We have made it through the majority of 2020! That’s something to celebrate. I’m usually not one to be so negative about a specific year, even if bad things happen because I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. But even I can admit, this year has brought challenge after challenge and frankly I’m ready to see what next year holds.
Let’s take ourselves back to January 2020 for a minute. Just relish in the glorious, naïve unknown we all felt in that month. We felt hope for all that could be in this year. We were very quickly hit with the realities of Covid-19, injustices, protests, and, oh yeah, an election year. It’s been a perfect storm. Our worlds have been shaken up and what seemed like temporary precautions have somehow become commonplace. Many of us are still working from home, we wear masks everywhere we go, we social distance when gathering with people, we do most of our meetings via Zoom, and yes many of us have even gotten tested for COVID. I’m sure I’m not the only one that in the back of my mind thinks, “will things ever be the same?” Will we always wear masks? Will more people just work from home now? Will we feel comfortable hugging our friends in public again?
Well, we don’t know. We still don’t know a lot of answers.
My husband is a teacher and just started back to school. Not surprisingly there are many people that want school just to be how it used to be and are struggling to know how to step forward. If we are honest, that’s a lot of us. We are still living in this gray space, hoping the world just resumes normal programming any day now. The reality is we are living in a Covid-19 world, and we have to know to how to move forward in grace. So, let’s decide right here and now, what we should take with us, and what we should leave behind. Here are some principles I would propose:
- Take caution but leave fear. It is wise to have caution, but we cannot continue to live in fear and anxiety. It will eat you and your business alive if you let it. Assume this is the way our world is going to be for a while and make decisions for yourself and your team that both protect you and allow you to reach new goals. We do not have to throw goal setting out the window this year. Maybe they just need to be adjusted. Having these kinds of discussions with your staff may be just the refresh they need to shift from fear to opportunity.
- Go through it with the right team. If your team was misaligned before COVID, it will be worse now. Now it is more important than ever to have an aligned team because you won’t have the energy to fight the changes due to COVID, and your own team. The cracks that were in the company before are now widening due to the stress that has been put on them. If there were cracks, they are likely very exposed at this point! Use this chance make sure you are crystal clear about your mission, vision, and values and that your whole team is onboard.
- Be open-handed. Like I said, we still don’t have a lot of answers. Nobody knows what next month is going to look like, so it’s more important than ever to assume there will be more changes. Work hard, make plans, start projects, but hold it all with an open hand and be ready with a back-up plan. Flexibility is a skill that I’m personally really bad at, but I believe it’s a skill we all need to tend to. Being unwilling to be flexible and refusing the possibility that you might need a back-up plan only hurts you and your team. Be ready if plan A goes out the window. Your team will thank you later.
Change is hard and sometimes it hits us like a ton of bricks. Nobody said it would be easy, but I think with the right mindset we can find joy and embrace what is ahead. Here’s to hoping that 2020 really does give us that vision that we all hoped for after all.