Count Your Blessings

Maybe 2020 Wasn’t All Bad

2020 has most definitely been one for the ages.

Although it might seem logical to want to write this year off and forget it, let me ask you not to do that.

At least not yet.

As the Time’s Square Ball fell to ring in 2020, no one could imagine what we’d be facing in just a few shorts months. An oncoming pandemic, lockdowns, shutdowns, social distancing not to mention social and racial unrest. At the time we were simply sipping our champagne, singing “Auld Lang Syne” and looking forward to the start of a brand new decade never expecting things to change so quickly or dramatically.

Now as we draw closer to the end of 2020, that seems like ages ago. It’s almost surreal.

If 2020 has taught us anything, there are lessons to be learned from the challenges we faced. There are also some positives we can take away as well.

Challenges


“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.” – Cicely Tyson


 

As of this writing, the infection rate of those infected with COVID-19 are still rising. We’ve lost nearly 325,000 citizens (1.7 million world wide), many of whom were friends and family and despite the approval of two vaccines, the totals keep rising. Our hospitals and healthcare workers are overwhelmed.

We’ve seen many of our favorite bars and restaurants have to close. Many of us have been furloughed or laid off. Companies that could shift to working virtually have but the impact to our economy has been significant.

During the summer we saw social unrest due to the brutal and unnecessary killing of George Floyd. Racism took center stage as many of the wounds we had hoped had been long since healed were gashed wide open once again as people took to social media and protested in the streets. Tempers flared as hot as the pending summer sun as the divisiveness of the country and the world became even more apparent.

Then we had the election. More people got out to vote than any election ever. The results showed a massive divide in the country and seemingly put an exclamation point on the fact our unity in these United States is fractured. Some fear beyond repair.

People lost jobs. Families spend hours in line waiting to received food donations. Savings and retirement accounts were drained. Many said goodbye to loved ones they never got a chance to hug one last time. Depression, isolation and feels of outright despair was felt by many of us, including me.

Yet despite these challenges, many out of our control, there were rays of hope.

Lessons Learned

Every night during the height of the pandemic, at 7PM, people emerged from their doors and onto their balconies or front porches to bang pots, play instruments, shout, and wave. It was our own way to thank the healthcare workers who were putting their own lives on the line to treat the sick. It was also our own way of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. A way to unite with our fellow neighbors in a socially responsible and physically distanced manner.

Somehow we came together to show we might be down but never count us out.

We jumped onto Zoom and other video platforms to change the way we work and the way we socialize. Who knew the virtual happy hours could be so much fun?

We still found a way to participate in the world even if the world we had known had changed a bit.

Many of us discovered just how much we missed hugging our friends, water cooler conversations and having a beer and watching a football game at the pub.

For many that I know, the forced time at home allowed them to reconnect with their immediate family in ways they never expected. They played board games, went on long walks, had open and honest conversations that probably never would have happened before.

My friend and podcast co-host Dr. Asha Prasad said to me that once, “This forced pause can be a good thing if we let it be.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The Blessings List

What if you were to spend 10-15 minutes writing down all the good things 2020 has brought to you? Instead of focusing on all the bad that has happened, what positives have come of this very unusual year for you?

This simple exercise has been a game changer for how I look and feel about 2020. No I realize doing this doesn’t take away the pain and frustration that this year has caused many of us. Nor do I wish to diminish the challenges any of us have faced. I simply propose a potential shift in perspective.

Just in case you need one positive to get your list started….

You are reading this which means you are still alive. You have breath in your lungs, power on your laptop or phone (to read this) and you are above ground. That alone is something to be grateful for.

But in case you need a few more examples, here are a few off my personal blessings list:

  • Family time. We’ve watched more movies and had more delicious conversations than we’ve had a long, long while
  • I took the time to finish up the 3rd edition of my book (It’s available for sale now!)
  • Started some outlines for future books
  • I learned some new skills for video and audio editing (I’m no Steven Spielberg or Howard Stern but check them out!)
  • Started Live Streaming to Facebook and Youtube (Asha made me do it)
  • The Mandalorian. I know seems strange but check out my latest podcast episode to see why this made my list.
  • Got a lot more organized at both work and home. Marie Kondo would be proud of my underwear drawer
  • Took my health a lot more serious and challenged myself with new workout routines
  • Spent a lot of time on the trail near my house exploring and thinking
  • Developed some new product strategies for my software companies Owner Insite and Facility Insite
  • I’ve taken the time to enjoy the conversations I’ve had with people and reached out to a lot of folks I had lost touch with
  • I managed to reconnect with myself and embrace being content with spending time just with myself during isolation

There are so many more on my list but that’s not the point. The point is for you to shift your perspective a bit and see what positive things you can pull out of 2020. So why not give it a try?

Before It’s Over

No matter how your year has ended up, there is undoubtedly some positives you can choose to pull out of it. I have learned that when you shift your focus onto something positive it tends to take away the power of the some of the not so positive things that tend to hold court over us.

I choose to be grateful for this unexpected pause that 2020 has given us and use it to my advantage. Perhaps the new innovations and the new ways of thinking, working and connecting will create monumental Ripples for us all in the years ahead.

Thank you as always for reading my BLOG and for being a part of my Ripple community. You have no idea how much I appreciate all of you and just how much you keep me going even in those quiet moments of self-doubt that I sometimes have.

Take care. Be safe. Stay Well. And as always….

Ripple On!!!


 

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The Ripple Effect book cover, 3rd Edition

 

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