We reached the last day of 2020. Finally, some might say. But let me ask you to reflect if 2020 has been indeed as bad as we seem to think. It has been difficult; there is no argument about that. But difficult does not necessarily mean it has been the worst, as most of the reactions seem to imply. This morning David and I did a quick analysis of 2020 from his perception. Even for an 8 years old boy, 2020 has actually brought more positive and good things than bad ones, as he could count on the last day of the year. This reflection applies for people who did not experience severe illness or death of the loved ones during 2020. For them this year will remained marked by such events. But for all the others who were just deprived of the so called ‘normality’, mostly revolving around the glorified comfort we take for granted, 2020 should be treated as a lesson learned rather than a nightmare. Because a lesson learned remains with us and helps us get better, while a nightmare we just aim to forget and get over it as quick as possible. And we don’t learn much out of it because of this.
I went through the memory lane of my Facebook posts on December 31st for the past few years and I could track the shift in emotions, plans, hopes and aspirations. I’ve been reflecting on this year for the past week and managed to cluster my reflections under 21 points: the hard and the new& good of 2020, and my aims for 2021. Here they are:
- Not being able to travel – definitely the most difficult thing for me was to be on the ground for 11 month now. You see, travelling for me is much more than just work or sightseeing. Travelling for me is childhood dream come true and my most powerful source of energy refill.
- Find ways to refill with energy – as I was deprived by travelling, as my main source of energy, finding an equivalent was very difficult. I actually am not sure I have found an equivalent.
- Not be in the same room with people – my work is relying heavily on interaction with people, mostly in training and conference rooms; moving all these interactions behind the screen has been a difficult challenge for me. I find myself saying to friends that I so much look forward to be in the same room with 100 people all at once. Just to see how much I miss this!
- Manage emotions – clearly one of the most challenging tasks for me. I speak of my emotions, let alone the emotions of the child. Hard to deal with frustration, disappointment, and distress.
- Manage expectations – maybe this goes hand in hand with the emotions, but still I felt it’s better to list them separately. Especially since I understood that in March my coping strategy was the thought that we’ll be indoors for 2 month, then summer will come and all will be over. And by the end of May I realized this is not at all how things will go. And I had to seriously think about how I manage my expectations.
- Balance responsibility and fear – I found it very difficult to remain rational, act responsible and control fear-driven reactions and decisions; it took a heavy intentional process of identifying when fear takes control over my decision and put reason and responsibility back in control. I can’t brag it worked all the time, but a few times I really managed.
- Set limits – one of the toughest. Set limits to myself. To my working time. To my son. To my family. To fear. To emotions. Still working on it.
The NEW & GOOD:
- Train & coach online – after my first training delivered online, one of the participants said, in the final reflection round: “You can actually do training online!” And I thought: “Yeah, my thoughts exactly!” All my work was relocated online. I learned to do this. I learned to manage myself for this. And, judging by the feedback I got, I did a pretty good job! And I intend to continue.
- Deliver new programs and services – once I got over the shock of online training& coaching, nothing could stop me. This year I have tested a wide range of new programs and services that will become permanent in the years to come. After fear of not being able to pay my utilities bills in March, drawing the line in December I can definitely say it’s been a good year. Better than one could expect under the given circumstances.
- Accept I am actually an entrepreneur – I have worked for the past 20 years mostly in nonprofits and since I started to provide independent training and consultancy services, most of my clients have been nonprofits. I was, somehow, still part of the nonprofit sector, but in fact I was not. And it has not been easy to internalize. But it’s true and this year I have come to look at what I do more as a business than an extension of my previous work for nonprofits, just under different contractual conditions (as I was thinking). Yes, I am an entrepreneur building a business. And I have to look at this from the right perspective to be able to succeed. Pretending I do something else will not get me where I want to be.
- Redefine my mission and purpose – despite the fact that, like all mortals, I have to pay bills and provide for my family, I am driven by a mission and a purpose in all I do, be it working in nonprofits or building a business. And I redefined my mission and purpose this year. I want to help people matter. For themselves. For their families. For their organizations. For their companies. For the society. I want to help people matter. This is the mission of my business.
- Spend more time with my son – because I was not travelling anymore and because school moved online, I spent a lot more time with my son. And this is a privilege for a working mother that I only dreamed of before. It came with a price. And I have a better idea on the ideal balance that I want to reach in this regard.
- One can actually become part of an online community and feel good there without having met anyone in person – I have joined a community of personal growth focused people and have not had the chance to meet any of them in person; but actively following the Facebook group made me feel part of this community; I can picture the moment when I will eventually be in front of some of the people there and I will just hug them as if we are old friends, even though it will be the first time we actually meet.
- I finally started to exercise for 20 minutes a day – I’m sure you also know a lot of people who have on their wish list to start exercising. It’s been on my list for a looong time. And it finally started to happen this year. Because I had such lower back pain that I could no longer sit down for more than 10 minutes. I could hardly bend to wash my face in the morning and I could not do almost anything around the house. So I started to exercise to regain my mobility and diminish the pain. I have been doing this now for 25 days in a row. It’s not yet a habit, but I am determined to make it one and continue exercising for 20 minutes a day.
The 2021 AIMS:
- Build a community of people who matter – follow me on Facebook to get details on this community. I will invite you to join ☺, be ready!
- Provide value to people and organizations through my programs and services – I work with passion and belief; I have to believe in what I do to be able to perform, and I am very passionate about my work. I don’t have a job and I don’t do tasks. I have a passion and I provide value to those I work with. I don’t work for people or organizations; I work with people and organizations.
- Reconnect with the nonprofit sector beyond the service provision relationship – old habits die hard and there are some old habits I just don’t want to let die. Next year I look to reconnect with the nonprofit sector beyond a service provision relationship. I want to join the governing body of an organization and continue to contribute to the best of my abilities.
- Consolidate my coaching skills, especially my team coaching skills – my encounter with coaching has been very powerful this year. I’ve experienced it from the position of participant in the coaching process. I trained to become a coach myself. I have practiced being a coach. I discovered find the group or team coaching more suitable with my skills and abilities and I look forward to develop this further in 2021.
- Scale-up the use of the tools I have available – this year I got certified as trainer and consultant in behavioral analysis, the Maxwell DISC method, and I also gained access to Leadership Game. These are two excellent tools that I am determined to put to hard work this year. Stay tuned to find out more.
- Launch 3 new programs I have been spinning around in my mind for some month now – after different try-outs and tests, I have clearer ideas for a couple of new programs I want to launch in 2021; they are a mixture of training and coaching focused on leadership skills and resilience of people and organizations. Processing the crises experience is also on my try-out schedule and a more pragmatic follow-up on how we take the next step after the crises.
- Finally, I want to scale-up my business – this is a process I already started with accepting that I am actually an entrepreneur building a business. Some of the points above serve this purpose, but there are more objectives attached to this point aimed at taking my mission and purpose forward, double my income and develop my bold sales skills. Yeah, I said sales. Because when you build a business, you sell something. If you don’t, you’ll remain the best kept secret business. And I don’t intent to remain secret at all.
I don’t know how your reflections look like at the end of 2020. And I don’t know how your plans for 2021 look like. All I know is that 2020 has been a great learning experience for me. And in 2021 I will be better because of all that I learned from 2020. It’s not the New Year that has to be better. It’s me. How about you?