lessons from 2020

When you look back on 2020, what first comes to mind? What do you think of? What lessons did you learn along the way?

As business owners, it’s so important to take time out to reflect on our achievements, consider the things we’ve learned, and use this information to plan for what’s to come! What better time to do that than at the beginning of a brand new year – and let’s face it, 2020 was a year that most of us will gladly move on from. And as quickly as possible! So what are your lessons from 2020?

In this blog, our co-founder Anna shares hers:

1) Family

Quite a simple heading for the first of my lessons. And one that people will immediately interpret in their own way, based on their own circumstances.

For me, 2020 has been all about family. Mercifully, at the time of writing, we have been untouched by COVID-19, and this is something I will always be thankful for, even if it reaches us at some point in the future. We’ve been lucky in other ways too. Lockdown has meant that my husband has been able to spend far more time at home with us, rather than endure a long commute. We even share an office now, and it’s been great! I’ve also been incredibly grateful for our support bubble, because it means I can make sure that my wonderful Mum has been ok through all of this. But nevertheless, my heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones to this pandemic.

And a final point of note for this particular lesson from 2020? That I’m strong. And far stronger than I thought was possible. And I’m proud of that.

2) Focus on wellbeing

You’re probably thinking ‘I’ve heard that before‘… and you’d be right! It’s a very common goal, especially at this time of year and indeed it’s been one of my New Year’s Resolutions countless times! So why is it one of my lessons from 2020? Well, for me, 2020 was abour surviving. Literally, in the context of COVID-19, but also in terms of making sure my family were safe and had everything we needed, balancing work and home-schooling our daughter, and just generally getting through each day!

But rather than realising that I should prioritise my own wellbeing, what I really learned from 2020 is that I am now ready to. And that’s the thing – if someone tells you simply that you should look after yourself better, you probably won’t. You’ll get distracted, put things off and not achieve much. But if you actually want to do something, it gives you a whole new level of motivation. And now, with my new smartwatch on my wrist (thanks hubby!) and a target of 8000 steps per day (current streak, 5 days in a row!), I’m good to go!

3) Time really does fly…

… especially when you don’t expect it to! We have lived under massive restrictions this year, and as I write, continue to do so, and I for one, am feeling the constraints of an enforced routine. But despite this, day 1 of lockdown 1 still feels like only a few days ago to me. This is particularly pertinent in the context of my daughter. She has gone from a pink-loving, princess and unicorn-loving girly girl to a dinosaur-obsessed, aspiring geologist/planet saver who gets ever so slightly frustrated by my lack of knowledge of homophones and part-whole models! So what’s the third of my lessons from 2020? Make the most of every day, because time always flies by faster than you expect it to. That, and you can still make your own adventures, even when you’re stuck at home!

4) Even if something is outside of your comfort zone, try…

… and you might surprise yourself. As small business owners, 2020 has forced us all to re-think our businesses, and to pivot wherever we could to try to ensure our survival. I’ve been hugely inspired by the women of our own community who have done exactly this. The wonderful Jane of Warren Beauty added a new arm to her beauty business, creating the most beautiful gift boxes. Karen and her colleagues at Maidenhead Gift Emporium created an online store and offered click and collect when they were forced to close their doors. And Helen, who only launched The Work Life Co. at the beginning of the first lockdown, completely changed how she would deliver her services when her original plans became impossible.

But this particular lesson from 2020 also applies on a personal level. We have all been forced to adapt our businesses wherever we could this year, but 2020 has also pushed many of us outside of our comfort zones. We’ve learned to use new technologies that we may not even have considered before. Embraced online networking and other events when we could no longer see clients in person. Learned to work in different ways and to balance our businesses and other commitments. We’ve never given up, and while many of these things were really new to us, it turned out we were actually pretty damned good at them!

5) Nothing is more important than people

We may have been unable to be together in person for the majority of last year, but in so many ways, 2020 brought us together. The power of connection was visible everywhere. From the weekly Clap for Carers, to those going out of their way to help friends and neighbours. Seeing people working together and helping each other. Or just making it clear to others that you were there, if they needed you.

Again, we were both proud and inspired to see this being played out within the Tabono tribe. Some of our members provide vital services that are of direct benefit to the wider community – like Clare Cogan, who supports teens with their mental health.

But our community as a whole? They were there for each other. Someone shared that they were struggling in the Facebook group and an outpouring of support followed within minutes. Offers of help were made. Walks in the park were suggested. Care packages were delivered. They were there for each other, and continue to be so. And that makes them some of the most amazing women that I know.

So there you have it. My five lessons from 2020! Why not share your own in the comments?