Wrapping Up 2019 with Grace & Gratitude

Nov 20, 2019 | Blog

A lot has changed for Collaborative Justice Partners this year and while I’m still feeling my way around running the business on my own, I wanted to share what I’m most grateful for as 2019 is wrapping up. I like to make lists, for pretty much anything and everything, so here are the top 5 things I’m grateful for in 2019: 

  1. Clients. We absolutely have the best clients. While I am the consultant and working as a change agent to help organizations get to where they want to go, it’s really a two-way street. I am especially thankful that my clients listen with an open heart and mind when I offer solutions to help smooth out any bumps they’re experiencing. These bumps, if not addressed, may prevent non-profit law firms from helping as many folks as they can which is everyone’s goal. I am grateful to each and every one of you and appreciate the return business.  Even more importantly, I am honored to be or have been part of your team and to continue to co-create the future of pro bono alongside you.                                                                      
  2. Colleagues. My definition of colleagues is pretty broad. My colleagues are the many folks that are part of the pro bono ecosystem. Also, my colleagues include everyone from legal aid staff and executives to small business owners. Many of us share similar challenges,  but almost every time I reach out to someone they typically listen (which is so important), and I receive either guidance, feedback or pushback as needed to help sort out the issue. I am grateful for all of you I consider colleagues and you know who you are!                                                                                      
  3. New Beginnings. Change is the only constant. I say this a lot to anyone who will listen and repeat it internally when needed. Even in trying to embrace this, it does not mean I am overly ecstatic when change comes knocking on my door. It has happened a lot lately, too. As you likely know, CJP looks really different than it did just this past January. I miss working with Jenn every day and have started a chat (or two) with the walls in my office, but it’s also a good opportunity to fully dive back into pro bono, my true passion, and figuring out CJP’s course for 2020. Stay tuned! This one is still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?                                                     
  4. Family Changes. This year brought a lot of change to the Garcia homefront. Our oldest, Sabrina, graduated from high school and headed off to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. It’s only four hours away from Orlando but it feels farther.  So far, the transition has gone better than expected, so I am extra grateful. I am sure there will be some shenanigans during the next four years, but right now it’s okay and I am loving that.                                                                                                       
  5. The Unknown. This is really outside of my comfort zone, but I am grateful for the things that haven’t happened yet. I get bored with life pretty easily and you never know what tomorrow brings. It forces you to enjoy today. I’m trying really hard in 2020 to enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination. It won’t change much regardless of how much I worry, so why worry at all? Okay, I’ll still worry a little. 

I don’t know about you, but as I reflect on 2019, I start to visualize what 2020 may look like. However, to look forward, we usually need to do a review so we can keep what worked and change up what didn’t. Here’s what I will be doing soon and invite you to do as well: 

  1. Review the outcomes you set to achieve in 2019. At this point, you have a pretty good idea of whether you are going to meet or exceed those goals. If not, how can you course-correct next year? Were the goals too ambitious or maybe you underestimated how much time you spent putting out the fires?                                      
  2. Add at least one stretch goal for 2020. Yes, I am recommending you add at least one goal you may or may not reach depending on a bunch of factors you cannot accurately predict. I see too many of us, in the legal profession especially, play it safe. While it is understandable to keep the goals realistic, funders or even your boss may appreciate you trying to stretch beyond what’s expected. It’s like that whole sentiment, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale                                                                                                                   
  3. What are your personal professional goals for 2020? Yes, you read that correctly. This isn’t about what goals you promised in a grant application or what your boss wants you to do. What do you want to try in 2020? For example, have you always wanted to improve your writing skills and think trying your hand at an appellate brief might help you work with that?  Yes, you’ll likely need to discuss this with your boss, but it’s worth a shot. Remember, it’s important to develop an array of skills and you might as well spend that “free” time doing something that interests you. I am still thinking of mine, but happy to update everyone in my first blog in 2020.                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Work-life balance. I wish we had a better term for this, and maybe there is one. If so, send it to me! Some of my busiest days are the days I still make it to a yoga class because that hour I take on the mat means I am more productive the rest of the day. At least this works for me. Figure out what this means to you and then incorporate it every week if not every day. No excuses.                                                                               
  5. Make adjustments to your tribe if needed. I always find that within a year the friends or colleagues I reached out to for advice, and pushback when needed, shifted depending on the issue and how much of their guidance I was willing to entertain.  This might be a good time to think about whether your go-to people in 2019 will still be your go-to people in 2020. It doesn’t mean you love or appreciate them any less, but again, change is the only constant. 

I’m excited for 2020 and I have no clue how it’s going to look, but I hope we’ll all enjoy the journey. Happy Holidays and may 2020 be your best year yet! 

-Ericka 

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