043: Reflections From a Dumpster Fire Year.

With Kelly Lawson

In honour of this completely whacked year (and because it’s the holidays) I thought I’d do something a little different for this week’s episode. In a year where everything felt like a lot, I thought I’d pare it down. So, there will be no ads, no hook, no music. Just a simple message from me to you.

So get cozy, grab a tea or an eggnog and put your feet up for a change. You deserve it. Hoo boy, do you ever. 

OK, so this crazy year is almost over, and maybe you can’t wait to see 2020 in your rearview mirror. My friend, I can totally relate. I am so ready to move on. 

And yet… let’s not be too hasty. I think that even in stressful times – especially in stressful times – we need to take stock. We need to pause and reflect. And so I want you to take this moment to think about all that you’ve accomplished this year. 

Now, I’m not talking about epic wins. I’m thinking more about survival skills. And it doesn’t need to be about business. Maybe your accomplishment is the times you did something good for yourself, like going for a walk when you felt like you couldn’t be trapped in the house another minute. It could be a new piece of software that you mastered as our entire lives moved online. Maybe it’s the fact that you kept your business alive during a pandemic. Or that you learned some wonderful new domestic skills, like how to knit or make sourdough or garden. Maybe your biggest accomplishment this year was keeping your family intact through really challenging times. 

Whatever it is, I want you to hold this accomplishment in your mind for a moment. 

And if you’re struggling to come up with anything, let me help you out because you’re missing the biggest accomplishment of them all:

you survived a pandemic. 

Now, if you’re anything like me, your brain probably goes directly to all those things you thought you’d do but didn’t. You’re seeing your goals list from last January and picturing all the unchecked boxes. 

I get it, I really do. But this is not productive or even fair to yourself. And so I’m reminding you- as I have to remind myself- that you might not have knocked every item – or even most of the items off of your to-do list. 

And that is OK.  It really is. I want you to give yourself grace and permission to release the unrealized dreams, the unanswered wishes, or the unmet goals. You’re here, listening to this. You’ve tuned into this podcast at least a time or two this year, you managed your life and your bills and your children and you’re here to tell the tale and that, my friend is worth celebrating.

When I started this podcast back in the spring I knew I wanted the content to be equal parts mindset and action. What I never expected was how deep and impactful the mindset shows would be, when we covered topics like imposter syndrome, scarcity mentality, how to face your biggest fears, how to cope with uncertainty and how to be a good ally.

Beyond all the expert advice, the handy tips and tricks, above all else, I know you showed up here because you’re working on a dream. That despite everything 2020 has thrown your way you haven’t given up.

I am proud of you. And I hope you know that you have to keep going. 

Because,  whether you’ve listened to every episode three times over or just caught the occasional show, you probably know by now my key message is to keep taking imperfect action. 

Perfect is the enemy of progress.

So don’t be afraid to do it wrong. Don’t be afraid of failure. Just make a decision and take an intentional action, no matter how tough things can get. The truth is, even the most successful among us need to show up, and some days it’s gonna feel like squaring a circle, but remember on those days it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.

So are there decisions that you are sitting on? Did covid put your life on hold? Does imposter syndrome have you procrastinating? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to close out this year by making a commitment to yourself to keep going. I want you to proceed by promising to make a decision and take an action even when things get tough. This is how you grow. This is how you progress no matter what gets thrown your way. This is how we come out of 2020 on top. Stronger. More confident. More resilient.

This is how we salvage goodness from this year that was often, frankly, pretty shitty. 

I won’t sugar coat that. When March happened and everything went into lockdown, including my business and all my revenues, I was not, ah, taking it in stride. After years of building my business from the ground up, suddenly it felt like I was back at square one. 

And I gotta tell you, it was really scary. In a few ways. I was worried about finances, of course, but also just wondering if and how I’d ever bounce back, or if my clients would return. Honestly, I went into a pretty big panic spiral. And that scarcity mentality that I had been working so hard to overcome, came barging back in.

And you know what happened? I made mistakes, I said yes to things that I would have otherwise said no to. I dropped balls. I lost my focus. I behaved like a human under stress does. Imagine that! 

But it wasn’t all bad. Not at all. Afterall, this podcast was born. I reached you. Our perspectives shifted and we grew together. And in hindsight, there isn’t one single thing that I regret about that.

And now, as we enter into the holiday season with all this growth and new perspective, I think there’s beauty in that. We might not all be physically sitting at the same table this holiday season, but let’s use whatever energy we have toward a different kind of holiday, to channel the quote-unquote real meaning of Christmas, to take the opportunity to ground or centre ourselves. 

As a non-religio, Christmas to me means a time to collectively put away all our differences, our work, our stresses, our judgements for just a day (and a night, let’s not underrate Xmas eve) and “be together.” 

This year, that togetherness feels more important, but also more challenging than ever. I mean, you know this, it’s a reality we are all living. 

And while being together in the same room isn’t possible, I think the feeling of togetherness is. So let’s be creative and big-spirited about what that means this year. Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to do things differently this year. To find joy in connecting with those you love however you can, safely.

I’ve been jotting down some ideas I have on how to make this holiday feel abundant and fulfilling. I’m happy to share them, and I’d love to hear your plans, too, so be sure to DM me with yours.

Ok, so what about doing a virtual holiday dinner or brunch? If you can be together you can still break bread together. Coordinate a time, and put the laptop down on the table and Zoom it up. Heck, leave it on all day if you just want to have that feeling of ‘being together.’  Put your father in law in the washroom for 45 minutes for added effect 😛 Or is that just my family? Ah, gotta love em. 

Here’s a mindset one: Look for the silver linings. I mean, if nothing else, this dumpster fire year is the perfect opportunity to reinvent the holidays. For me, that means dropping the spending and picking up the connecting. 

So, If you have the means to do so, consider giving to those who don’t have the basics instead of beefing up what’s under your own tree. Consider donating to your favourite charities. If you have school-aged kids, reach out to their schools to see if there are families in your community in need. Remember, this year was reeeally hard for you, but it was probably much harder for someone else. It’s our duty as humans to look after one another. I know you’ll agree. I will link some of my favourite charities in the show notes to make this easy for you. But I know you probably already have a plan to give back up your sleeve, and that is why I love you so much.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you for being a loyal listener. While looking for highlights from 2020, and I know it might feel like you need to dig deep, don’t forget to add this podcast to your list. If it wasn’t for 2020, I wouldn’t be speaking these words into your earbuds right now and if this is the only good thing that has come of 2020, that’s definitely good enough for me right now.

So thank you, dear listeners. Wishing every single one of you a wonderful holiday. I can’t wait to meet you back here the first Monday of 2021.

Some great charities if you are drawing a blank:

First Steps

Coverdale Center for Women

Canada’s Best Charities 2020 -MacLean’s