The Lessons of 2020

Happy New Year. Many welcomed in 2021 with open arms hoping to put 2020 in the past. But 2020 offered us many lessons that we won’t soon forget.

Normally at the end of the year, I take time to reflect on what went well and what I’d like to improve on.

And then I choose a power word and plan what I will focus on for the new year.

But if 2020 taught me anything, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan.

Last year started off as most new years do.

Full of optimism and hope.

But by March, life was drastically different than anything we’d experienced before.

A dangerous virus was spreading globally and rapidly.

Schools and businesses had closed for undetermined lengths of time.

We were asked to stay away from anyone that we didn’t live with.

And for many this meant spending a lot more time with our families than usual (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but in some circumstances it is).

All of this affected us physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually in different ways.

We all did and continue to do what we have to in order to cope.

As the Year Went On

We’re now 9 months in.

Still living with as much, possibly even more uncertainty than back in March.

So as the holiday season came and passed, many of us couldn’t wait until the new year came hoping for a fresh start.

And while I’m normally a positive person, I can admit that ringing in 2021 renewed some hope but I don’t feel different.

I’m still very aware that we could be thrown another curveball.

I’m still processing all that happened in 2020 and still looking to feel more solid in what will happen within the coming months.

The Lessons Learned

Looking back on 2020, as challenging as it was, it was also a journey filled with incredible growth opportunities.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Plan but also be prepared to pivot. I planned to launch a course and membership last year and to start coaching again but my virtual assisting and online business management business grew by leaps and bounds that I didn’t do the things I wanted to in order to meet these goals. Plus having my daughter home and eventually learning virtual required adjustment and transition for all of us.
  • Be gentle with yourself. I tend to be hard on myself but everyone was dealing with a crisis so this meant we weren’t operating at full capacity. Allow yourself to just put one foot in front of the other and be okay with that if that’s what you need.
  • Health is wealth. We take for granted our abilities and health. 2020 was a huge reminder that these things are what allow us to do the things we love.
  • Enjoy the time you have with loved ones. I miss my family immensely. We usually get together a few times a year but we have only seen each other once and missed major holidays and while tech has kept us connected, I will hug them tightly when we can gather again.
  • Everyone handles crisis differently. A lot of polarization happened over how the pandemic is being handled, what should and shouldn’t be done but I learned to step back and remind myself that I am only in control of myself.
  • It’s not enough to not be racist, we have to be anti-racist and allies. While we watched as George Floyd pleaded for his life, it became clear and obvious that it’s time for major changes in the systems that have given privilege to some and marginalized others. Whether it’s the color of one’s skin, their sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, or weight, it’s time for equality. I found my voice this year and have committed to taking a stand and giving a voice to marginalized communities.
  • Humans are resilient, adaptable, and much more creative than we give credit. This year was filled with a lot of uncertainty financially but I saw many come up with creative and innovative ways to stay afloat.
  • Surrender. Oddly enough this was my power word for 2020. I don’t know what other circumstances would have taught me to lean into that and embody it.
  • We are stronger together. There have been many things that have divided us but now is the time for us to come together.

2020 has been a huge year of growth for me personally, professionally but these were the top lessons I took away.

Moving into 2021

So while I can’t say what 2021 has in store, what I can say is that we made it this far, if we can open up to be a little more compassionate, kind, and less judgmental, we will get through this.

I haven’t done my planning for this year yet.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I will be ready for a while to do so, but I will continue to take life one step at a time.

To keep leaning into the hard things with grace.

To continue learning, growing, and developing.

And to accept what is.