Santa can now relax after his big night. Hope the kids in your life aced their big performance review and rated highly on his naughty-nice scale.

The Holidays are a good time for the pause that refreshes — even without drinking a little glass bottle of Coca-Cola as Santa did in those old commercials that created our modern images of Santa Claus.

Here are a few points to ponder to help you pause and reflect on key lessons from Santa Claus:


We Create Our Own Reality

On Christmas Eve, when our son, Chris, was 9 years old, he left a letter to Santa asking for evidence of his existence. His series of tests were easy for us to solve, and Chris was a believer for one more year. He did leave milk and cookies for Santa but advised him that he didn’t need the calories. You’re likely not surprised to hear; he’s now a lawyer.

Quantum physics is proving that reality truly is in the eye of the beholder. We’re learning there isn’t an objective reality. Perhaps the reality we see is the reality we’re looking for? My I and your I are seeing different realities. What’s real and what’s virtual is getting ever blurrier.

Life is an optical illusion. If we’re not careful, we can end up P-ing and should’ing ourselves. How much more incredible is flying reindeer than wearing crap glasses, looking for all that’s wrong, and worrying ourselves sick?


You Gotta Believe

Optimism, hope, and building on strengths help us enjoy life much more than the poor Grinch, who’s making himself and everyone else miserable. We tend to get back what we give. Leaders who believe in their team and see the best in them, tend to bring that out.

Less effective leaders — and especially bully bosses — look for and magnify weaknesses. Not only should they get lumps of coal, but they also get lower performance and more of the behavior they’re expecting.


Leadership Can Come from Unlikely Places

Leadership is action, not a position. Leaders are defined by what they do, not the role they’re in.

Rudolph saved the day because Santa was flexible and open to leadership, emerging from unconventional places during the foggy crisis. He fostered a culture of innovation and inclusiveness that boosted agility and trust.

Leadership is about values and beliefs. Some managers try empowering, but it’s often a form of power and control. Highly effective leaders empartner. This approach is grounded in an optimistic set of beliefs and attitudes about people and what they want from their work.


Strategic Use of Time

You think you’re overwhelmed! How about the logistics of delivering toys to all the world’s kids in 24 hours? The Big Guy and his team spend most of their year planning and preparing for the big day.

As Father Time gets ready to turn things over to his fresh, young replacement, it’s a great time to take stock with a look back and prepare for the New Year by setting our priorities and choosing the big rocks we want to ensure we’ve put first into our limited space.

You might want to pause and reflect with a Strategic Use of Time Assessment. It’s built around what we’ve found to be the seven deadliest time traps for leaders.


Stay Nourished and Get Help along the Way

Santa frequently stops for milk and cookies for himself and carrots for the reindeer. As 9-year-old Chris advised, he’s likely better off with fewer cookies and more carrots. But he does take the pause that refreshes — with or without a Coke — and makes sure his team is well fed, too.

Year-end is a time for reflection. And after a year like this one, we have lots to reflect on! In their classic song, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” The Beatles sing, “living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see.”

I am not sure how easy it is to live with eyes closed. It can certainly be dangerous to our health and well-being. We might end up where we’re headed.


Reflections on Getting Old or Growing Old

In his book, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, psychology professor Martin Seligman encourages reflection and renewal, “weigh up your life once a year. If you find you are getting short weight, change your life. You will usually find that the solution lies in your own hands.”

We can get old or grow old. As organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, and author of Think Again, Adam Grant, recently posted, “Wisdom doesn’t come from experience. It comes from reflecting on experience. Between ages 25 and 75, the correlation between age and wisdom is zero. Gaining insight and perspective is not about the number of years you’ve lived. It’s about the number of lessons you’ve learned.”

Here are links to a few articles you might find useful in your year-end R & R (reflection and renewal):

17th-century English poet, Edward Young, said, “They only babble who practice not reflection.” Yoda, the funny little Star Wars philosopher and teacher, would like how he phrased that sentence. So, as Yoda might say, here’s a great way to end the year…babble, do not. Reflection guide you, it will, if you pause to see where going you are.


Oh No, Santa Lost a Ho!

Even Santa’s been challenged by this crazy year. Here’s a humorous Christmas tune to add a chuckle to your Claus pause — Santa Lost a Ho.