This December I’ve been flooded with year-end greetings reminding me just how terrible 2020 has been and hoping that in 2021 it will all go away, and we can press the reset button and go back to how we lived in pre Covid-19 times.
And I get that.
This year has been so turbulent and out of control, wreaking havoc, changing how we interact socially, how we work, and most devastatingly, it has cost lives.
I’ve been thrown under the bus a few times in this life, but a collective crisis like this one, who could have imagined?
We have all been challenged in so many ways over the past 12 months and raising to the challenges is what has been a real eye-opener. So, what are the 3 things that I’ve found so great about 2020? In fact, as a serial optimist I could probably name about 300, but here are the ones I want to highlight:
- Kotter was right about Change Management!
John Kotter, the guru of Change Management has a very clear message in his book, A Sense of Urgency, and that message is exactly what the title of the book tells us, that change begins with a sense of urgency. He was writing about turbulent economies and change within organizations, but his tactics, all about acting promptly and with intention to enforce efficient and effective results, reflects how we went about things once the pandemic hit.
Within an extremely short space of time, most people had adapted to changes in how we live.
- The Environment, maybe.
There are arguments about how good or bad the pandemic will be for the environment in the long term, but bottom line – carbon emissions fell sharply, we saw a reduction in water, air and noise pollution, and greenhouse gases emissions dropped as a result of less
transportation, industries ceasing to operate, and a significant drop in visitors to tourist destinations. Seeing this happen has also made us think. I, for one, have become increasingly more aware of all the ways I was damaging the environment without giving it much thought.
- A new understanding of Community.
First of all, there was the pain of separation and social distancing, and then came the heartwarming new ways of expressing compassion and staying in touch. It is not easy
adapting to the ‘apart together’ concept, and for people like me, who are used to travelling a lot, have a family spread around different countries, it is heart wrenching to go so long
without being able to see them, and being unable to embrace the ones we do see. It has made us all reflect, value people more and become more creative. I’ve started setting up online meetings with people who I haven’t seen in years and could have seen online before Covid-19, but it just wasn’t a thing. I’ve even had some online get togethers with my family around the world, and I ask myself, why the hell didn’t I do that before?
So these are my top 3, and perhaps some or all of them will resonate with you. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t had my down times this year, there have been plenty of them too, especially in October when I was tested positive for the virus and can only be thankful that it was a relatively mild dose that I’ve luckily recovered from.
So, my end of year message is definitely not gloom or doom, nor is it bright and shiny. Let’s just say that it looks like we’re managing to weather the storm, and to quote the Irish poet Seamus Heaney “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”