By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
The new year is always a time of deep reflection for me. I try to find meaning in where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I want to go. This year’s reflection began as I put away Christmas decorations in my attic guest room. There, a statue that sits on a side table caught my eye, as well as a book that sits open beside it.
The statue represents the Greek goddess Athena, who has always been special to me because of what she represents: wisdom, war, handicrafts, and so much more. In 2009, I visited Athens, Greece, on a school trip with my son and was impressed by the glorious statue of Athena located in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Myths and legends illustrate how she provided aid to heroes for their journeys, that they might achieve their desired results.
A chill came over me as I turned from the statue to the book beside it and read an inscription by Confucius: “Study the past if you would define the future.” The statue and quote together felt like an invitation to dig deeper into what the Greek goddess could represent for current times.
As the new year begins, we set out on journeys to become our own “heroes” in our lives—our best selves. The wisdom offered by stories of Athena can assist us in winning the war of productive change, allowing us to weave beautiful tapestries of future expansion and growth moving forward in the New Work World.
1. Be Skillful and Wise
Athena is known for her many creative skills and winning strategies, as well as her strong wisdom. Consider what can you do differently now than you did through the last couple of years that might allow you to become a better version of yourself. Try to be skillful and wise with your time, your resources, and the people in your life to bring yourself more fulfillment in 2022. Investigate upcoming trends in technology or your industry to determine what you can do to become a more desirable commodity in your work world. More than anything, however, keep in mind the need to balance your environment so you can obtain more joy and happiness in the office and in your personal life.
2. Speak Up and Be Bold
Athena is known for speaking her mind, unafraid of having ideas that might be different from the status quo. Look for ways to respectfully offer your peers and supervisors new, innovative ideas that could help streamline processes and procedures to increase the bottom line and enhance the reputation of your department or company. Consider how new technologies could make data tracking or report filing more efficient so more time could be spent on developing new business. Be bold and investigate your transferrable skills and how they might fit into unexpected job opportunities. If you’re exploring a new industry, speak up and verbalize why you are a solid contender even if you don’t have experience that exactly matches the new role. If you aren’t sure how to, perhaps you could boldly seek out a mentor or career coach who could help you with the process.
3. Let Failure Be Your Teacher
Athena sometimes did things that did not work out, but she didn’t allow herself to get tangled up in mistakes. She learned from them and moved forward. Athena is often pictured with a shield, helmet, spear, or owl to signify her ability to face challenges head on and strategize in war. The biggest war we all face is the struggle to try something new that might not yield success. Yet many famous writers, businesspeople, and educators have strongly expressed the benefits of failure and how it helps us grow and move forward. What chances are you not taking because you fear failure?
4. Expand Your Mind
Athena has long been associated with wisdom, intelligence, and innovation. Having sprung fully formed from Zeus’s head at birth, Athena has been said to teach humans both sciences and crafts and is credited with the invention of various tools. As we enter 2022, consider what you can do to expand your mind and enhance your growth, as well as the growth of those around you. With so many online courses available and a need for expansive thinkers in our changing world, there are many paths you might take this coming year to expand yourself so you might contribute more to your current job or to an upgraded role you might pursue in the future. Many companies value employees who work to expand their knowledge or volunteer to help others grow and expand as well.
5. Use the Energy of the Dove and the Eagle
Athena is depicted with various symbols she holds dear. When pictured with Athena, the dove and the eagle can represent victory in war or the meting out of justice in noncombative ways. In Greek mythology, the eagle is one of the most ancient symbols of humanity and is characterized by its fearless flight between worlds, regenerating and guiding souls. The dove symbolizes love and peace and is seen as a messenger of kindness and consideration. While Athena was known as a goddess of war, she preferred peaceful and compassionate resolutions to bloodshed. Consider how you might wage your own war of change so you can fly above the challenges you face to become the best version of yourself. Keep in mind that compassion and regeneration of spirit are as important in the struggle as facing challenges and moving forward.
As we move into 2022, keep in mind Confucius’s words: “Study the past if you would define the future.” Study past lessons from the ancients, and look to Athena for guidance on how to start your journey this year. Become skillful and wise, powerful and bold. Let failure be your teacher, expand your mind, and utilize the powerful energy of the dove and eagle. I am determined to make 2022 a year of expanded growth and awareness, and I hope you do the same! All the best to you in the new year!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.