Twas the 12th January 2020 where the priest declared “You may kiss the bride”. That day, I wore the shoes of a proud groom, marrying the love of my life, Ruba, as we shared big aspirations and plans for the year ahead. It feels just like yesterday.
In February, I hopped on a plane and headed to Abu Dhabi to speak at the largest youth event in the Middle East with over 10,000 teens, and local schools. I was on Cloud 9.
March arrived, the Pandemic struck and life interrupted like never before. Like many, I was hit on the blindside, yet, I knew that the best way to move forward was to put into practice what I’ve known and preached for years – to get the “monkeys” of my back and become the leader of my life.
Having reached the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows this curve-balling 2020 year, I can look back now, in December 2020, and celebrate. I’m not sure about you, but I feel in spite of the struggles and setbacks thrown my way, I’ve learned a heap, more than I would have in an “ordinary” year and I feel this massive growth will serve me well moving forward – professionally and personally. I feel much more stronger and hopeful that ever before.
Last week, I had the honour of facilitating a segment for Professional Speakers Australia at the very first in person event for the NSW chapter since COVID-19 hit. The segment was called “The Year that was 2020” and the theme was “celebrate”. The speaking and events industry was one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic – and so the facilitation segment provided an opportunity for attendees – professional speakers and subject experts – to share their experiences, insights, lessons and tips gained in the year that was 2020.
For educators, there is so much to celebrate too, having gone above and beyond to support students in unchartered territory without a manual.As the festive holiday season draws near, I hope you take the opportunity to take time out and reflect on the year that was 2020. After all, it’s a perfect and pertinent time.
American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey once stated “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”
The following questions can be used as a guide to not only to reflect and celebrate the year that was 2020, but also, to reset and renew for a bigger, brighter and better 2021.
- What did I accomplish?
- What were my biggest disappointments?
- What opportunities emerged that wouldn’t have had the pandemic not struck?
- What did I learn that I wouldn’t have, if COVID didn’t happen?
- What have I learned to appreciate that I wouldn’t have expected to?
- Who did I build relationships with and what did I learn from building relationships with people during 2020?
- How did 2020 help me improve my approach to education and wellbeing?
- What would I like to leave in 2020 and what would I like to take with me into 2021?
- What can I look forward to in 2021?
- My favourite question of all – what is one metaphor that best describes 2020?
Highlight responses to Question 10 from last week include:
- Remote control – representing the choice we have to choose the channel that we would like to be on to ensure balance (e.g work, family, personal).
- Pet Dog – representing how simple life can be, and not to be so stressed.
- Toilet paper roll – representing greed, hoarding and the ugly side of humanity.
- Anzac Day service – representing the antidote to the toilet paper roll metaphor, where people stood in front of their driveway in their pyjamas looking up the street, showing their respects, capturing the beautiful side of humanity and the symbol of light and hope through the lit candles.
- Teddy Bear hunts – representing the opportunity given to children to get out of the house and have something fun and exciting to look forward to in the midst of lockdown.
Over to you.
Reflect, reset and renew well and may 2021 be your greatest year yet.
That’s a wrap. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a safe and enjoyable holiday break.
There is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel.