Keeping 2020

2020 is a year we’ll never forget. I read expressions of disapproval from many people wishing 2020 would disappear from memory. Why not? Lost jobs, pandemic deaths, political negativity, canceled events, and destructive acts of nature are just a few of the headlines this year. 

The lives of me, you, and people we know have been impacted in ways we didn’t expect. Some of us lost loved ones to the pandemic and we know the virus isn’t done yet. My prayer is those families would find comfort and joy in the memories of their loved ones and that society would learn from our mistakes during the pandemic and be stronger for it.

Yet, as 2020 approaches the closing act, I realized it won’t be a year that will be erased. On the contrary, there will be more written about 2020 in history books than in previous years. Even though many of my daily views of life have also changed, I will leave 2020 with optimism. I gained new insights, established new routines, doubled down on thankfulness, went through a test of faith, and see a lot of incredible people doing amazing things to better humanity.

About sharpening the saw

I refocused my social, mental, physical, and spiritual routines to sharpen my skills and find meaning by serving others.  I had tough one-on-one conversations with friends about race relations in America. I made time for serious exercise. I started exploring new skills for my professional life. I restarted Spanish lessons (220 consecutive days now!). I kept a commitment to teaching baseball to a group of boys in my community. I lead a group of adults in spiritual discussions about faith and life. 

About work relationships

I’m thankful for a former employee who trusted me enough to discuss his need for a modified work schedule to accommodate child-care and his wife’s work schedule. I smile when I think about another former employee who I empowered to do his job by providing him with access rights and authorization to make system changes. His key performance indicators increased by almost 50% and he told me directly he had a new outlook on work and was happier. More recently, I was able to counsel young aspiring leaders about expectations at work and advice for growing their careers. 

I learned to let go and forgive others when they take actions at work I feel are unjustified or offensive. The feeling of freedom afterward is beyond satisfying.  It reminds me of the Lyrics from the song Forgiveness by Matthew West, 

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

About disruptions in 2020

Consider this. Masks, sheltering-in-place, elections, and job furloughs don’t impact our ability to better ourselves, others, and the world. Let’s not yield to thoughts our lives have been put on hold and wrecked. Make time to help someone else. Make a choice to smile and bring happiness to a Zoom call. Tell your employees and colleagues you appreciate them. Even in a quarantined setting, we can find ways to do for one what we wish we could do for many.

Let’s Keep 2020

With all the disruptions to “normalcy” in 2020, I am grateful some things have not changed and will not change. There are truths and actions that rise above pandemics, politics, 401Ks, social beliefs, and bad bosses. 

Expressing joy and appreciation are still more impactful to people than passing them fear and doubt. 

Bringing energy and a positive attitude to a meeting is still a great way to inspire others to innovate and create. 

Listening to understand rather than speaking to make a point is still a more effective way to collaborate and build trust. 

Building relationships with your family, friends, and colleagues are still what you’ll remember far longer than any project or award.

When January 2021 comes, I hope you’ll look back on 2020 as a time that reminded you what is most important; Our ability to love and serve other people even if we don’t agree with them at work, politics, or social beliefs.

So let’s don’t forget 2020….or cancel 2020….Let’s keep 2020 to remember that despite tough circumstances we all have the ability to overcome and thrive. 

I pray for peace on earth and goodwill toward men. The words, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”, is still the hope for many of faith.

Onward and upward!

Photo Credit: via Creative Commons – Looking back… by Chris Wolcott