Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
2020 has been a wild ride. With the new year fast approaching, we must take the time to reflect and review before we get caught up in all the excitement 2021 has instore for us. No one can deny that 2020 has been extremely challenging and, in some cases, outright horrible for many people around the globe. Yes, there has been (and still is) a global pandemic. Yes, our lives have been made more challenging. Yes, there is more social unrest and discord than any time in history. There is no denying the often-difficult reality that this past year has thrown each of our ways. Based on these thoughts, the answer to the question in the title of this article, memorable or forgettable, seems obvious… forgettable!
I am sure that many readers have already said to yourself “you hit the nail square on the head!” Before you fully commit to the “forgettable camp”, allow me to offer a different perspective on 2020 (or any year for that matter). Just like everything in life, there is more than one way to view things. In April of 2020, I shared a post titled “HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL? YOUR PERSPECTIVE WILL DICTATE YOUR SUCCESS”. In that article I suggest the idea that everything can be viewed in a positive perspective. Providing one opens their eyes and mind, there are positives all around us, we simply need to change how we look at it. Even though there were so many challenges in 2020, there were also so many wonderful, amazing and positive things that also shaped this year. For example, besides the horrible impact of the pandemic, so many people elevated themselves and did anything possible to uplift and help their fellow human beings. Whether it was simply funny videos or big projects to help those in need, there was amazing and inspiring human actions everywhere we looked. The key is that we had to be looking! I am confident that any of us, regardless of how terrible the year has been, can identify a long list of positives and goodness that they experienced. I challenge you to do some recollection and reflection to see what your list looks like. I would be willing to wager that your list will be lengthy.
Other than simply being a positivity-oriented person, why am I choosing to write about this topic now? As people who are successful in life do, we wind down the year (or any period of time) and look back to recognize and learn from our experiences. One can easily look back and only see the negative. Unfortunately, that approach will throw a road-block in your pathway to success. There is always the mindset “at least my life is not as bad as…”, which is valid and a great way to be appreciative of the things we are blessed with. I was recently watching a show that had a person sharing their past 16 months; he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (in remission but guaranteed to come back at some future time), his wife diagnosed with breast cancer and he was too sick to be there for her (currently in remission and clear), and other challenges. My family has had its fair share of health issues. However, my wife turned to me and shared “it makes me grateful for what I have, there are always folks out there that it is harder for and worse than me.” This is one aspect of reflection, knowing that no matter how difficult my life may be, there are others that really suffer, far worse than I could ever imagine. This allows us to be grateful for the wonderful things we have in our lives.
The next level beyond what I just described is wearing the “positive goggles”. Positivity breeds positivity. When I look back at 2020, I see amazing accomplishments on a business and personal level. I see various achievements and benchmarks. I see those that I have helped or impacted in a good way. The list goes on with wonderful and positive things I have experienced or done throughout the last year. By looking for the positive in everything, it puts me into a positive mindset. This mindset allows me to set better goals, prepare more effectively, and be ready to make 2021 another awesome year for myself and those around me. This way of being is purely a CHOICE. It will not happen by accident, rather, it takes a conscious effort to put the positive goggles on and look past the negative. When you do, you will not only find more success, but also just simply feel better. Once mastered, it becomes like a snowball effect and positivity builds more positive experiences and results.
Using reflection as a springboard to future success
In addition to having a positive mindset future success will be determined by our ability to perform accountability checks and be self-aware. Just like I shared above, this is not reserved for the end of the year. Accountability and self-awareness checks can and should be performed on a regular basis. It can be a period of time, or simply after a single event (such as a sales presentation). The formula I use to perform these checks is the following: First ask yourself “what did I do well?”, then after recognizing the positives, ask yourself “what can I improve on/do better?”. It seems like a simple set of questions, but I cannot express clearly how often I see this getting messed up. The order of the questions makes as much of an impact as what you are asking. By focusing on the positive aspect (what I did well), I put myself into a positive or constructive mindset. Additionally, when I identify the positives, it gives me the platform to be consistent with the good stuff. If you do not recognize the good actions, how can we repeat them consistently? The next part of the question set is extremely easy to “get wrong”. By simply changing the phrasing, you can do more damage than good. For example, if you ask yourself “what did I do wrong?” or “what did I mess up?”, you are on a slippery negative oriented slope. “What can I do better?” is a positive mindset question. It indicates you can accept your shortcomings, but you are focused on improvement. However, when the question is asked in a negative way, it is defeating, and you are beating yourself down. There is little constructive thought, rather predominantly destructive thought. Clearly this will not provide that springboard for success.
I have yet to encounter a successful person (in business or in life) that ignores this obligation to improve. Remember, positivity breeds positivity. If you beat yourself down, you also must build yourself back up. With positive accountability and awareness, you can repeat the successful things you do and make the small tweaks or improvements to improve your results when compared to a previous experience or period of time. Everyone SAYS they want to be successful and many have people they admire or “idolize”. If all we look at is the final product and ignore the work that went into becoming that success, you will never achieve it yourself. Success requires action, energy, and commitment. Everyone is capable of achieving great things but must be willing to put in the work. With this article, my hopes are that you approach the end of the year as an opportunity to practice some or all of these ideas for yourself. Use these concepts to live a more positive and fulfilling life in both business and personal. Remove the negativity, replace it with positivity, reap the rewards. 2020 (and any experience) was memorable, you just have to open your eyes and mind. Let’s make 2021 even better than any year we have previously experienced and celebrate that success together.