we approach a socially mandated “check-in” by way of the end of the year, I offer up the advice of “washing your hands” of 2019 now, then pausing to sit in the “space” created between today and January 1, 2020.



Taking time to review where we are in our endeavors, objectively and without agenda, allows us to face reality with a revised plan designed with greater intelligence and less fear.


If we know Frankenstein is inevitable, why not plan by building in some spare parts such as:

  • Letting go isn’t about not caring, it’s about understanding attachment. Are you hanging out in a relationship (personal or professional) for reasons that have changed since you first created your plan? Money, opportunity, growth are not synonyms for self-sacrifice.

  • Intuition – it sounds nice but it can’t be inked on paper; or can it? Taking a pause to consider opportunities from a place of stillness offers up the ability to observe if your shoulders, neck and stomach are in knots or if there’s a rumble of excitement. Money, opportunity and growth are not synonyms of failing health.

  • Observe your reactions to time without an agenda, as they can inform your next level decisions. Are you acting out of fear (“I should be doing something”) or exploration (“I wonder if”)? Money, opportunity and growth are not synonyms of achievement of desired results.

  • Be intentional. Money, opportunity and growth are not synonyms of one another; you can have one or all depending on where you choose to spend your resources – time, money and capacity.

  • Be fearless, be cautious, be optimistic, but no matter what you choose to be, be specific. That way the plan you create has all the parts required.

Between the chaos of the holiday season and the shape of a New Year, may you find excitement in the promise of another chance.


Stephanie De Flora is a member of The Upside. She spent 18 years in corporate America prior to pursuing Intentional Transformations, focusing on recalibration of individuals’ skills and attributes for the successful achievement of larger goals.

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