March 2020 – as Corona cases were rising, I literally escaped New York City back to Tel Aviv in 24 hours!
I was sent to NYC on a work trip, and after two productive weeks full of meetings and events, and as Corona cases were rising, I got an urgent call from my sister. She told me the Israeli borders were about to be closed, quarantine restrictions would be kicking in, and flights back are canceled due to COVID-19 spread. This was the real deal. I called my client explaining that I had to “abort the mission” and catch the first plane home!
Imagine that — one day I’m at a meeting at the Nasdaq in Times Square, and 24 hours later (that felt more like two minutes), I find myself on my sofa at home, on the other side of the world, staring at the wall… Shocking.
What a year. For me, 2020 started with exciting projects, global adventures and plans that soon changed to home lockdowns, masks and uncertainty with a strong scent of hand sanitizer.
Being the optimistic person that I am, I had to make some sense out of it. I tried to pour some meaning into this uncertain reality, using old lessons as a business owner who has been dealing with uncertainty for a while. As I “cruised” along this year, I tried to be aware of the small blessings that the weirdest year in history provided.
As I come to summarize 2020, “the year of the bat” or the Covid-19, I would like to share some of the lessons I am going to take with me to 2021 and beyond with you!
1. Maintaining mental and physical health is a must!
They say the real pandemic is the mental health issues that have increased this year. We are social creatures, some of us need to be surrounded by others more, and for some, less. I, for example, get energy from being around other people. Being “caged” at home didn’t seem like something I could really do. As I came to develop this new routine, I started working out at home, following YouTube classes (never thought I’d do that) and even cooked (me?!?!) healthy food. These are proven ways to improve mental and physical wellbeing. In addition, I learned to be aware of my mood and feelings more than before, and consulted with a therapist when I felt I needed it. This year mainly taught me to love myself by “putting my air mask on first.”
2.I have developed resilience
Oxford Dictionary defines “Resilience” as 1. “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 2. “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” I was amazed to see how flexible I was with dealing with the uncertainty. Some days I cried, some days I accepted it all and some days I “roared” forward. Maybe it’s because I had already hit rock bottom a few years ago, and have been in the realm of uncertainty that is business for a few years, that I could be flexible enough to bend but not to break. I love this discovery.
3.Trust in my own abilities
This year made me trust my abilities to find solutions at any time and in any circumstances. I believe in God, the universe, in my own powers and in the people around me to provide me with all I need to overcome anything. Anytime the fear kicks in (and it pays me a visit every so often), I remember to let it be and to trust that I can make it through it.
4.Balance = Happiness
As a former workaholic, I think I have been waiting for Corona my whole life, as I really discovered what work-life balance can look like. I already know how to be fully committed to work, but I learned how to be fully committed to my time off. I was able to disconnect from work mode whole-heartedly and feel good about it. This way I could really recharge and play a better game in my life and work! Shaping a balanced lifestyle made me happier, more relaxed and confident.
5.The value of friendships and caring for others
Family and friends, what can we do without them? I am lucky to have friends around me to support me, to meet with, to eat with, to consult with. In addition, I am fortunate to be able to help and care for others, connect people, to donate and to bring hope and inspiration. It’s a “give and take” world, we need to give as much as we need to receive to feel fulfilled from the inside. This is really one of the recipes for a good life and longevity.
6.It is MY responsibility to grow and succeed
2020 was a rollercoaster but I kept reminding myself that at any given moment, it is MY responsibility to give it the right interpretation. It is about being good with ourselves vs. bad, to be constructive and not destructive, to learn the lesson and not bury the shame, to love ourselves no matter what, and to keep getting out of our comfort zones so we can challenge ourselves and grow. It is really our own responsibility. No one will do it for us.
In his book, “The Alchemist”, Paulo Coelho wrote the immortal sentence: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” and I always added to it, “But you need to take actions and help the universe help you.” Alongside the actions you’ll take, may 2021 really surprise us all for the best!
I hope the world will open up again, people will meet, masks will only be for holidays and medical teams, and that new opportunity will arise from the blessings and wrecks of 2020.
And one more blessing for 2021 will be that we’ll maintain the lessons and positive habits 2020 gave us. Toasting for a better, healthier and happier 2021 – Le’chaim!