Hello 2019. On the one hand, you are an arbitrary ‘new’ year. On the other hand, a marker in time to turn back and look forward on the journey of my life.

Reflection, intention-setting, self-coaching, self-as-instrument, personal visioning and all the other ways in which we, as leadership and organization development practitioners/educators call ourselves to practice what we preach, happens for me in a big way at this time of year. For sure I engage in these activities throughout the year. However, there is something about the rituals and festivities of Christmas and Advent for me, and the holiday season overall, that calls me to pause, reflect and reset my foci. This year, the holiday season was busier than most in recent history for me. I was travelling home to Sierra Leone from my Canadian home–that most coveted journey for diasporan Africans, other immigrants or any who call multiple places home. I spent many a late night catching up with family and friends and/or dancing the night away. I did everything from the soberly reflective and grounding to the pleasantly decadent. In the former category, I visited Bunce Island, one of 40 slave-trading fort sites on the West African coast (a must-do courtesy of visitsierraleone.org) and my father’s grave in the provinces for the first time. On the other hand, I enjoyed glorious beach and pool-side days and sunsets. I did zero work/writing all 3 weeks, although I had a glorious opportunity to be on radio talking about my short story collection, Identities.

The nature of this journey itself was reflection. A trip down memory lane. A return to my growing-up years. A grounding in my heritage. A looking back. A gazing forward. A reminder of my privileges when I had breakfast with a student being sponsored by the non-profit that I sit on the Board of: The People’s Foundation of Sierra Leone; or when I visited with my cousin who after we were all scattered by war had no choice but to return to the rural town from which my father’s side hails and continues to struggle for livelihood. So many emotions, so much to process. I ended the year with much to be thankful for and joyful about. I also turned inward to ask myself these questions:

  • What brings me the most joy and meaning and how will I create more of that for myself in 2019?
  • What is non-negotiable for me this year?
  • Who am I now? Who am I becoming? What story am I writing for myself?
  • My life/work vision: Where am I now and where do I want to go?
  • How can I be a contribution?

I am still working through these questions, living in the creative tension between where I am now and where I want to go. This is self-coaching, the work that leads to personal mastery and vision and creating the futures we want.

As a leader, a Leadership and Organization Development Consultant and a Coach to other leaders, it is imperative that I do my own work. I cannot support others to work on visions for themselves and the organizations they support in any meaningful or transformational way, when I have no true understanding of that journey myself. As the popular idiom goes, experience is the best teacher. So as I work through my own journey, hold my own creative tension, work on actions towards the future I want, I can both empathize and challenge others in their own journeys.


  • What brings you the most joy and meaning and how will you create more of that for yourself in 2019?
  • What is non-negotiable for you this year?
  • Who are you now? Who are you becoming? What story are you writing for yourself?
  • In your life/work vision: Where are you now and where do you want to go?
  • How can you be a contribution?

Happy 2019.