There is no magic in the start of a new year. The change of the calendar is not going to induce some mystical shift in the patterns of our lives. 

The magic is in you.

Every thought that races through our brains (that’s 6 000 per day) and every action we take is a seed that will bear fruit in our future. We are more powerful than we realise (perhaps even more powerful than the economy or politicians to dictate the course of our lives). 

What is helpful as we wait up for the countdown (or go to bed at the usual time if you’re over 30) is that the universal shift in the calendar creates a space for the psyche to separate past from future. 

Our souls need hope to breathe. 

Extended lockdowns have placed a damper on most people’s plans to just be done with 2020 so that they could start 2021 on a clean slate. I remember the hype of 2020 being the year of “perfect vision”.

Looking back now, perhaps 2020 did give us the opportunity to reassess what truly matters and face who we really are.

Blaise Pascal’s quote “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” took on an eerie reverberation as we were forced to do just that.

Times of crisis offers the following gifts:

  1. It revels what lies beneath our masks (pun intended);
  2. It presents opportunities to reassess and reevaluate what’s working and what’s not;
  3. It helps us see our limitations in technicolor but also provides the opportunity to stretch and grow through the discomfort;
  4. It helps us identity blind spots in relation to how we’re defining success; and
  5. It helps us remember what’s really important — the quality of our relationships.

My baby was born on 13 December 2019 so being forced into lockdown in March 2020 meant that I could focus a bit more on the growth of my miracle child and adjust to my first year of motherhood.

I’d already been working from home since I launched my own business so I watched in interest at how organisational leaders who previously pushed against worker flexibility had no choice but to adapt.

Then the realities of retrenchments set in and I shared some insights on how people could downsize, pay off debt and reskill to adapt to this new reality.

The brave will thrive in this new world

COVID-19 was the tsunami that has created a sea change in the future of work. The disruption that the 4IR and the impending 5IR was creating has been accelerated by the sudden economic shutdown.

Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods.

What we’ve believed and acted on in terms of our intrinsic worth and our relation to work has been tested. What have you learned about your approach to work and about your belief in your ability to adapt to sudden changes?

Those who have been operating from a strong internal locus of control before the pandemic hit would’ve been able to navigate the rolling waves of uncertainty and fear better than those beleaguered by an external locus of control.

What lessons can we glean from the collateral damage of a global pandemic?

  • We need an identity outside of our work: You bring your identity and worth to you job. It cannot give you that. It creates the environment for you to grow, address blind spots and produce results — but all of that is a reflection of who you are. If you know who you are outside of a job description, than you can easily take on a new job role and apply yourself to any new environment.
  • Debt will cripple our future: My husband and I have been debt free for three years now. Living below our means has become a habit that has served us well as we moved across country, started a new business, welcomed a new baby into our lives and navigated job loss due to a company liquidation (pre-COVID19). I can’t imagine how the stress of lockdown would’ve been amplified if we were still paying off consumer debt. Too many people are trapped in silent prisons of debt, which is why I’m so passionate about our financial literacy courses that help individuals to uncover their core beliefs about their relationship with money. It took me over 20 years to gain financial stability — and I’m still learning every day!
  • We need to be more intentional about cultivating quality relationships: Not being able to be in physical contact with the people in our lives reminded us how we’re wired for connection. There may have been some people that you were relieved you didn’t have to make up an excuse not to see — which points to relationships that are draining instead of energizing. Strengthening our emotional maturity is an essential component to experiencing fulfillment. That starts with becoming the kind of people we would like to be friends with.
  • Developing resiliency is a core life skill: Maintaining a victim mindset will ultimately lead to our demise. Purpose fuels your perseverance and helps you to keep getting up every time you get knocked down. It’s time to become the hero of our own lives.
  • Reliance on a single source income is no longer an option: The things I’m trying to put into place now are the things I wish I did in my 20s (if I’d had the emotional stability to approach my life from a place of wholeness). The side hustle is the new job security and this means that there are new pathways opening up. Passivity is not an option when trying to build multiple streams of income — it involves a commitment to life long learning, a willingness to constantly lean into the learning gap and the courage to look like a fool when attempting something new.

2021 will be much the same as 2020 — there will be things coming up that we didn’t expect, more barriers than opportunities and the silent procession of nature, day in and day out, regardless of the choices we make.

How will you take your life back in 2021?