Principled Leaders Everywhere

Top 3 Motivational Principles for 2021

Was 2020 meant as an instrument for personal growth?

For most of us 2020 will forever be seared into our memories. It is probably safe to assume that we will refer back to and remember its horrors for decades to come; much like we do with other tragic events on the world stage. We all remember exactly where we were when we heard that airplanes had crashed into the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001. We remember events like the Fukushima nuclear disaster or, closer to home and perhaps completely different, the sense of mourning we all felt when news broke of Nelson Mandela’s death.

However tragic these events were for the people directly impacted by them, they were still events most world citizens could read about in the paper over their morning coffee before getting up and resuming their normal activities for the day. It could be said that there has not been another crisis with such a widespread impact on almost all people on earth in the last century. Investigations have been launched into the origin of the virus and the vaccine(s) developed and administered remains a contentious topic. Putting all of the noise from the media aside, what is the impact 2020 has had on you personally?

In his video entitled 6 Lessons Learned from 2020, Fred van der Linde, founder of The Vine & Oak Leadership Foundation, discusses the 6 R’s (actually more like six “areas”) where 2020 has had the biggest impact on him personally. We’ve taken a closer look. Perhaps it is worth investigating these “areas” (or others, unique to your situation) in order to find the value each of us could take away from our 2020 experience.

Reviewed journey

In the video, Fred mentions that he normally travels a lot and that, due to lockdown and the accompanying travel restrictions, he was grounded for a long period of time during 2020. Naturally, this gave him a lot of time to think and reminisce. Sometimes, when we have a quiet moment to take a leisurely stroll down memory lane, we end up with mixed feelings about where we are in our lives and the journey we took to get where we are. Perhaps, for some, 2020 was an opportunity to put their past in context. For some, having had the time to deal with past hurt and heal from it may have finally put them on a path towards a brighter, healthier, or more productive future.

However tragic these events were for the people directly impacted by them, they were still events most world citizens could read about in the paper over their morning coffee before getting up and resuming their normal activities for the day. It could be said that there has not been another crisis with such a widespread impact on almost all people on earth in the last century. Investigations have been launched into the origin of the virus and the vaccine(s) developed and administered remains a contentious topic. Putting all of the noise from the media aside, what is the impact 2020 has had on you personally?

In his video entitled 6 Lessons Learned from 2020, Fred van der Linde, founder of The Vine & Oak Leadership Foundation, discusses the 6 R’s (actually more like six “areas”) where 2020 has had the biggest impact on him personally. We’ve taken a closer look. Perhaps it is worth investigating these “areas” (or others, unique to your situation) in order to find the value each of us could take away from our 2020 experience.

Restored energy

Initially the idea of having “nowhere to be” was novel. People were watching movies until 03:00 in the morning and sleeping until noon. But then the realisation dawned that the “enemy” was a virus that was seemingly killing indiscriminately and it became more important than ever to take extra care with one’s health. And so 2020 became a year where everyone realised the importance of regular self care – taking time to rest properly, being mindful of what you put in your body, and making time for moderate regular exercise. Not only are these important for physical well-being, but they all have a profound impact on mental health. Something that is becoming increasingly important as the crisis caused by the virus drags on and everyone is impatient to get back to their normal lives.

Renewed relationships

We all spent way more time with our immediate family members than we bargained for during 2020. But many families report feeling closer and more connected than ever. Fred himself mentions a renewed relationship with two of his sons that he only got to see for short periods of time due to a tight schedule, packed with travel and meetings. Yet now they have time to cook together and – no doubt – laugh together. It would seem that 2020, on the whole, was good for our relationships.

Reconnected friends

Video calls to long lost friends, people looking up old acquaintances from their school days online, old flames rekindled over Facebook… These are but a few examples of the 2020 communication trends. All digital, yet all so important. These digital forms of communication have served as a ‘safety harness’ or, perhaps more accurately, a lifeline to a seemingly carefree time none of us fully appreciated. No one ever could have imagined that the ease of meeting up with friends and hugging family members could be taken away so abruptly. Therefore, some of us used the extra time on our hands to enrich relationships we’ve neglected or let wither. These reinvigorated post-2020 relationships will be a beautiful testament to the human nature that strives for connection and affection.

Recalculated Assets

Many of us have had to reconsider our future plans because of 2020. Dreams were placed on hold. But for some the change in circumstances was the impetus for great ideas and new business ventures. Time never stands still long enough for us to completely empty our minds and allow for free thinking and innovation. Therefore, 2020 was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone to re-evaluate their financial situation and make the change they had been dreaming of their entire life.

Re-engage Globally

During 2020 The Vine & Oak Foundation experienced a renewal of sorts. It was the culmination of many years of careful planning, although, in hindsight it seems like a coincidence that it should have happened in such a remarkable year. However strange the year turned out to be, the Foundation was ready to meet its challenges in a new and effective way. That is why the Legacy Leaders Today movement is so relevant. Every Monday a new video is posted to the YouTube channel providing followers with bite-sized chunks of inspiring teachings. Make a note in your diary – the topics, though relevant to your everyday life, will inspire you to become an effective leader right where you are.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

If you feel a gravitational pull towards believing that 2021 will simply be the second act of a 2020 you would rather forget, resist giving in and getting high on cynicism. It is tempting because it’s undoubtedly the easier option. Complaining about how bad things are and resigning yourself to self-pity and misery over what has been lost is the easy way out. Hope is

difficult. Holding onto the hope of a better tomorrow takes courage. And often courage is only courageous when it is backed by determined action. It is true that the challenges we faced last year have not magically disappeared over night. It is true that Covid 19 will likely be with us for a while longer, and it is true that (at least to some degree) we are living our new “normal” already. But there is hope everywhere around us, if only we care to look out for it. There is always hope for those willing to take ‘determined action’ to make hope a reality.

It's not too late

If you feel like all you accomplished or learned in 2020 was how to survive, don’t feel guilty for not emerging a “new and improved” person. Sometimes it takes all our strength just to play the cards we have been dealt. A new year has rolled around full of opportunities for you to grow. Babies are born every day, somewhere someone is hearing the words “I love you” from their partner for the first time and somewhere else a college student is planning a groundbreaking invention that will shape our lives irrevocably. Perhaps this is as good a moment as any to remember the immortal line spoken by the fictional character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, from the Jurassic Park movies: “life finds a way”. And life will again find a way. The human spark will not be extinguished.

This could be your moment

Instead of being blinded by what you cannot do or accomplish due to the pandemic (and allowing it to handicap you), recognise this moment as the opportunity it could be. Be malleable, be present, and be teachable… Because this is a moment in history you likely won’t live to see repeated. And for all the tragedies the situation has caused, it has also presented you with a unique set of opportunities. Reconcile with long lost family and finally bury the hatchet. Apologise to a friend you wronged (even if you feel they are to blame). Pick up a paint brush and finally paint that masterpiece you have always envisioned, but never quite had the time for. Make a concerted effort to leave your fears aside. Love unreservedly. Life is fleeting and it is fragile. But you know that already. The most important questions are; what have you learnt from 2020? And how will you make it count?

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