2020 may have been the perfect storm!  “The Perfect Storm,” was a 2000 movie that highlighted the ill-fated trip of an Atlantic fishing boat crew that found itself in the confluence of a series of weather systems that created the ideal situation for one of the worst storms of the century. Spoiler alert: They didn’t survive. 2020 was a rare year when the, ‘Perfect Storm,’ of a pandemic, quarantines, lockdowns, racial injustice, social unrest, and a volatile election year churned the waters of our workplace, home life, and social connections more than any year most have ever experienced. Navigating the storms of 2020 took a different level of resilience, persistence, and mindset. While most everyone is ready to turn the page on 2020, an intentional reflection on what you did to make it to this point of a challenging year can help you chart your course into 2021!

A Most Valuable Practice (MVP) is to reflect on what you learned about yourself in 2020. Our brains work and learn through experiences. In her new book, “7 ½ Lessons about the Brain,” Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett shares how brain science shows that our brains work as predictors of situations so that we behave in a way to optimize metabolic efficiencies of our body. The brain predicts future behaviors from past experiences. When the experiences are new, it may not predict correctly but uses these as opportunities to learn. 2020 presented unprecedented new experiences for learning and growing! When were you most energized? When were you really drained? How did you adjust? How did you handle setbacks? What did you do to get out of a slump or get through anxiety? Sadly, many also had to deal with loss: loss of a job, loss of business, loss of connectedness with others, or even worse, loss of loved ones. How did you handle it? What did you learn? And of course, now what?

Here are three tips to start reflecting:

  • Identify THREE things you learned about yourself in 2020,
  • Describe THREE other things you learned, e.g., health, work, others, gratitude, spirituality, etc.
  • What THREE actions will you take in 2021 based on what you learned in 2020?

Learning is always about moving forward. Challenge yourself to develop a personal theme or adopt a quote* to describe how you will approach 2021. Share them here if you like. While we all hope for a healthy and successful 2021, storms in life happen.  Whatever the year delivers, using the hindsight of 2020 will better prepare you to rise to the challenges of any storms you may face and make the most of any opportunities presented in 2021.  Happy New Year!

Barrett, L.F. (2020). 7 ½ lessons about the brain. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt Publishing.

Katz G., Petersen, W., & Weinstein, P. (Producers) & Weinstein, P. (Director). The Perfect Storm [Motion Picture]. United States. Warner Bros. Pictures.

  • Quote is a suggestion by the Center of Creative Leadership

Photo credit: Ian Taylor via Unsplash