The ball has dropped, the fireworks burst, the confetti tossed.  The New Year has begun!  If you have not already done so, it is time to flip open the new calendar, open that new planner and begin penciling in appointments and commitments for 2021.  Or maybe scroll to a new year on your digital calendar to plug in obligations and set up reminders.  Whatever your calendar preference, it’s time to open something new and begin living in the New Year.  Typically, it takes a few weeks to acclimate to writing the correct year in the date.  This year may feel different.  So many of us were eagerly awaiting the arrival of January 1, 2021, and have little desire to look backward.  Before we completely put last year in the books let’s glance back for a moment.

When we started last year the idea of 20/20 vision was everywhere—social media memes, sermons in church, and advertisements galore.  The play on words was irresistible and matched the enthusiasm for beginning a brand new decade!  Then COVID-19 hit U.S. shores and the enthusiasm and optimism became history as fear, doubt and uncertainty took center stage.  Kids came home to do school, cars sat parked for days at a time, jobs went virtual, and we all looked desperately for essential household supplies.  Despite having so many upheavals in life as we knew it pre-COVID, one question remains:  Did 2020 actually provide us with clearer vision?  In other words, through the ongoing aftermath of the societal shutdown and the initial quarantine period did anything come into clearer focus for you?  For me, three things became very clear, very quickly:  relationships, flexibility, and persistence.  Through the initial quarantine period I was able to identify important relationships and worked to maintain those through whatever means were available.  Once upon a time, Zoom was only used for work and professional pursuits, but it became a regular part of our collective social connections as well.  Flexibility became increasingly important as presentations and meetings were reconfigured from live events to virtual ones in short order.  With fewer distractions to deal with, I also kept my focus on personal and professional goals I had set before the coronavirus disruption.  Through it all, I was able to achieve many of those goals despite the pandemic pandemonium that ensued.  So for me, 2020 did provide clear vision—it just didn’t look like what I had initially planned.  But I now have three priorities that I know will carry me through whatever 2021 brings:   People are paramount!  Flexibility is essential.  Progress toward goals can be achieved amidst hardships.

I encourage you to reflect on your own life before you turn that calendar page and see how your own vision was sharpened by the experience of 2020.  What aspects of your life are clearly important to you now as opposed to last January?  I hope you can you take what you learned and bring it forward into 2021 to make it the best year ever–no matter what comes your way!