It’s hard to believe that 2020 is almost in the history books, the year that seemed to bring one surprise after another. The news media are filled with retrospectives on this most unusual of years, 2020.

They’re bringing you stories that got the most air time over the past year. What was it that defined 2020? For some it was the pandemic. For others it was the protests against social injustice that gripped many communities around the world. Some will state with great fervour that the Presidential election combined with the pandemic that was the defining event of 2020.

Yes, all of those things happened. There was economic carnage. There were massive job losses on a scale we have not witnessed in history. If your family lost a loved one, or if you lost someone you know to Covid-19, this year 2020 will be forever etched in your memory.

As you conduct your retrospective on the year, don’t look to the news media to interpret the year for you. It was your year, nobody else. The only year that counts was your year. The purpose of conducting a retrospective is for you to learn and grow from it. If you spent the year watching youtube videos waiting for the pandemic to be over, then chances are you’re not listening to this podcast. That’s not the culture here, and I suspect not for any of our listeners.

I’ve discovered something extremely important in life and I’d like to share it with you. It’s a perspective on living that has almost nothing to do with what actually happens.

For some people, 2020 was a year of financial hardship. For others the exact same circumstance was a test of resourcefulness.

As I conduct my retrospective on 2020, I’m seeing accomplishments that I’m proud of, and others that didn’t go my way.

For many people, 2020 was a year of adjustment. They didn’t have a routine for working from home. They were not accustomed to holding meetings using video conferencing.

For us, 2020 was a year of adjustment. It was stressful, simply because there was a wide gap between the expectations we had going into the year, and the reality on the ground. We had to accept the current reality was not going to meet our expectations.

We experienced delays on virtually every project. We experienced higher than expected expenses.

We experienced drops in revenue in some areas of the business. We experienced two hurricanes only 5 weeks apart. We also experienced new opportunities that were not present at the beginning of the year.

We had zoom meetings for family gatherings. We got to experience moments over zoom that would never have happened any other way.

Our regular monthly real estate meetups went online as well. While the quality of the relationship building suffered, going online enabled us to bring guests from all over the world would not have travelled all the way to Ottawa Canada for a 45 minute speech.

Our regular masterminds went from being a conference call to a zoom meeting and we had much more engagement.

Conducting a retrospective is a little like mining for gold. You have to sift through a few tons of rock in order to extract a few ounces of gold. The gold we’re looking for are the lessons that are buried deep within the thousands of memories in 2020. The art is in extracting the gold and letting go of the tons of rock and tailings from the mining process that will only weigh you down. The tailings are those feelings of regret, of shame. You did what you did. You didn’t do what you didn’t do. You can’t change it. You can only learn from it and aim to do better in the future.

As I look to 2021, my resolve is to strengthen three habits. This year, my sleep has been thrown off, my morning routine is not where I want it to be, and my exercise has suffered. This is my focus in 2021.