2020 was a tough year for all of us. I won’t go into all the negatives that occurred in 2020. We all know them. Before you read the following article, just know I am aware of how hard 2020 was for most. Life is hard. In an attempt to set my annual goals for 2020, I took some extra time to reflect on 2020. I encourage you to do the same. What were the silver linings? What did you learn? How did you grow? Take some time to reflect and write down some highlights.
Since this is not an every day task, I will share mine as an example to give you some help on how to do this and to get you thinking. After all, leaders must “go first.” Here are some highlights from my 2020 and lessons learned.
It is real. Everyone has anxiety. Superstars have it and so do common people like you and I. For my son, 2019 was a really tough year full of anxiety and hesitance. In 2020, he faced his fears head-on, and with some tough love from his principal and his parents, he punched his anxiety in the nose. He didn’t let it win. He overcame his fear of school and thrived.
I could stop here and call 2020 the best year ever. I, too, had a great deal of anxiety. 2020 simplified things to what is actually important. God’s message to me in the pandemic was to slow down, enjoy people, and breathe. In appreciating the simplicity of life, anxiety took a backseat to more trips with friends from Clemson, where we just enjoyed each other’s company and shared more laughs than ever.
Fancy people call it innovation. Some new things in 2020 were Zoom video calls. I hear people complain about endless Zoom calls. Yes, it can be hard to sit still, have the dog ‘Zoom bomb’ an important call, and have technical difficulties that delay meetings. However, we now have a new way of communicating without having to rush around town or even fly to places just for an hour meeting. The bible study I attend on Tuesday mornings was cancelled all year. Thanks to John Hardy, the guys at our table have a Tuesday Zoom call, where we check on each other, and take turns sharing life lessons. Relationships have deepened and we now know each other’s vulnerabilities and successes better. In the future, I see Zoom as an asset and a time saver.
Time is said to be our most precious asset. How we spend that time determines whether it is an asset or a liability. Extra time brought on by the pandemic allowed me to join a summer tennis league, work with consultants on my business, remodel my home and spend more time at the pool with my son. Alone time and quiet time was also a bonus. That time was dedicated to focusing on what needed to be done to survive the pandemic and to get the mind right. Like many, I put together puzzles with the extra time. My son and I put together ten 1,000 piece puzzles of stadiums we have experienced or envision ourselves visiting.
Business changed in 2020. Many were able to work from home. It was challenging to say the least. We failed, we succeeded, and we learned what works best and what not to do. I made mistakes, my staff made mistakes and we learned from them. We had less meetings and focused on today’s work and tomorrow’s work versus three-year goals and five-year strategies. It was a fun break to live in the moment for a change! Of course, we need goals and strategies, but we lived by our values and the results took care of themselves.
I wish I had a dime for every time I heard, “I can’t wait to get back to normal.” Really? I kinda like the new normal. Others can have the rat race. In all honesty, I have not finished scripting my 2021 goals since there is so much uncertainty in the world, and fluctuations in business. You may be experiencing the same. In writing down all the highlights from 2020, it became clear that some of the “new normal” is welcome. Forgive me for sharing so many personal experiences, however, I felt it necessary in order to show you how to highlight your year. Personal example is sometimes the best way to teach.
So, turn off the news, break out a piece of paper and pencil, and recap your year. I think it will have an overwhelmingly positive influence on your next chapter.
As always, feel free to email your comments, ideas, and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.