I’ve always loved the idea of a New Year, with all the promise that entails. But I can’t remember any time in my life when I was so eager to leave an old year behind and start fresh. I doubt there are many people out there who will miss 2020!
While this is the time of year for making New Year’s resolutions, my friend and I have made it a longstanding tradition to first take the time to list the things we did accomplish over the past year, and then use that list to figure out where we want to go moving forward.
Like many of us, I began using Zoom out of necessity this year. At first, it was a bit of a hassle – I view my home as my sanctuary, so inviting strangers in, even virtually, was a bit uncomfortable. And then you had the logistics: figuring out how to position the laptop so that it didn’t cut off your head, dealing with computer freezes, cat visitations, remembering to turn off the mute button when speaking (and turn it back on to drown out the dogs barking when the mail came!). And the strangeness of learning a new way to communicate…that awkward goodbye wave that so many of us end our meetings with (even though we’d never do that with a live meeting), or that moment when someone’s child drops in to ask a personal question before realizing they just shared that personal question with a cyber room full of people.
But adapting is the name of the game these days, and in this case, there are even some interesting benefits. For instance, I’ve not only learned to use Zoom (and a host of other programs) better, I’ve come to enjoy being able to see the people I speak with, albeit on a computer screen. How many of us have spent years talking to colleagues or industry people without ever having a face to put to the name? I feel like I know people better for getting to match voices with faces (and, as bonus, it’s nice to see people’s smiles without the mask for a change!)
I’d also argue that most of us have dramatically improved our tech skills this year. Not only are we more comfortable communicating in new ways, but with sourcing an ongoing problem, we’ve largely become better at online research, whether tracking down a specific product for a job or seeking out creative replacements.
Many of us have also become better at social media. And more time spent at home contemplating the things we hate about our own spaces has probably made us more sympathetic to clients who are desperate to remodel!
So before you write off this crazy year and slam the door on all things 2020, why not take a few minutes to consider what you learned and accomplished. And, as you set your goals for 2021, think how you can build on that.
Maybe it’s time to start that blog you’ve been talking about for years. Maybe now that you “know” some of those formerly faceless voices on the phone a bit better, you’ll be motivated to get out of your comfort zone and do more real time networking when things get safe enough to do so.
Perhaps you’ve come to realize that working from home is a business model that works for you – or maybe you want to re-imagine your showroom to accommodate some of the new tech you’ve mastered in the past year.
However much you want to celebrate the end of 2020 and catapult your business into the New Year, don’t forget to take the lessons you learned with you!