While it was a difficult year for most of us, I believe that 2020 is also a year of Resilience! When I look back and reflect on all that I learned over the past year, I value all the lessons it has taught us.
Go with the flow:
At the end of 2019, I decided to take up a new challenge and start my third innings in my career. After a decade, I decided to pursue my next passion and joined one of the largest collective philanthropic efforts to build a world-class tech university. It was a challenge I was looking forward to. As a family, we were also planning to relocate to a new city after spending 10 years in a city with a high school teenage son in tow. As a person who doesn’t deal with uncertainty well, I made a lot of plans of how to cope with this change.
But 2020 was the year where the only constant was change. It tossed all our plans in a tizzy. I was forced to surrender all my plans including Plan B — and then Plan C —until I was out of plans. My son joined a new school with new friends virtually. After five months of lockdown, we shelved our plans to move and we enrolled him back to his old school in Gurgaon. He took all the changes in his stride and taught me how to cope with uncertainty and change. The year taught us how to let go, adapt, and cope. It taught me to accept and go with the flow.
Value what really matters:
2020 has presented some unforeseen challenges, but it has also given me a tremendous opportunity to slow down, pause, and acknowledge some of the blessings. It allowed us to spend time with family, reach out to friends and people who really matter and also let go of toxic relationships that pull us down. In truth, the events of Covid-19 taught me to value what really matters – health, family, and the well-being and safety of people around me and not take it for granted.
Working with a young team in a start-up is challenging enough but when you have to do it virtually during a pandemic, it can be very taxing. While the playbook of the business has changed, but the key ingredient of building a great team has not. A culture of trust and transparency will be even more important for a business to survive and thrive during these changing times. Building a culture of trust is building a culture of high performance, accountability, and excellence. After the first few weeks of work from home, and to our surprise, the team rose to the challenge. The productivity has been all-time high and one found creative ways to engage with the team. Trust and accountability was the key factor to build a rocking team and taught all of us many lessons.
Ignore the noise:
There is noise everywhere around you in life. There are noises from other people, noises inside your head, noises that seem unstoppable – the noise of negativity, drama, gossip, anxiety, and so on. 2020 reminded us that most of these are just noise. All these things create clutter in our lives which overwhelms us, makes us more emotional, less rational and distracts us from what matters.
Time is the most important resource you have. No matter who you are, you’re given twenty-four-hours. So ignore the social media picture-perfect lives, fake news, WhatsApp debates, toxic relationships, and bad bosses – and focus on what really matters. The purpose and the intent with which you started is the only thing worth focussing on. Whatever you focus your time on is a decision of how you want to spend your energy. Don’t exchange what you want most for the noise and distractions which take you away from it.
Invest in self-care:
This was the year where work life and personal lives overlapped so much that it truly lost all its boundaries. I decided to block some time every day for self-care in my routine. I started blocking time to pursue my hobbies, going for walks, pursuing things that I enjoy. I decided to go back to my first love of books – but stopped feeling guilty to flirt with Netflix 🙂
Grateful for the compassion and giving:
2020 has presented some unforeseen challenges, but the trying times led many to perform many kinds of acts of compassion. People across the nation rallied to help the migrants, raised funds to support the underprivileged, volunteered to serve in the best way they can. The frontline workers, health care professionals, and many others are working tirelessly despite the huge personal risk to their selves and family. It made me believe that our humanity binds us together in compassion and care.
I am sure you, too will have your own stories and lessons to share from 2020. As we enter 2021, I am grateful for all the support from my family, friends, mentors. This has been the year of resilience. I hope all of us come out of this stronger, better, and hopefully, more resilient and ready for all the curve balls future will throw at us.
Wishing you a more safe, healthy, and happy 2021. Happy New Year!