page title icon 8 Lessons I Learned In 2020

The year 2020 has been life-changing for just about every single person on the planet. It’s had a huge impact and been a very challenging year for most people. Because of that, it has required people across the globe to change and adapt to a new way of life. 

For me, personally…I feel like my personal development practice has come into play here in a big way (this is my way of encouraging you to take your own self-care more seriously if you don’t already!). After spending years investing in myself, I think it made me feel more resilient to adapt to the change. I also used this year as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I did this by: 

  • Taking my family on a 3-week road trip.
  • Sticking with my morning routine every single day.
  • Starting the Morning Upgrade Blog and Podcast
  • Starting a book club as a way of investing in my team’s personal development at Ballantine. In that club, we started by reading the Compound Effect which inspired this blog post
  • Helping my wife and kids adapt to virtual learning – uncharted territory!

In addition to using this time to get outside of my comfort zone, I have learned a lot…and I know I’ll carry these lessons with me for the rest of my life. I’m sharing these lessons hoping you’ll pull a good nugget or two from them!

Here’s what has stuck out to me this year:

1. We Are More Resilient Than We Realize

If you think about it, the whole world has had a lot happening this past year. Everything from wearing masks to social distancing to major changes in the way businesses run. In our own country, we’ve had many other changes as well, like getting a new president.  

Even though a lot happened, we all still managed to live our lives….do our work, and get along for the most part. It’s impressive the way we as humans have adapted to the new world. For example, restaurants have radically changed the way they serve food (curbside pickup and outdoor dining). Even in my own company, we’ve had to adapt by going to a fully remote program. 

2. Personal Development is Crucial For Adapting 

Now, more than ever, I believe personal development is crucial for adapting and thriving through change. I think one of the biggest reasons that it helps you get through change is because so much of personal development helps your mindset. 

Sure, some of personal development is physical, like building muscles and staying healthy…but most of it has to do with your mindset. This prepares you for when things don’t happen the way you want it to or expect it to. Nothing in life but change is guaranteed, and this isn’t the only year you’ll experience change.

3. Relationships Are Key

Going into quarantine has made me realize how important relationships are. I’ve loved being home with my girls and wife, Jill. Not only that, I miss getting together with my friends. All of this had made me realize that health and relationship are the most important things in life. 

I mean…I know that relationships are key, but because we’ve stripped away so many things from our lives this year, it has stuck out to me even more that it all comes down to relationships. 

4. Without Good Health You Have Nothing

This year, it has become very evident to me that without health, you have nothing. You can be very successful, but without your health, you won’t enjoy it. While I think we all knew this, 2020 slammed this fact in our faces pretty hard. 

A lot of people have taken this year to really focus on their health and make lifestyle changes. For me personally, I committed to getting to my ideal weight and I’m over halfway to my goal!  

5. Downtime is Not Only OK, It’s Great!

My life got a lot slower with COVID-19….and you know what? I have felt happier ever since. Actually, a lot of people have felt this way. As a culture, we’ve been addicted to “busy” and when people were forced to slow down, they really savored it. 

Even though I have a lot going on with raising my girls and being a partner in my family’s business, I have more time than ever. There’s less commuting to and from work and less activities overall. I think a lot of people will agree that it has been a good thing to get more downtime in their week. 

6. Look For Opportunities Even in Challenging Times 

A lot of things have happened this year. The virus, weather changes, riots, a new president…all of these changes have come with their fair share of pros and cons. The worst thing you can do in the face of great change is to say, “this sucks” and hate life. 

My approach has been to look for opportunities in the midst of these challenging times. I looked around at ways to create a positive impact on others. This is why I created Morning Upgrade. There are a lot of ways to invest in others through personal development, but my particular interests, experience, skills, and abilities made it possible for me to create this blog and podcast. 

When you take this approach, I think you’ll find that there are always new opportunities available to you. It forces you to do things differently and make changes. Maybe you had to get a new job or pivot in your business. Even in challenging times, there are opportunities. 

7. Life is Meant to be Enjoyed, Otherwise What’s The Point?  

I believe that life is supposed to be fun and enjoyable or what’s the point? I think that pre-pandemic, it was easier to say this than actually do this, because there were so many distractions and routines. 

Before this year, I did the same things every day. Commute to work, get off and go to boxing class, rush to pick up the kids, and have a late dinner. Now, my life is completely different and much slower. I’ve enjoyed it so much more because I’m spending more time with my family and investing in side projects (Morning Upgrade) that I’m passionate about. 

8. Happiness And Life Satisfaction is a Choice That You Can And Should Make

You can and should make the choice to be happy every day. I feel like there has been a lot of devastation this year and a lot of unrest. And, if you focus on all of that, life won’t be enjoyable like I talked about in the point above. Also, you will have a harder time choosing to be happy and satisfied with what changes you’ve had to make. 

I think that the pandemic has given us some freedoms we didn’t have readily before. Now, companies are more virtual than ever. So, you could take on a job that allows you to live anywhere you want and have more flexibility. You can control your schedule and have more free time. 

This year has forced people and companies to re-evaluate everything. And, when done right, it can be a very positive thing. I hope you will use this year as a chance to re-structure and re-style your life. Don’t let the opportunities you’ve been given pass you by!

Key Takeaways:

  • Invest in your personal development to prepare yourself for changes
  • Look for opportunities in times of great challenge
  • Slow down and enjoy your life
  • Spend more time focusing on relationships
  • Work on your health goals

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