2022 Word of the Year: TRANSPARENCY

Three years ago (2019), I stumbled onto the concept of choosing ONE WORD to drive you through the year. That particular year, I chose DISCIPLINE. My intention had been to be consistent with diet and exercise, to get back into a regular Bible study, and be more purposeful with my time.

As life tends to happen, we were thrown several unexpected curveballs that year: my best friend (who lives in Texas) was diagnosed with breast cancer, a childhood friend that I have remained in good communication with was diagnosed with lung cancer, my father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer, and we took in a second foster placement that was intended for adoption. The result was a whirlwind of a year. My best friend kicked the breast cancer and my childhood friend kicked lung cancer (although, it has sadly returned within the last year), but unfortunately my father-in-law succumbed to his lung cancer (which was already Stage 4 when discovered). Additionally, the foster placement threw us for a loop when the father – who was supposed to be in jail for a very long time – got out on a technicality and decided he was going to fight to get his daughter back. It was a ROUGH year. BUT…..I did manage to get on the diet-and-exercise train, and by the Fall, I was down 25 pounds – AMAZING!

Then 2020 happened……and I think we all know how the last 2 years have gone. We’ve survived, but none of us knows which way is up anymore. Surprisingly, 2020 wasn’t terrible for us. Having just been through an awful 2019, having extra time at home to spend with the family and discover fun hobbies like painting didn’t seem so bad. But by the end of that year, I began to gain back all that weight I lost (as many of us did, sitting at home eating and drinking out of boredom). And then 2021 was pretty awful. We started to know many more people that were infected with (or died from) COVID. The job market became a NIGHTMARE, first with people not wanting to work when everything opened back up, and then once we started getting people working again, work ethic was awful (no more two-week notices; just quitting with no warning). As an HR professional, this aspect definitely took its toll on me. We as a family even finally got COVID (after fending it off for 18 months), and my husband had a particularly difficult time with it (though thankfully the rest of us had a mild run of it). And by Thanksgiving and Christmas, I started realizing that nearly EVERYONE around me was struggling mentally and emotionally with the aftershocks of COVID – from losing a loved one, to losing/changing jobs, and even divorce and strained relationships.

As I have grasped to get ahold of life again and regain some semblance of normalcy, I find myself reverting back to this idea of ONE WORD to propel me into 2022. After much soul searching and deliberation, the word I have chosen to focus on is: TRANSPARENCY.

Why ”transparency”? Because, even though digital/social media has made it so much easier to communicate with one another, I find that we ”filter” what we communicate – we only show what we want people to know, which often times is the ”pretty” side of things. Even though I have a phone number and email through which to communicate work-related things, employees are now ”ghosting” the workplace without warning or communication. We avoid each other in day-to-day conflict and confrontation and hide behind “keyboard courage”. We are not ”TRANSPARENT” at all.

And so it is with all of these things in mind that I begin trying to be more ”transparent” and purposeful in my communication in 2022. While I don’t want to become one of *those* people who overshare ALL of the awful things of their life, I do want to share the struggles and tough days along with the successes. I want you all to know that you are not alone. (I know that I personally take comfort in knowing that sometimes.) I want to do my part to effectively communicate with those around me and in my life, so that they don’t think I have ”ghosted” them or left them in the dark. I want to be honest about what I’m going through. I want to be open and honest about where my boundaries are. I want to be forthright in my intentions. I want to be TRANSPARENT.

As you think about the concept of TRANSPARENCY, where do you fall short? Where could you be more open, honest, and forthright – about your intentions, about your boundaries, about your struggles as well as your successes? How can you improve in your communication with others? Let’s be more TRANSPARENT with one another in 2022.