When I look back on 2020, where everything changed for everyone including me, I am grateful that we are still moving forward into 2021 with hope for a better year with the onset of new medical breakthroughs to combat Covid-19 in this new super normal.

My new year resolution habit kept me on the resilient track in more ways that I could ever imagine in 2020 and as we continue into 2021, my hope is that my new resolutions continue to keep me on the same track of resiliency. Resolutions, do you set any? Some people do and some people do not, as for me, I have been setting new years resolutions ever since I was a teenager because I always like to look back on what I have accomplished during the last few days of December and set new ones. 

Let me tell you my story of 2020. It started as usual, with me writing my resolutions on January 1st.  Learning a new skill was on the top of my list, so I decided to learn podcasting.  I did not know anything about podcasting but what I do know is that when I put my mind to do something, I never give up.  So I downloaded the Anchor app, bought a second-hand Yeti mike on Facebook Marketplace, ordered a MacBook and started to experiment.  I would not consider myself a super tech person so this was my way to learn some new skills on the weekend when I was not caring for my young family.  One episode led to another, with 40 episodes between two podcasts.  It has been a wonderful journey for sure, meeting new people and learning this new skill. Right now, audio refinement is my big goal as well as continuing to share stories from diverse voices in 2021.

When I launched the @Livewithirenia Podcast in March 2020, I was so elated because I knew my interviews would carry me into the homes of dynamic individuals who got to share their epic wins and failures in their career and entrepreneurial journeys. With two episodes under my belt, the Covid-19 pandemic crashed our world as we knew it. I was just wrapping up the inaugural Fredericton Women Techmakers conference celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD 2020) on March 10th  in my hometown Fredericton, New Brunswick and on March 14th we went into full lock down mode.  I had two choices, to stop what I was doing or to continue what I had begun. I decided to dive full speed ahead into podcasting, despite all of the challenges which laid ahead. I just took things one episode at a time interviewing dynamic individuals in the United States: from New York, Kansas, Georgia, Maryland and more; in addition to Europe, Africa and across Canada from New Brunswick, Alberta, Toronto and Vancouver, all remotely.

This experience  gave me a deep sense of connection with my guests, as well, I was able to uncover stories of diverse individuals who were willing open their hearts to me and share openly because they knew their story would have an impact in the world during this global crisis. I made it a point to meet my guests where they were and gave them the space to be themselves – raw and authentic.

This journey gave me a glimpse into their neighbourhoods when we were off record. It was an opportunity to swap stories of what was happening in our respective communities during this terrible crisis in real-time when travelling was limited. When I got tired, and I did because podcasting is not an easy task, I listened to other podcasts to keep me motivated and interested.  I have about 87 podcasts I enjoy listening to for inspiration at different times, my most favourite is “Masters of Scale” by Reid Hoffmann.  In April, I decided to launch a second podcast called “The Canadian Side Hustle and Business Podcast” featuring Canadian entrepreneurs, connectors and industry experts taking a peek into the how and why they built their businesses. It is not perfect, but I am not aiming for perfection just good content, great people and a dose of inspiration.  I paused in August to rest and to focus on my family, my kids, heading back into full-time school since my weekends suddenly got much more hectic with all the preparations that comes with this new side-hustle project.  Three lessons I learned from this adventure:

  1. Always try something new even if you do not know how to do it;
  2. Keep going even when you do not feel like it; and
  3. Stay optimistic and always keep moving forward.

These top three lessons are what kept up my resilience in 2020 and will carry me through to 2021. My wish for you is that you to find your new vibe in 2021 during the new super normal!