I am fortunate to know many successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. A number of them blog. Over the past few weeks, I have read many of their thoughts and insights about the year that was. Their sentiments touch on similar themes. I wish to add my own.
2020 was an exhausting year.
It placed enormous pressure on small business. Many businesses were fortunate to be in industries that could thrive and/or pivot in these circumstances, yet many were not.
The move to online product/service delivery was supercharged, yet left many businesses owners overwhelmed by the technology and the speed of change. Again, those that were able to quickly adapt and be creative were able to sustain their businesses through the worst of the lockdowns.
Millions of people globally lost their jobs, forcing them to choose the path of starting their own micro businesses.
Business owners who are parents struggled under the pressure of home learning, while trying to sustain their businesses at the same time. Operating from a home environment while attending to the emotional and educational needs of their children was less than desirable. In many countries, this is still the status quo.
In amongst the struggle and fear, business owners reassessed their priorities. Many welcomed more time with family. Many struggled with the isolation.
Many many people had friends or relatives succumb to illness or death and were unable to get home to tend to their nearest and dearest, or to bury their loved ones. In 2020, many of us have also been deeply traumatised by other diseases like racism and misogyny.
I predict a massive wave of post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in the coming 18 months. I also predict the collapse of some notable universities, and the total re-imagining of the higher education sector. From crisis comes opportunity. New businesses and social enterprises will rise to solve these global challenges, and more.
In amongst this trauma and sadness and fear, we also experienced many moments of joy, peppered through the year - be they gatherings on Zoom to celebrate birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, or special moments of sharing love and friendship. Many picked up new hobbies and explored new passions.
This is not the worst storm we have weathered over the past 100 years. It is, however, the first major storm that recent generations have experienced as a collective. We are all in this together.
There is no doubt that collectively we have moved into 2021 exhausted and cautious. Some of us don’t have any “hustle” left and are struggling to lift ourselves up. Many of you may be re-examining your business models, or at a deeper level, exploring your inner purpose and reassessing your “WHY”.
As we move into 2021, there are signs that things will get better with the coming of the vaccination programs. The truth is, we do not know what will happen globally this year. But do we ever know what a year will bring us? No, we do not. We need to live in the present and be resilient in the face of what is presented.
2021 will hopefully be a year of recovery and healing. We need to prioritise HEALTH. We need to heal ourselves emotionally. Countries need to heal from the illness of the pandemic. Small businesses, particularly in the most affected industries need to heal from the battering by finding new avenues to revenue.
2021 calls for the rising of leaders with high integrity to occupy positions of power and influence across all our public and private institutions. Only with transformational leadership steeped in love and positive social impact, can we move forward for the betterment of humanity, all living creatures and our precious environment.
Do we know if 2021 will be a better year? No we do not. But if we play our part for the greatest good, it will be.
Dynamic entrepreneur, keynote speaker, writer and host, I have spent 20 years building communities and establishing highly influential business networks globally.