Are you counting down the days until 2020 is over? 2020 is the year to forget for many business professionals. That may be what you are doing. Then again, as you look back on 2020 you have to admit that you are still standing. You just might have noticed that on closer examination you have achieved some things that you wouldn’t have achieved in an ordinary year. While I would never be an advocate for a plague, this year did produce some unexpected benefits.
1st benefit: You learned to adapt.
Think back to the beginning of the year when you first realized this was a serious pandemic. Here’s a little help if you can’t quite remember back to the beginning of this horror. You probably do remember the toilet paper shortage. Now that you’ve gotten that far, can you remember the first time you ventured out in public? I do.
Here’s how I was dressed. I went to the grocery store in what seemed like a hazmat suit. I was covered head to toe and it was over 80 degrees. Along with my mask I had plastic gloves, long pants, a wind breaker and safety glasses. I remember my heart was pounding at the thought of going into a grocery store.
Now fast forward to today. Today I still go grocery shopping. I don’t dress like I’m working in an asbestos factory. Yes, I wear my mask and safety glasses. No, I don’t wear all the rest of the gear. Why? I’ve learned to be flexible and adapt. I applied what I’ve learned about the situation. I’m keeping safe distances. I shop at early hours when there are fewer people. I go to stores that are larger so I don’t have to shop at more than just a few places.
Flexibility is one of those very important skills for sales and business. Doing the same thing in every situation is not going to work today. You need to adapt (and quickly) to changes in business today. Those changes come from lots of places: the government, the market, your competitors, your customers. Flexibility will serve you well when you quickly adapt to new situations.
2nd Benefit: You built confidence.
Just imagine someone told you that this year would be like no other year in over 100 years. Now imagine what would happen to you with all the changes that occurred in work this year. Can you imagine that you would have survived? Let’s assume that you’re still here, maybe not thrilled about it, but still standing. You must have experienced a burst of confidence from what you’ve been through this year.
Confidence is just what you need to thrive in a tough situation. This is a tough business situation where you need confidence. Customers push back on suppliers to get a lower price. Do you have the confidence to say, “Here’s why I can’t and here’s why I’m worth more” when a customer pushes back on you to lower your price? You can reply and demonstrate it when you are confident.
3rd Benefit: You found help from unexpected sources.
You might have read about the help many people got this year from unexpected people. The GoFundMe sites helped many people who lost their jobs. Neighbors banded together to form safe pods to socialize and stay safe. Yes, there may have been times when someone you thought you could rely on later let you down. Maybe this year the unexpected happened and those you didn’t see as your advocates came to your rescue.
Nietzsche’s, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” quote was especially meant for this year. Just remember, that when you’re in the midst of this horror, there really is only one choice and that is to keep moving. You will be ready for whatever 2021 has in store as you move forward.