Dear Family & Friends,
We are saying goodbye to 2021 and I know that for many people this is a time for reflection, gratitude and celebration of the year we are leaving behind. 2021 has been another roller coaster of a year, with more than a few twists, turns and loops along the way.
Some of you know that I share a newsletter every year – so here is our News in 2021. I have tried to capture it in pictures, as they speak a thousand words! Personally, it’s been an expansive year with change & grief on one side AND contribution, growth, learning, deep discovery, and hope on the other.
Adversity has a way of doing that – of building our muscles for life. I realize that hope is a muscle that keeps us moving forward. I am grateful to be part of some amazing and supportive communities that helped me strengthen this muscle.
As Samah turned 21, she made new choices and decisions and faced challenges that really tested her while she was alone in Cambridge. While it was a huge achievement to complete 3 years of HSPS –Human Social and Political Science degree, she decided to continue studying a year in Business at the prestigious Judge Business School, Cambridge. She now graduates in June 2022.
Covid played spoilsport and Samah spent more time in her room and learnt to stay focused on what really mattered to her! It wasn’t easy and I am glad we were there for each other. And she had the support of some amazing friends! These experiences were pivotal in helping her do what gave her joy and restore her energy. From co-creating a podcast on empathy, to living in London in summer, dealing with disappointment when she was not able to come home when it mattered most, and feeling a sense of purpose when she chose to continue with a business degree, she slowly started getting her mojo and energy back. I think you already know that Samah is my biggest inspiration!!
The highlight of my professional journey over the last 12 months is directly linked to my level of commitment and the call to be with my family in very trying times. My biggest learning this year was my ability to navigate through the ups and downs of the emotions and uncovering parts of myself that I have never discovered before. During a couple of ‘pausing’ moments, I was able to reframe my situation and shift my perspective which led to making conscious choices for my personal life and my business.
I had the honour of coaching women changemakers, entrepreneurs, leaders who were looking to reimagine their lives and have the courage to take quantum leaps in their leadership journey. Being a coach is a deep process of personal development as you can only partner with others if you are helping yourself. Therefore, in March 2021, I embarked on a journey to work towards my PCC level (Professional Certified Coach) certification from ICF and I am glad to say that it has been a very fulfilling experience and am awaiting the credential. Grateful to my mentors and peers for supporting me throughout the year.
We also celebrated the 1st year anniversary of the ‘Courage to Soar’ Group coaching Program and I got to meet some of the passionate cohort members as well. I continue to be inspired by their stories of courage and dedication to write a new chapter in their lives.
Facilitation & Speaking:
‘A ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.’ This quote by John A Shedd is representative of how I feel about my life. Comfort zones are boring. Playing it safe keeps me away from living life purposefully. When I look back at some of my fondest memories this year, I have enjoyed the possibilities that arose outside my comfort zone – by way of collaboration opportunities, designing and facilitating leadership journeys for global clients and contributing to promoting the power of facilitation globally. What stands out for me is that I chose to be part of meaningful projects and speaking engagements!
I am most thrilled to receive the Gold Facilitation Impact Award for a project to develop facilitators in Saudi Arabia. I am fortunate that I was part of a dream team with an incredible mentor and 13 facilitators from 8 countries to be part of this 2-year project.
Being on the IAF Board (International Association of Facilitators) as the Regional Director for Asia for 3 years has been fulfilling. It all started with a vision…and I am happy to be witnessing the impact worldwide. I couldn’t be prouder of our leadership team and our members for their commitment to the profession, Chapter growth and in supporting one another’s efforts when challenges slowed us down. 2021 will certainly be a year I will remember for the epic global Facilitation Summit and One Asia Events in Facilitation Week.
My big focus this year was my family and I am thankful I was physically present to be with them when it was important. I travelled to London to be with my sister who means the world to me. She taught me the real power of hope, patience, belief in God & true surrender.
The most heart breaking was losing my amazing dad in November and I feel so lost without him. I have gone through all the cycles of grief – from shock, anger, regret and denial. I was very hopeful he would get better, and I am full of sadness as I have so much unexpressed love I want to show him.
One advice that helped me cope with my grief was that my relationship with my dad didn’t have to end. I could still continue to have conversations with him, think of him when I watch a movie or read a joke, or do a crossword or eat his favourite food. This impulse did not end with his passing. What ended was the possibility of a response.
Thank you to each one of you who helped me through this tough time. Grateful always.
As we welcome 2022, I want to thank you for your presence in my life, and for your support and sharing. Here’s wishing you a happy and inspiring new year. I encourage you to dream big and set courageous goals for yourself.
Lots of love.