I'm dreaming of a rest this Christmas

Person wearing purple, hooded coat with arms in the air. They are on a snow covered path and are surrounded by trees.
The year is coming to an end. In London last week, a foggy afternoon turned into a snowy evening. Our MD, Anna Green, shares her love of the winter weather in this reflective piece, celebrating the value of difference, the importance of nurturing the next generation and how they can inspire us to help ourselves. 

Waking up to a world covered in white still fills me with a childlike wonder. The day feels new, like a blank page and full of possibilities. When it snows, I have a visceral need to be outside. My local woods are idyllic; I love the cold air on my face and now that my children are all grown up, I’m happy to simply walk and create footprints of my own. Then I stop. I look up and around. I take a deep breath. I drink in the quiet and the calm. I allow myself to be.

Did you know that since no two snowflakes follow exactly the same path, no two are exactly alike when they reach the ground? Snow crystals are sensitive to temperature and will change in shape and design as they fall and are exposed to fluctuating temperatures. 2022 has been a year of growth for Broadsword, not only in terms of our headcount, which has increased by 53%, but also in terms of each individual and their ongoing professional development. Like snow crystals, we are all unique and continue to be exposed to a rather turbulent business climate. Celebrating this difference, being attuned to the constant change in people and their lives, and building a firm, but soft foundation for everyone to land on, is the key. That way, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and have some fun.

Snow might appear white but it is actually translucent. When light passes through a snowflake, it is bent and scattered by the facets and imperfections in each tiny crystal which results in white light. How interesting that collectively these imperfections create a bright and brilliant covering that makes everything look and feel different, even the night sky. 

As the famous physicist Stephen Hawkings said: One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” I often find that we expect perfection from ourselves. When we fail to meet our high standards or make a mistake, the feelings of self-doubt and incompetence set in. 2022 has been a bold year for Broadsword, with expansion into new global markets, challenging ourselves in new and unexplored territories. So it’s been critical to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and keep moving forward. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but like a frozen landscape, nothing will ever grow there. 

The term snowflake generation’ was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in January 2018. The Financial Times defined it as: A derogatory term for someone deemed too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own, particularly in universities and other forums once known for robust debate.”

There’s nothing older generations enjoy more than complaining about the young. I often hear the younger generation described as less resilient and weak. However, in my experience, they are the exact opposite. This year, I have been amazed by the courage and honesty I have encountered in all the young people I’ve worked with at Broadsword and across the industry. Unashamed to expose vulnerabilities, their emotional intelligence shines through, and their grit and determination is clear despite the challenges they face. They don’t hesitate to voice their minds and speak out about circumstances that they believe are wrong. This generation is sensitive but make use of this trait, possessing compassion and sympathy for others going through difficult times and providing safe spaces for marginalised groups. 

I am proud of this generation. They realise that people really do matter; that we need to look after ourselves and take a breath. Like the snow, young people are uplifting, they help us enjoy the moment and reflect a brighter light in the workplace. Yes, a single snowflake is delicate and fragile, we need to nurture the next generation, but look what they can do when they stick together. 

The recent snowfall came at the perfect time for me, as 2022 drew to a close, I found I could actually stop for a moment. As a leader, I know that breaks are needed and I know I should take more of them. Taking the time to truly think and reflect on major decisions is one of the most important things I can do. However, for me there is a constant tension between performing, achieving, and health; I don’t find it easy to stop. It was actually one the youngest members of my team, who actively encouraged and inspired me to have a rest. She talked to me about how my wellbeing and how much it mattered.

It’s not been a straightforward year, again, for any of us in the events industry. I hope that we can all take a well-deserved break over Christmas. It will do us a lot of good to pause and refuel for what lies ahead next year and we will also set a shining example to those who look up to us. 

Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown