2020 was a helluva year. Most people are looking forward to 2021 so they can put 2020 in their rearview mirror. I don’t blame them… I’m ready to leave 2020 in the dust also, but not before I examine the year for lessons learned because there were many.

Most of you who know my work are familiar with my concept called GLOW. It’s the idea that all our painful life events are equally balanced with positivity. We just first need to understand that’s true, and then we will be able to seek out that positivity to balance the scales, if you will. In this way, we can neutralize the negativity with the GLOW, so we can move forward without being held hostage by the pain. The GLOW stands for gifts, lessons, opportunities and wisdom and this article is my attempt to share the mining of my personal GLOW from the inconvenience and pain of 2020. Perhaps you will resonate with some of bullet points or perhaps you’d like to look for your own. There is a third alternative, of course; you can refuse to believe there is GLOW or refuse to look for it while you marinate in your pain. They are all options but I, for one, hope you choose one of the first two options because it will certainly make 2021 a better experience for you and those in your circles. When you can appreciate what you have, you get yourself aligned with the likelihood of receiving more and even  better.

Here is what I’ve learned in 2020:

  1. You can’t always plan everything in your life. Sometimes things happen you couldn’t have foreseen or changed.
  2. The best quality one can have amid a pandemic is flexibility, leading to the ability to quickly pivot.
  3. After living with her for three months due to the pandemic, I learned I don’t just love my mother, there are things I really like and respect about her, too.
  4. There are other ways to express one’s caring for others without being physically in the same space.
  5. Technology can be a fascinating tool when used for good. It can also destroy people’s lives when used to hurt others or as an addictive escape for yourself.
  6. My lifestyle before the pandemic was super stressful and I had no idea! Being on a plane, sleeping in hotels and eating in restaurants more than 85% of 2019 was highly stressful. I love the lifestyle but didn’t know until I was forced to slow down that I was under a lot of stress.
  7. When I have the gift of time, I get to decide what’s most important every day, rather than allowing the next thing on my schedule to dictate priority.
  8. 2020 gave me the time to learn some new things I wouldn’t have had time to do pre-corona virus. I got my Diversity & Inclusion certificate from Cornell and took several marketing courses to learn to pivot more of my business to online work.
  9. 2020 showed the United States as a divisive, highly divided country. This year’s election was highly contentious but it also had the greatest voter turnout of any other election. People are involved and paying attention. I’m hopeful that 2021 ca show us the way forward to unification, with a way to express differing opinions to move us closer to solutions that can work for everyone. There is a vision for what that can look like now.
  10. 2020 gave me the time and space for creativity. Mental Freedom was born out of that creativity.
  11. There are paths forward to the education of our children that don’t necessarily have to include sitting in a physical or a virtual classroom.
  12. I took 2020 as an opportunity to lose 20 pounds. I had the opportunity to cook for myself, doing portion control and making healthier choices instead of eating in restaurants 85% of the time.
  13. People who love their work don’t need to worry about work/life balance. When you love your work, it feeds, nurtures and satisfies you; it doesn’t exhaust you and nothing else you can do is as satisfying.
  14. When you have a passion, your why and a just cause, not even a pandemic can stop you from what you feel compelled to do. You just find different delivery systems.
  15. I learned that a pandemic can take a society that favors extroverts and quickly turn it into a society that’s made for introverts.
  16. I remembered the importance of something I wrote about in Choosing Me Now—the importance of having a space you can call your own that nurtures you and feels like home.
  17. No matter how much you love and respect someone, being with them 24/7, day-after-day, in a never-changing environment can be challenging.
  18. 2020 showed some of us our comfortability, or lack thereof, with being alone while it showed others their comfortability, or lack thereof, with being with loved ones constantly.
  19. Many people lost loved ones unnecessarily in 2020 and their grief was exacerbated by their inability to spend final moments with those who have passed. This is a special kind of grief that will require special attention to heal.
  20. Our frontline workers who bravely kept working despite the general public’s ability to disregard safety protocols, often putting them at risk, are the true heroes of 2020. I won’t take their sacrifice for granted.

Gifts, lessons, opportunities and wisdom from a year of the most-deadly pandemic ever—more American lives lost than in the Vietnam war, WWI and WWII. What are your gifts? What lessons did you learn? What opportunities do you have, whether you take advantage of them or not? How have the lessons changed you into a wiser person? Answer those questions in the comment section below; I’d love to hear about them. When you have found your personal GLOW, you will be primed to enter 2021 with the outlook necessary to continue to rise and make 2021 a triumphant year.

If you are planning a successful 2021 and want to use my time-tested system for not just setting goalsstem but accomplishing them, check out my six-step Goal Attainment System.

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