While 2020 has been a very difficult year for so many, I can honestly say that it has been one of the greatest years of my life. It has been my most productive year, my most prosperous year, and my most successful year ever. If you have followed my work over the years, then you know that I always take time at the end of every year to reflect on my most important lessons. As I reflect back on 2020, I think the word that I would associate with this year is interesting. It is clear to all of us that we are living in uncertain times. However, as someone that has trained and empowered leaders around the world for success, I know that some of life’s greatest wisdom can come from seasons of crisis. As you read this piece, I hope that you will take time to reflect on your own life and discover new wisdom, new insights, and new strategies to empower you for the year ahead. It’s time to say goodbye to the year that was 2020!
- The most important lesson that 2020 taught me is that nothing is certain. As I gave a keynote on December 31, 2019, I entered 2020 with a great sense of excitement, clarity, and purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted out of the year and I knew what it would take to get there. I hit the ground running and I was very focused on my goals and my vision for the year. In fact, on January 1, 2020, I was already working on some of my biggest goals. Also, by March of 2020, I had accomplished a number of my major goals for the year and I was making great strides. However, as you know that is when we all got the news that rocked our world. It was announced that the United States was going into lockdown. Our activities would be restricted, our favorite stores and restaurants would be moving to curbside orders and we would be stuck inside for a considerable amount of time. At the time, we were getting ready to end the first quarter of the year and I do not think that is the news that any of us expected. At that moment, I remember going to the grocery store and making sure that I was stocked up on all the essentials and also taking my vitamins and other immune boosters. I think the biggest lesson for me in 2020 is that nothing is certain. We move through life almost arrogantly making plans and setting deadlines. Conversely, I think we forget that tomorrow is not promised to us. We live like we have all the time in the world. Yet we forget that every breath is a blessing and every moment is a gift. 2020 has reminded us all that nothing is certain and everything is subject to change. May we never take the gift of life for granted again and may we be sure to make every moment count.
- This year has brought a greater understanding of the power of connections. Over the years, I have written at length about the power of connections. In fact, my life and journey is a prophetic fulfillment of the power of connections. I have been so fortunate to be connected to some amazing individuals over the years. As you know, it has been a journey for me and I have had to learn through trial and error. I’ve experienced betrayal on levels that you would not imagine. I know what it is like to have trust violated and to have people stab you in the back. However, I also know what it is like to have meaningful, healthy, and fulfilling relationships in my life. When the lockdown started, I quickly saw the mental and emotional health of so many people diminish right before my eyes. So I made a decision that I would check in with people every single week. I can speak from experience about what it is like to feel insignificant or alone. So I made the choice that I would take time every single week just to see how different people were doing. Initially, I could tell some people were resistant to the idea. Over time it became clear that they enjoyed the check-ins and were happy to have someone to talk to. Everything in this universe centers on connection. This year has taught us all just how important relationships are in our lives. It is easy to take something for granted until it is snatched away from you. Weekly meetups with friends, shopping trips, and even enjoying a meal at our favorite restaurants are now considered luxuries. May we never again take for granted the relationships in our lives. Value friendships and express appreciation often. Few things add value and significance to our lives like good friendships.
- 2020 has taught us all a master lesson in empathy. If we are all honest, we often become so absorbed in our individual lives that we do not stop to think about what is happening in the lives of others. However, this year as we were all in lockdown and watching the news we saw the reality of just how fragile life is. As the death toll rose around the country, we all felt the profound sense of sadness and heartache that so many were experiencing. We all have been impacted by COVID-19. You may not have specifically lost a loved one. However, I am sure we all know someone that was impacted by this deadly virus. This year has forced us all to open the heart space and to be living demonstrations of love and compassion. 2020 has brought a great sense of community back to America. We saw widespread layoffs across the country. At the same time, I saw foodbanks across the nation step up to meet the extreme demand of so many struggling Americans. I saw communities come together and families unite, unlike any other time. This year has taught us all a valuable lesson in empathy. We have rediscovered the truth that the world does not revolve around us. More importantly, the world is bigger than us. 2020 has taught us all that we are so much better together. Crisis has the ability to break down walls, squash disagreements, and bring out the best in humanity. Empathy is one of the greatest superpowers we have as human beings.
- Life is too short to focus on things that do not matter. When the lockdowns started, I saw and heard so much negativity from so many people. I cannot tell you how many people I heard say that 2020 is canceled. While I am not being insensitive to the challenges of this year, I want us all to understand the power of our words and how they frame our narratives. I understand that our lives were interrupted and flipped upside down this year. At the same time, I do not see the year as being canceled. The most valuable lesson I learned in 2020 is that this global pandemic provided us all with a valuable gift. What is that gift? We were all gifted an abundance of time. For years, many people have been saying if I only had more time I would accomplish my goals or fulfill my vision. Unfortunately, these are the same people that binge-watched Netflix and scrolled social media for hours. I am not judging you if that is what you decided to do. However, this year revealed that time was never an issue for most people. The reality is that some things were just never a priority. Personally, this was my most productive year ever. I wrote another book, completed several online courses, rebranded my business, saw my business expand, won new awards, and helped leaders around the world navigate this crisis. The point that I am trying to make is that you may not have chosen for 2020 to be interrupted by a global pandemic. On the other hand, you always have a choice in how you use your time. What you invest your time in exposes what your priorities are. Life is precious and if you want to live a life of significance you must define what your priorities are. Wrong priorities will never produce the right outcomes. As we end a year that has been challenging for people around the world, I want you to reflect, reset, and reprioritize what matters most to you. 2021 will only be different if you choose to live life by design!