2016 ey? Pffft – so over it. What a year that was… One to forget for many, no doubt. So many things happened that just seemed to give the year a bitter aftertaste. A general feeling of “Urgh, I’m glad that’s over!”. So, is 2017 a positive year?

2016 started with a massive stock market slump that began in January and for many seemed to come out of nowhere. It turned into a double whammy when David Bowie died, and anyone who thought it couldn’t get worse was in for a bumpy ride. Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan also died in January, followed by Ronnie Corbett, Prince, Umberto Eco, Johann Cruyff, Gene Wylder, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael – to name but a few. We all breathed a sigh of relief whenDavid Attenborough made it through unharmed!

So often death comes from left field and surprises us. But even the pollsters didn’t predict Brexit – goodness knows, even Boris Johnson didn’t think it would happen (allegedly). The referendum result to leave the EU was swiftly followed by another stock market crash, which had only just recovered from January’s downturn. The media subsequently reported a rise in hate crimes and the UK was left spinning and discussing what would happen next.

All the while, we observed the US presidential election campaign and with trepidation, wondering whether Trump would be elected. His arguably aggressive and divisive rhetoric appealed to many and almost just as many feared he would actually win the race for the Whitehouse. Guess what, it’s 2016. He won and became President elect Donald Trump.

I’m not here to condemn or judge Brexit or Trump. Only time will tell whether these were good decisions. But what it did do, in 2016, was create tension and a sense of negativity amongst many. Adding to that, X-Factor is still on our TVs providing a negative undertone from its judging panel – although I must admit that’s just an assumption. I didn’t watch a single minute of it in 2016. But I have no doubt that someone got mocked and laughed at for their inability to sing or perform on a stage. Am I right?

Not all Doom and Gloom

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Murray wins Wimbledon and later becomes world number one. Team GB come second in the Rio Olympics. A Muslim is elected Mayor of London in Sadiq Khan. Tim Peake lifted our spirits by completing his first space mission. Bob Dylan eventually accepts the Nobel Prize for Literature. The number of tigers in the world rises for the first time in a century. Many friends and colleagues seem to have great personal achievements and experiences – perhaps that’s the case every year, but in 2016 they just seemed to be keener to mention and talk about it.

You could simply argue that any kind of change creates tension and feelings of negativity. After all, humans are creatures of habit. And the part of the population that voted for Brexit or Trump, 2016 was perhaps a very positive year. But one fact remains. 2016 was a very unsettled year. It created a level of uncertainty that not many people get truly excited about.

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A more positive 2017?

As we move into 2017 I believe many of us are ready for a more positive year. We’re ready to put aside negative things and influences and opt for the positve ones. I think we’ll see this turn into a trend across many areas in our lives this year. Whether personal or business, positivity will be reflected in our communications and messaging.

I have already noticed some initial tendencies towards a more positive outlook. Instead of the X-Factor we’re now seeing “Let It Shine”, a refreshingly positive talent show with Gary Barlow to find the cast for a Take That musical. Whether you like Take That or not doesn’t really matter. The fact is that after more than a decade of public humiliation with the X-Factor, aspiring singers now have a chance to perform on TV and be treated with respect. But this is not about talent shows. Many of the articles posted on Linkedin during January seem to be brimming with optimism and focus on the positive outlook for 2017, as well as the opportunities that lie ahead. The Queen is still alive after a month of being down with the cold and Andy Murray is to become a knight. January 1st seems to have given us permission to put 2016 behind us and look at the glass half full again.

So, will 2017 be a year when positivity returns to our screens, businesses, streets and minds? Feel-good series Downton Abbey is even rumoured to make a come-back – so why not?! Ultimately, it is up to each and every one of us to make that change. To elect to be more positive and look at the opportunities laid out before us.

Speaking for myself, I certainly feel very positive about 2017. I hope you do to. And I’d love to cross paths with you and make a positive difference to your year in 2017.

Until then, all the best to you and yours



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