Looking back at a year of challenges

zebra looking back
It is customary at this time of year to look back, see how far we have come, what we have learned, where things have improved or worsened. And today, just a few days before the annual Christmas shutdown, I’m in that frame of mind.

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And to be honest, unsurprisingly to any residents of planet Earth, 2020 could well be described as a shitfest, or possibly a clusterfuck – one of our favourite words for 2011 (the year of the Chch quakes and pretty much the worst of my life up till now).

So what have I learned?

  1. When the shit hits the fan, you can’t rely on the people you work for to have your back.
    Yep, the year of being made redundant after nearly 11 years at the same company. Due primarily to covid but possibly also due to a bit of panic by young business owners, not terribly accurate crystal ball gazing at a time when no-one had a real clue how this was going to play out, etc.

  2. When the going gets tough …
    Yes, I have found some of my internal resilience and motivation, as I set up a new business, built a website, and started reaching out to my networks of past colleagues, past clients, friends and all sorts of new connections made online, to offer my services. And kept on ‘going to work’ every day in my home office to get stuff done, even when there was nothing paid to do.

  3. There’s no room for being precious.
    I recall a time many years ago, when I had a real aversion to “sales” (ironic given that I work in marketing and my husband at the time was a real estate agent). I got hooked up in my “credibility” and kept getting in my own way. This time round, we didn’t have the luxury of anything along those lines because there was rent to pay and all the other bills.
    So my ability to network (even when there were no events thanks to covid); be brave and a little cheeky about suggesting I might be able to help people I only knew online; follow-up people I met and offer them my assistance/support, in some cases for free if they needed it; have many coffees with people I hadn’t seen in years and as a result steadily start building a base of regular clients, became the most essential skill in my toolbox. And I say that as someone who has always been particularly crap at networking.

  4. Family makes all the difference.
    As a couple who managed fairly uniquely it seems to fall through all the gaps when it came to govt covid related assistance, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of family members and I will be eternally grateful for that. I cannot fathom how we would have made it to the end of this year any other way and I know that is a privilege many others don’t have – there but for the grace of the planets aligning go we.

  5. It is apparently possible to hold your breath for 9 months.
    Recently I was offered a part time role starting in January 2021, which will supplement my client work, and for a week or so after that happening I felt on the verge of tears, often. I think in essence what was going on was a sense of relief that we might be finding our way out of the woods at last, and perhaps I could actually start to breathe again.

  6. Living in New Zealand is a privilege.
    Of course nowhere is perfect, but every single day since March this year I have woken up grateful for living in this country and for the leadership we have had through this pandemic. We know many others would love to be in the same position and I hold out hope that a change of leadership in places like the US in 2021 might start to slowly improve that situation.

  7. Clients supporting a new business are the best.
    Along with the support of my family, of course the support of the businesses who have trusted me with their social media, marketing strategy and content creation have been my saviours this year. And I look forward to continuing to work with them all as we head into 2021. I’m excited for the new projects coming up, and for the new clients I will meet via the agency I am starting work for also.

  8. We all have a story to share.
    Talking to a client the other day about story telling and she was saying how she didn’t think she had any stories to share, I pointed out that the experiences we have gone through this year, building our own businesses, working out what it is we want to do and what we have to ‘sell’ to clients who might need or benefit from our skills – all of that is our story. And this post is a small portion of my 2020 story.

 

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