After the Christmas and New Year break it may have been tempting to simply switch your mind back into work mode and get cracking.

But now that any urgent stuff, or that daunting inbox, is dealt with, it'd be good to pause a bit this week.

We've all had two years of crisis, with daily new twists in the pandemic. We've had to take care of our clients, staff, fiscal responsibilities and more — on top of all the worries everyone has about family and friends and life.

All of this has put our brains into animal mode — constantly scanning for potential threats to decide whether to run or fight, under pressure to hunt for the next meal for the pack.

This means we're reactive, shooting from the hip. But after two years, we're exhausted, and those shots from the hip can be a little trigger happy, and scattergun.

People come to us with their worries, complaints or demands and we instantly look for threats to our business, our leadership, or our self-esteem. This leads us to react emotionally and instinctively, rather than thoughtfully and constructively.

If you've noticed yourself getting angry, resentful, panicked, or a little paranoid, then your brain might be locked into animal mode — and it'd be wise to take some time this week for reflection and a reset.

I've talked to so many agency leaders in the last week or so who recognise this in themselves, so if you do too you're not alone.

Although there will still be twists and turns in the pandemic, and we still need to be careful by taking health precautions, we now know how to protect ourselves from the virus and it looks like the very worst is behind us. So we can calm our brains and look further ahead.

Make this the time to mindfully navigate a route back into more normal, healthier ways of leading and running your agency. Deliberately slow down your reactions so you can try to take the animal out of them, and be more fully you. Make this the time to become proactive rather than reactive.

So, welcome back, happy new year — and here's to a 2022 of feeling more human.

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Notable this week:

If your agency is on the journey between 10 and 30 people, we're launching our cohort-based programme for owners this month. You'll follow our framework for growing agencies through this phase, in a group with 3 of your peers and support from us and another experienced agency leader who has been through that phase. We're limiting this to 3 cohorts for now, so places are limited. Book now.

Subscribers to our podcast will get some special episodes this month as we're making available some of the members-only Agency Radar podcast episodes from last year. In each episode we talk to two agency leaders about what opportunities and threats they see ahead for agencies, and how they are preparing. Subscribe to our podcast feed to be sure you get them.