If you believe that all you have to show for 2020 is a face mask and a beating heart, here’s how you can actually uncover the highlights of last year, which you get to tick off.
Here is the break that you deserve: ‘Surviving’ is allowed to be your only 2020 achievement. You are permitted to have not learnt a new language during the global pandemic that continues to devastate the world.
However, for those who have them, reflecting on the highlights of your year can be a truly revealing experience. The things you uncovered and come to terms with as the year drew to a close can become actionable intel to get you to your goals even more efficiently in 2021.
Don’t feel disheartened if it does not seem like there is much to highlight – you learn, even when you have nothing physical in your hand to show for it. Every time you put on a face mask correctly, and then ventured beyond your relative personal safety zone, you exercised discipline, respect, and survival skills. Every time you counted coins to buy your food, or made a list of ‘wants’ and ‘needs’, you showcased financial planning skills, and rolled out managerial tactics by identifying your priorities.
For those who have never faced a major cultural and civil upheaval, gaining steady footing and maintaining your mental wellbeing in 2020 must have been challenging. Most people are never prepared for the metaphorical rug being dragged from under them, but if you are reading this, then you eventually found your equilibrium, and that is a success to check off!
As a positive 2020 gain, I have a few tools I want to share to help you realise that while surviving 2020 is a feat you accomplished, there’s more to your journey this past year which you should revel in.
Here are five tools to help you recognise your gains:
Make a list
Think back to everything you have done since social distancing was recommended around the world – make a list of every mundane and memorable act and activity you have done; from eating to building something new, caring for loved ones, and grocery shopping, taking the time to smell flowers, or listening in to the sounds of your neighbourhood.
Check your privilege
Were you able to help somebody else during the pandemic, or a lockdown you were under? You were in a privileged position, and in helping somebody else, you gained even more humanity.
Create your success diary
Where everyone else may have a gratitude diary, during the pandemic lockdown, I started a ‘success diary’ in which I logged the successes I had achieved – no matter how big or small
We are so focused on the negative things, of what we didn’t achieve, that we don’t realise how much we have accomplished in the interim. These successes range from a client complimenting you, to Google sending you thanks for online reviewing places you visited. These accomplishments could be supporting most of your stellar employees through hardships and difficult times or even maintaining a clean and functional workspace where you have been so productive.
Do a mind, body and heart check
Your body needs listening to. Your experiences need to be understood. Your feelings need to be recognised in order to grow far more, when you are in-tune with your mind, body, and heart, so take the time to do some introspection. You may gain good health, and something more, just from doing a status check.
Close your computer, leave your phone in a drawer, walk outside, and take a resounding deep breathe. Your gains are also out there too, right now. If you’re wearing a face mask, you probably can’t smell your gains coming, or taste them in the air, but they’re there and ready for your effort.
If you are serious about succeeding in the New Year, here are five ways to enhance your personal brand.
- Update your LinkedIn immediately. Update your contact details. Update your biography section. Make sure you have the most up to date profile picture and cover picture (billboard) on your LinkedIn, and perhaps reshare a recent article you have read, that you think others may gain something from reading it too.
- Make a list of 10 pieces of advice you want to share with someone, that you’ve learned in business – especially in the last year. Get started on sharing those kernels of wisdom once a week on social media; 10 tips over 10 weeks!
- Share your personal stories. People don’t just want to hear about the good times, so share your highs and your lows. People want to connect with you, and see themselves within your journey, so give them the gift of this authenticity.
- Collaborate. Your personal brand is your own, however, being a thought-leader or engaging member of the virtual world, means connecting and sharing. Reach more people, hear more stories, and connect, by collaborating with someone else you think suits what you are about. Share wisdom and tell stories on each other’s platforms for a day or a week, and watch how the collaboration helps you flourish. It could be a video, a song, or some other interesting multimedia, but try.
- Don’t knock the benefits of TedTalks! Some great TedTalks have broken down complex ideas into dazzling bites that can be understood and internalised by viewers in engineering, human society and even business.
- Some great TedTalks have broken down complex ideas, in engineering, human society, and even business, into dazzling bites that many can consume and carry with them easily. TedTalks are a riveting use of a platform to the masses, Forbes Contributor David Marquet states one can “invite the audience to listen differently to imagine their lives, their work, and their world in a different way”.
- You should try and find your topic of interest on the TedTalk platform, and even design your own talk from home.
Taking the first steps
Your gains and your future successes are contingent on taking first steps. It is not about the overwhelming grand plan, but the efficient progression of the day-to-day tasks. So, when you feel like you’re struggling to catch your next breath, hang on to that one task on your list, and that one gain, and then do them, and do another, logging your accomplishments.
Eventually, you will have worked at something, and developed a certain level of consistency – and every first step you took, now resulting in an inevitable conclusion: success!
Liezel van der Westhuizen is an accomplished presenter, adaptable virtual emcee, global branding specialist, and beloved keynote speaker. The skillful presenter has a lauded vocal dexterity that is evident in her work as a voice-over artist. And she has over a decade of acting and meritorious presenting experience within film and television. Liezel (Masters graduate in Business Communication) is also owner of The Giraffe Academy, which is dedicated to a mission of personal brand-building, assisting clients to stick their necks out and cultivate their power to stand tall and be unique. This, she believes, is the key to marketplace success.
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