In previous Thanksgiving posts, I’ve shared things I never really thought I would be grateful for. There is a sales edition (posted below) and a leadership edition, too. Well, 2020 has delivered on this theme in a very big way because of Covid-19. And while I will never be grateful for the pandemic, many forced experiences and situations I thought were horrible, upon reflection, turned out to be gifts of growth. For that, I will always be grateful. Here are a few from my 2020 list:
1. I’m grateful for the clients who stopped buying in March.
They were uncertain of their future. They challenged me to innovate and think in new and different ways and forced me to find a better, faster, more effective way of solving their new problems.
If we solve our customers’ problems, we’ll solve our own.
That is our motto, and I got to live it every day. And guess what? It works.
2. I’m grateful for the shelter-in-place phase.
For over 20 years, I’ve been on the road several days every month working with my team, clients, or prospects. Shelter in place forced me to take personal accountability to find new ways to connect, build trust, strengthen relationships, and deliver our services in an impactful way- without being together. It has changed the way we do business forever, opened new doors, and has driven process improvements that may otherwise never have materialized.
3. I’m grateful for the lack of control.
It wasn’t up to me. Not only could I not travel to see my clients, but I also could not go to restaurants or the gym as I had in the past. I couldn’t host parties or travel to Montreal for my summer vacation. I couldn’t even enjoy a run on the Lake Michigan path. It forced me to focus on what I could control, and that was my attitude – it is always 100% in my control.
4. I’m grateful for the uncertainly.
How long will this last? How will it impact my health, my loved ones’ health, my friends, and associates? What about finances and the economy? Will my company survive? There are multiple uncertainties we faced and still face and real fears accompanying each one. I have the honor of working with countless amazing people, both internally and within our clients. I witnessed true leadership in every corner of the country. I saw leaders work tirelessly to ensure their people felt safe and secure, who showed real empathy and were not afraid to be vulnerable in the decisions they were making. They took action and persevered, and I was called on to support them. Because of this, I was able to take action despite fear, uncertainty, and doubt. My ability to persevere this year was only possible because of others, and the inspiration and purpose they stood for.
5. I’m grateful for video conferencing.
Never again will I consider building relationships with prospects and clients without “seeing” them. 80% of communication is received through your eyes. I’ve claimed Zoom fatigue, webinar fatigue, etc., early in this pandemic, but now, it's a habit for which I am grateful. I can’t imagine NOT seeing my prospects, my clients, or my team. Depending on the relationships and the situation, we can come as we are or dress for the board room. What isn’t optional, though, is leaving the camera off.
Finding gifts during challenging times is often difficult and, more often than not, obvious. There are so many other gifts of personal growth I can claim are directly related to 2020, and most of them fall into the category of things I took for granted. Things like my health, my social life, my day to day routines. But the one that stands out the most is this:
I’m grateful for our health care system.
I’ve always been proud of our health care system, but I realize now how I have taken it for granted. I’ve been that person who complained about waiting too long in a doctor’s office. With a daughter who is a clinician and many friends and clients in the healthcare industry, I will forever remember the perseverance, dedication, and 24/7 effort of massive amounts of clinicians and healthcare facility staff to ensure this country's care and safety, specifically our most vulnerable. I have a deep appreciation for our health care system and am grateful to have this privilege.
Tough times never last; tough people do. - Dr. Robert H. Schuller
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the year and all the blessings you have received. It is time to say thank you to those who have positively impacted your life and time to think about how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you in the coming year.
All of us at Butler Street would like to thank you for allowing us a little corner of your world each Monday morning. We hope that we’ve helped you grow. You have definitely helped us grow, and for that, we are very grateful!