What 2020 Has Taught Us

Looking back on an unusual year with constructive perspective. 

Wendy Ruyle and Diana Lillicrap 12.21.2020

Most of us want to write off this year and never look back. But following our tradition, as 2020 comes to an end, we are taking a moment to pause, reflect, and look for bright spots and knowledge nuggets that we’ve learned along the way. 

Persistence takes organization

Persevering through challenges is a lot easier when you are well structured and well prepared. We learned that first hand this year. Our books, plans, and action steps have never been more put together. Detailed, deliberate, and down to the dime, our business operations, marketing activities, and sales stamina have been organized and managed carefully day in and day out. And we believe it’s been a key reasons we’ve been able to successfully weather the storm that has been 2020.

Grace is the new empathy

In marketing we’ve always understood the power of empathy. But this year we stepped it up by applying a lens of grace. We have all had challenges and have been working through the same storm, but we’ve realized that we are not all in the same boat. Every one of us at 5 by 5 Design and each of our clients and friends have experienced struggles in different ways. Some with loneliness, some with anxiety, some with new responsibilities, and some with loss. We have been there for each other and have given one another the benefit of the doubt and the space and time that is sometimes needed in a crisis. We have also accepted help from one another, because in the end, we’ve gratefully learned that mutual aid is mutual.

Perspective is key

When stress is high and anxiety abounds it’s easy to get caught in seeing the world in a negative light. We’ve challenged ourselves this year more than most to realize that solutions to problems are rarely an either/or scenario, but rather, almost always a both/and answer. By allowing ourselves the permission to see things as a both/and, we’ve removed barriers, lessened conflict, and found remedies where none seemed possible. It takes collaboration, positive framing, and relentless respect, but as we all know, that all makes for a better outcome anyway.

This too shall pass

When we’ve felt overwhelmed this year and ready to throw in the towel, we have had to pause and remind ourselves that every storm eventually runs out of rain. The struggles have been real and the sacrifices have been hard. But with a little courage and a willingness to see the big picture, we know it has all been adding up to help each other, to help our neighbors, and to help society as a whole. We are confident that things will return to (albeit a new) normal and are optimistic that our 2021 year-end reflection will be filled with fewer struggles and more celebrations.

Somethings may last forever

Whether we like it or not, there are things we’ve adjusted this year that will likely last well into the future. We’ve all had to learn how to better use technology, which has been a love/hate situation for many of us. We’ve created more flexibility for how we do our work. We’ve become more accommodating and understanding for everyone’s life situations. We’ve done a lot of self-reflection and focusing on what matters most. And let’s not forget to mention we’ve learned to love working in more comfortable clothes! We are hopeful that the positives of what’s been a forced situation will help us all be better in our jobs and in our lives for many years to come.

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