As a business owner, each year you have the tricky challenge of motivating yourself for another year of driving forward, being positive and leading the team, regardless of how you are feeling quite at the moment.
And what a strange year it is to be doing that!
Perhaps even stranger than being knee deep at the start of the COVID pandemic, as this year we can all see a light at the end of the tunnel ‘ which still depends on mutations, rule keeping and overseas travel to get us ‘back to normal’.
I had some excellent advice from a business owner back in my early years of starting People Puzzles. One of my clients took me aside at the start of the year and said I looked exhausted (never a compliment!), and how did I feel about the new year. He explained that starting the new year is always the hardest time, because you must galvanise yourself for another whole year of effort. And not only that, but you need to stir up everyone else as well.
He suggested booking an early year holiday to give a window of calm and something to work towards ‘ something I have done every year until this one.
I went to an online ‘Word of the Year’ event last week. It was run at my local church, thinking about clarity and inspiration for the year ahead. And the opening exercise was to think about how 2020 had been for you.
I realised that my whole interpretation of 2020 had been about COVID, and how People Puzzles had weathered the storm. My year was measured by our revenues, the stresses and the challenges of the business.
I was astonished that I hadn’t spent even one minute reflecting on the year as a whole, as a human rather than a business owner. It could be because on NYE I was in bed by 9.30 nursing Coronavirus. It could be because I simply hadn’t thought of doing it.
So I did.
I thought about how 2020 had been for me as a person. And I realised that it was a year of some amazing new things. All my step-children moved in for Lockdown so we were a family of seven ‘ time we would never have otherwise spent together. My grandson learnt to walk. My daughter (age 3) started telling jokes. I made my garden beautiful. We realised how much we love our home.
I know there have been endless memes through the last year about the silver linings from 2020, which generally made me roll my eyes (or worse). Overall, it was truly a bad year. But there were a few shining lights, which both sustain me and give me energy for another year of adventure with the business.
I hope you’ve also managed to find some highlights of last year, despite probably some really awful moments. And here’s hoping that 2021 is going to start getting better fairly rapidly!