Reflecting on a Year Like 2020
We’re nearing the last few days of what has probably been the strangest year in recent history. I’ve spent the previous week thinking back on all that has happened over the past 12 months… January and February started out great – I got a Disneyland annual pass, spent a lot of time with friends, saw one of my favorite comedians live, and went to a family member’s wedding. Then March hit, and things started to go downhill. As I reflected, I saw a trend of things getting worse and worse, and I just wanted to skip to 2021 and pretend this year never happened. But the optimist in me knew that wasn’t fair.
As I began to look a little closer at the year, I realized that for as many bad things as there were, there were also great things! 2020 was the year I got my master’s degree, the year I got my dog, the year I got my job at Leadership Inspirations, and so much more.
Thinking about all of the good things that happened made me feel better, so I reached out to some of my friends to hear about the positive parts of their year. People shared news of new jobs, promotions, marriage, a new nephew, new pets, moving, buying a house, spending time with loved ones, connecting with friends, connecting with themselves, and enjoying good health.
It was reaffirming to hear how much good happened in 2020 and inspiring to see how much positivity could come directly from the struggles the year brought. 2020 showed us isolation, but our Leadership Coach Caroline used that to learn how to “connect with people in new ways, slow down, connect with the people around her, and value the relationships and people in her life.” This past year also brought social and political struggles, but our Executive Director Kim reflected on how those struggles “led to greater engagement in the election and the fight for fairness.” Similarly, our Leadership Coach Meghan reflected on these struggles through the lens of Disney+ and watching Hamilton, sharing that “it is interesting to think about early Americans and that history has its eyes on us when we move through challenges.”
Celebrating the highlights and reframing the lowlights of 2020 led to many great lessons and takeaways. I want to share a few from our Leadership Inspirations team!
“In 2020, it was important for me to learn that I need to intentionally reach out and check on people in my life to make our connections last and grow stronger while we are all socially distancing.” – Kylie, Operations Assistant
“2020 has allowed me to grow closer to my friends and family, which I really appreciate. Living far away from my loved ones is always hard but COVID really pushed us together and made us realize just how important it is to check in on a regular basis. Being able to hear their voices and see their faces on zoom has been amazing!” – Kait, Leadership Coach
“One thing I learned is that things can change at the drop of a hat and instead of resisting, I need to adapt.” – Gino, Leadership Coach
“I appreciate all those who have thought about others and not just themselves throughout this year…the health care workers, grocery store employees, teachers, first responders, all those who have risked so much to help keep the rest of us alive, sustained and hopeful.” – Kim, Executive Director
“One lesson I learned during 2020 is that I have what it takes to do the things I want to do, even if they are scary. Eventually, standing still is scarier than the possibility of falling.” – Kristen, Leadership Coach
“I learned that I need to place more value on quality time with me, myself, and I. When I take a full weekend to spend time by myself and read a good book, I feel much more grounded and then I feel available to meet the needs of others more effectively.” – Lindsay, Leadership Coach
“No matter how bad of a day it is, there is always at least one thing, big or small, to make you smile.” – Jayne, Director of Operations
“This year has really taught me to value the simplicities of life and has given me the chance to truly reflect on the choices I am making, prompting me to reimagine the new normal. I have grown abundantly grateful for the life I lead and the people that make me who I am.” – Sara, Leadership Coach
As 2020 comes to an end, take some time to productively reflect on how the year has been for you, what positivity you can find in your experiences, and what lessons you can take with you into the new year. 2021 has the promise and potential to be a much better year, so take your positive reflection on 2020 and channel it into some New Year’s resolutions or intentions.
Finding the positives in a year like 2020 can be easier said than done, but asking yourself the right questions can really help. Try some of these questions to help you reflect on your year.
- What are some good things that happened to you this year?
- What is something that 2020 made you appreciate?
- What is one lesson you learned this year?
- Who did you meet this year or how did your relationships grow in 2020?
- What made you smile this year?
- What are you proud to have done this year?
- What are you looking forward to next year?
Asking thought-provoking questions can be powerful. To provide you with a series of questions that will last you all through the new year, we’ve just launched a brand-new feature on the Leadership Inspirations website! Check out Question of the Day for a never-ending list of fun questions to ask yourself and others!
*Meet the Author*
Morgan is the Program Coordinator for Leadership Inspirations. He has a B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies and an M.A. in Leadership Development from Chapman University.
Favorite quote: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end” – John Lennon
Fun facts: 1) I once trained my pet goldfish to play basketball 2) When I was little I wanted to be a Disneyland parking attendant 3) I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan