It’s hard to believe that we are winding down the clock on 2020. It still feels like that day in March where we sat down at Uncompany and decided to close our office and work from home. It still feels like the early days of lockdown; business loss, anxious nights/days/hours, kids at home and what seemed like a constant stream of news. 2020 has been a year that has been a constant pendulum swing between faith and fear. So now we begin to close the books on this year and look toward next year. But before we do let’s look back on what we learned during this “unprecedented” year.
“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”— Winston Churchill
I like Churchill and to me when I think of the word “relentless” I think of him. This year when it seemed like so many things were stacked against us as small business owners we saw so many of you lean into that fight and keep grinding. In the last few years it’s seemed that sometimes the effort was easy and the reward was great. This year has taught us that at times we need to find the satisfaction in the fight, in the work, even if the reward isn’t always there.
“If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself.”— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
We lost RBG this year and for many of us she was a lighthouse. She left us so many lessons and this quote and the concept of “innovation” was another large theme for this year. During a year where we were forced to innovate to survive – seeing how businesses adapted to live online, how restaurants set-up to safely accommodate guests, and how we continued to support each other was inspirational. One of the biggest measures of a successful business is their ability to adapt and change when pushed into a corner.
“No man(woman) is an island, entire of itself…”— John Donne, English Poet
This line from John Donne, came to mind so many times this year as I was sitting in my basement, bouncing between emails, unloading the dishwasher, and downloading 3rd grade Spelling homework. The isolation this year at times seemed endless even though I have so many people in my house. My kids, husband, my brother and our new dog, Crash, ALL live with me and are usually within 10 feet of me (sigh) at ALL times. I still felt isolated. I know for so many, you were even more alone. I’ve realized that while I do enjoy being alone I need to see people, shake hands, have coffee with my friends. We aren’t meant to be without hugs or without community.
These three things: being relentless in pursuit, innovating and adapting, staying connected to a community, are three things that this year has taught me. Now ending this year we are grateful for the work we did with over 50 clients (15 new), launch of AudioCampfire – our first mobile app, and more community events and webinars. We end this year not turning over the hard things from 2020 but looking toward next year with excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. For us next year will mean the development of educational classes for freelancers and clients, launch of a new software portal for our OnDeck offering, and the launch of a new podcast.
Lastly, here’s one final quote that made me laugh this year while reading Dr. Seuss with my son Charlie. “It’s high time you were shown that you really don’t know all there is to be known.” I think this came up to remind me that 2020 was a large, meteoric-like curveball that reminded us not to get too comfortable, too entitled, too complacent with the way it’s always been done; we still have a lot to learn. So let’s sharpen our pencils and start 2021 ready to write.
“It’s high time you were shown that you really don’t know all there is to be known.“— Dr. Suess