2020: My Greatest Hardships, My Greatest Growth...
This year has been a rollercoaster for us all. We’ve all gone through high levels of uncertainty, fear, anger, grief, and most every other emotion on the spectrum you could imagine. In the spirit of giving from God’s greatest gift to me (mindset and critical analysis), I offer you my top moments of 2020, the biggest lessons learned, and why they will make my 2021 the BEST year yet.
As with human perspective, you will label these through your own lens, however I encourage you to shift that perspective, as these stories show both hardship and growth, I can assure you they were ALL blessings. Here they are:
1. I almost lost my dad in 2020...
I’ll never forget the call I got from my mom after my dad’s initial consultation with the heart surgeon. On Monday of that week, we were expecting a routine stent procedure. And by Thursday, we were facing a very serious and emergent quadruple bypass complicated by significant aortic stenosis and a less than optimistic prognosis (referred to as the “widow-maker” blockage).
The next month of my life was a blur. I had to take a temporary leave of absence from my company. Myself and my dad would travel daily back and forth from Cleveland Clinic for a week or so in pre-op testing and appointments. In a cathartic way, these long drives were nice. We were able to just spend quiet time together and talk. Surgery itself was a challenge, as secondary to Covid precautions, I was THE only person allowed at the hospital throughout my dad’s stay. Through the grace of God and the steady hands at Cleveland Clinic, my dad’s surgery was a success and he continues to be on the road to recovery several months later.
I have a quiet rule that I keep to myself but employ in all aspects of life. It’s what I call "The 24 hour rule". Get some bad news? Things don’t go your way? Some unexpected challenge has come your way? Well you have 24 hours to sulk. When you wake up the next day, you have no choice but to become razor focused. You HAVE to become the leader. You HAVE to face the challenge head on. You have NO TIME to feel sorry for yourself if you want success.
Thinking back to the day of the surgery and seeing my dad initially post-op, I really have no idea how I held it together. Not one ounce of anxiety or uncertainty. One hundred percent stoic and balanced. Ready to be the rock.
I implore you all to live life with this rule. Be the leader you are looking for. Be the solution to life’s problems. Be the support system of those around you who haven’t yet found their own personal strength to BE the foundation yet (although it DOES exist within us all).
2. My business survived (and thrived!) during a pandemic...
It’s moments like this when you question your sanity for being a business owner! Seriously, I reflect again and say “how did we ever do it?” One thing most humans cannot stomach is massive uncertainty. We like to know WHAT is happening. It makes life a little more comfortable. However, I’d argue that uncertainty is something every SUCCESSFUL business owner learns to fall in love with.
In March 2020, we were making life-altering decisions BY THE HOUR. Literally, everything was changing so quickly and no one had any idea the extent of what was to come. The pressure was big as our company employs eight people in some capacity and various other local vendors. As a healthcare organization, we were encouraged to stay open and provide medically necessary services to those at risk and in need. It was vital for us to both serve our employees and our clients at the HIGHEST standard. Without much guidance at the time, our leadership and adaptability skills were challenged.
Another rule of life I live by is that I take responsibility for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that happens to me. Taking extreme ownership of your life is quite empowering and allows you to become solution focused. Covid would’ve been an easy excuse to blame business failures on, however "easy" is never the path I choose! We got focused on getting better EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not just for the sake of ourselves, but for the sake of those WE SERVE. In the end our business thrived, we were able to add two more people to our team (yes we hired during covid!), and we served a record number of people in our community SAFELY!
The caveat I have for decision making is one of our primary company core values: Always do the right thing. When applied to life in a self-aware and critical manner, you will be assured to make decisions from a place of “doing what you feel is right” as opposed to seeking to “be right”. The outcomes are liberating and life changing.
3. We got married!
The greatest asset an individual can have in life is a partner that embraces their crazy dreams, supports and nurtures them, and dives head first into them with you. I couldn’t imagine being on this journey without Marissa. It would be WAY less fun and exciting (she is an enneagram 7 after all :). Our relationship has been challenged and grown strong over the years due to our willingness to embrace being uncomfortable and practicing radical transparency within our home (and business).
I believe in having an internal and an external anchor. Something and someone that helps to keep you grounded and in control of your emotions in very difficult times. Marissa is my external anchor. Weightlifting is my internal anchor. Find something and someone you CAN TRUST to keep you grounded in reality and focused on your strengths, while not succumbing to the thoughts that hold you back from achieving your greatest purpose in life.
In the end, 2020 has been nothing short of a blessing for me. God gave me challenges to overcome because He loves me and wants to see me at my strongest and at my best. Because only then can I serve how I was made to serve. Now, I encourage you to do some self assessment...
What are your core principles?
How do you view your life?
Are you where you need to be internally to not only survive, but thrive?
Remember, always focus on WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. With the right mindset and call to action, there is nothing in life that will stop you from being your best self!
I am thankful for each and every one of you in my life! May God Bless you all and I wish you the happiest, healthiest, and most growth-oriented 2021 that you could ever imagine!
2020 hasn’t been the worst year. 2020 taught us all how to be stronger and hopefully how to reset the focus on what really is important to us...