It’s 5.30am on Monday 8th March 2021 and I’m feeling like this year is just about to start. It’s got a lot to do with the fact that today is my boys first day back at school for the year so it will mean that I will have from 8am to 4pm with no school from home pressures or distractions. Is my Zoom meeting over their breaktime? Will they go back to class on time? What shall I make for lunch? (I get complaints if it isn’t a hot lunch!) Is everyone in class and paying attention? Or are they more focussed on gaming?

Whilst I’ve been looking forward to this date since the roadmap was announced. It hopefully marks the beginning of the end and the last time that schools will lockdown nationally. What has been unexpected over the last few days is the way my brain is processing what’s happening and how my thinking has shifted.

If I reflect on where I was at before Christmas. It had been a busy period and a hectic January and early February beckoned. I wrapped 2020 with some high-level plans on how I, as the CEO of my career, would like to take 2021 forwards. And then lockdown kicked in. The schools closed. And it has really been operational survival since the start of January. The COO has been in the driving seat. Get through the day and week. Do what needs to be done. It’s been high adrenaline firefighting on all fronts – work, school-from-home and the household with the occasional break for fresh air.

But then, towards the end of last week, as I celebrated one year of being a published author and the reality of 8th March loomed clear and certain, my strategic brain started coming into focus. Instead of operational thoughts about what needed to be done, I had started to don my CEO hat once again. I began to focus my thoughts on my freelance career beyond lockdown and what do I want to achieve in year two of being a published author? How do I build on the incredible journey I’ve had so far and take it to the next stage? What does success look like?

I’m still working on the answers to these, they haven’t come to me overnight. They need careful thinking and lots of exploration. But these ideas have been locked up inside me and now they are bashing the door down desperate to escape.

Today as I write this, I am feeling a huge sense of release and relief. It’s likely no coincidence that today is also International Women’s Day. As a working mother during lockdown, my resilience has been severely tested and is showing signs of significant wear and tear. The extra operational responsibilities of lockdown pushed us all so hard. It’s been all about survival.

Now it’s time for me to wear my CEO hat, raise my eyes above the day-to-day, and focus on year 2 of being a published author and finally getting 2021 started.

But first, a cup of tea in peace and quiet. Happy New Year.