A personal story of Sara Brink Berdajs about closing off 2020 and setting goals for 2021

It was around end of October, when I realized that we’re approaching the end of the year. Many of you might recognize the trigger: start of discussions around planning for 2021. Getting the strategic intentions and goals defined, and then connect the more tactical and operational aspects, like types of projects we want to do and have lined up, what does that mean for resource planning, etc.

The SMARTest end goal

Setting longer term goals has never really been my favorite thing to do: am I being too optimistic, too pessimistic, is it SMART enough, does it even make sense looking at the bigger picture, etc. Bottom line, I tend to try and make it just perfect. And yes, yes, I hear it: I try to make the future perfect, that’s absurd. Nonetheless, for the people that know me, it won’t come as a surprise that I have indeed spend some days pretending I have the magic crystal ball and trying to plan the year 2021 with 95% certainty (at least when it comes to operational goals). The absurdity of the approach did settle in eventually, and I stopped. And took a different route. Instead of trying to imagine the SMARTest end goal there is, I tried to imagine the feeling I would have, when I reached the goal.

I vividly remember the moment of the exercise: early in the morning, first cup of coffee, an unfortunately typical grey Dutch day outside. And me trying to place myself in a future situation. The first and the most prominent feeling that surfaced was pride. I envisioned myself feeling proud of my own achievements and achievements of people around me. My family, my friends, my team. And to be honest, there was no concreteness to it – I had no idea what exactly I would be proud of. So I used the warm fuzziness, went back to my list of goals and the obvious hit me: why would I only be proud at the end of next year? Aren’t I proud of things now? I was so busy looking at the future that I forgot the ‘now’. Sounds familiar?

Time will tell

For me personally, it has been a year of changes. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, I have started the year in a new role, with new responsibilities, different way of working and in search of a balance between all. It has also been a year when I have learned the most about people. What drives us, what makes us happy, what makes us fulfilled. At the same time, recognizing our struggles, weaknesses, frustrations.
I tried to incorporate these insights as much as possible to every day in Team Iperion. Recognizing when we’re at our best, and using that to inspire others, while also be open and honest to each other when we’re in a need of a little ‘pick-me-up’. And having that awesome team member around who is just listening when you need it the most or cracks a horrible joke that makes you smile.

Building a team based on authenticity and potential that each and everyone has, has brought such excitement and bright outlook.

In 2020, we have grown in ways I have never imagined before. The pandemic closed some doors for us, but we opened the windows. We have grown as a team, both in numbers and spirit. Has it been easy? Far from it! Are we looking forward to the holiday break? Definitely! But here we are, closing down the year and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together. I have never felt better and more connected to Team Iperion.

Oh and the yearly goals? Pretty much set. Are they too optimistic, too pessimistic? Time will tell. But as long as the feeling stays, they can never be wrong. My message to you: I hope you are proud as well! Of yourself, your closest ones, of your team. Take a moment, recognize it, enjoy it, celebrate it! Happy holidays!


Sara Brink Berdajs

Operations Manager at Iperion Life Sciences Consultancy


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