For those of you who checked out the My 2020 Snapshot tool that I shared earlier this week (you can find it here) I thought I’d share my own insights from 2020. Hopefully this helps you kickstart your own reflections. I’ve learned a lot this year. There have been so many lessons hidden in the peaks and valleys, the uncertainty and the sharp left turns – here’s what I will take with me into the new year…

How would you describe this year in three words? Unpredictable, humbling, faith.

Where did you experience wins this year? Personally, 2020 created a lot of added time for me with Cristina and the twins. It was amazing to have all that extra time together – and sometimes challenging. We’ve grown as a blended family because of this year. And, we’ve all been fortunate to stay healthy. Professionally, none of the businesses we partner with have closed in 2020, which is a huge win. Many have faced challenges, but we (my partners and I) have been able to show up, lift them up, and live out the core values that live on our walls. 

2020 was a year of peaks and valleys. Where did you experience losses? Let me start with this… I answer this knowing that the losses I’ve experienced can’t touch what many others who read this have walked through. I’m not naive to that. For me, it’s been tough not to spend time in-person building relationships with clients – to sit in conference rooms, restaurants, and breweries with them. The number of in-person meetings we’ve had since March this year is small, and I miss the face-to-face interaction severely. I also miss seeing my team in the office every day. Working virtually has been challenging for me. I thrive off other people’s energy – virtual interactions don’t provide that same experience for me. I miss people.

Which of your strengths were the most valuable to you over the past year? This year, my optimism and positivity have paid off in significant ways. When I asked people earlier this year what my strengths and weaknesses were, many answered that my “We can do this!” attitude was a strength of mine. That showed up in 2020 and was so valuable. As well, my partners and I are very aligned, a true three-legged stool. This past year tested that and proved that we are stronger together than we would be alone. Being a small team allowed us to make quick decisions this year – we were agile and that paid huge dividends for us as well. 

What lessons did you learn in 2020, and what will you carry with you from this year into the next?

  • Positivity and optimism are just words until they’re tested. When things get real, and you live them out, they are powerful forces.
  • How we show up during adversity matters.
  • How we approach diversity matters. 
  • We each, within our small circles of influence, have influence – and that is a big responsibility. 
  • Be willing to change direction, sometimes quickly – be like water.
  • Know the difference between short-term thinking and long-term vision. 
  • Sometimes, you have to give up to get.
  • I now know that the core values we put on our wall are the right core values – they have been put through the fire, and they’re still there.
  • The only way I’ve survived the past year is with the help of other people – and I’ve been blessed to be that help for others, which filled me up.

In 2020, what area did you grow the most? What new things did you learn about yourself?

  • 2020 forced me to put what I value into practice in a next-level way. 
  • Cristina and I worked hard to make our marriage stronger and build deep, strong roots in our blended family.
  • I learned to experience/feel uncertainty and fear without letting them control me.
  • Hearing from people in my circle when they shared my weaknesses, I realized that communication is challenging for me, keeping up with emails, etc. I also came to see that delegation is a struggle for me. I heard that, and I am making strides in both areas, although I do slide backward from time to time.

Were any goals this year left incomplete? What will you pick back up in 2020 or leave behind? In 2020, I want to continue working to grow this blog. I know there is so much value here, and I hear its impact on people every day. I want to share that more. I am also focused on continuing our agency’s growth – specifically the Bootcamps we offer to clients. We’re doing so much with these to help brands sharpen their messaging, and even more critical, to align their teams. The pandemic threw some curveballs in that area – but we quickly created new virtual options that I am excited to see grow. 

The Takeaway

There you have it. That’s my personal 2020 Snapshot. Taking this time to step back, get quiet, and reflect on the past year using these questions as my guide was powerful for me – and I think it would be for you as well. Answer those questions above for yourself, not if you find the time… Instead, make the time. 

You can download the worksheet I created here or just answer them on your own. Your responses will be very different than mine, and at the same time, similar in some places. Remember this: All those lessons that we’ve learned this year are there for you to take with you into the new year… or you can choose to let them slip through your fingers. You get to choose.

My next post, just around the corner, will feature the process and another tool I use to help set my goals for the coming year. Looking ahead to 2021, now is the perfect time to start thinking ahead toward what this fresh start and chance to reset looks like. Follow me here and we can step toward 2021 together!

– John