In 2020, the ageless lesson of “The only constant is change” has taken on a whole new meaning.
Regardless of how you feel about change, in 2020 it is inevitable.
Now that we have accepted this, the real decision we have to ask ourselves is: What are we going to do about it?
In answering this question, we can look at change two ways…
Change is overwhelming and uncomfortable — “I don’t want change.”
Change surfaces new challenges & opportunities — “I accept change and am ready to embrace it.”
The choice is now yours.
In looking at these choices, let’s look at change from the second vantage point. Accepting change for what it is is in fact a small victory. Many of us ignore change or drown it out in the trenches of our social media platforms. We tune into our own echo chambers and tune out the change that is happening in real time, regardless of our personal opinions, following or ideologies.
The next step in our attempt to grow through accepting change is to get ready to embrace the change that is happening.
This can take many forms depending on your pre-existing experiences, knowledge, and understanding of the area that is changing. This is where our strategies for embracing change can deepen.
Let’s use checkers and chess to break this down.
In a game of checkers, you react to the pattern you are seeing on the board. It is very cause and effect. I am now going to move this piece because of the piece that just moved. In 2020, an example of this is what is now commonly known as contactless delivery. The change that you have accepted is that in order to get your delivery, it may now need to be contactless. You accept this change and make 1 or 2 different actions based on what you see on the board (selecting the contactless delivery option that was not formerly there before) and go on with your day.
However, while most of the world is playing checkers with all the change, the most successful folks are the ones not only accepting change, but playing a game of chess with it. Unlike checkers, the game of chess requires much deeper thought, skill, problem-solving, and decision-making. Rather than reacting to what you see on the board, you must see beyond the board and envision what is likely to come. There could be a combination of 10 or more moves that may be necessary to achieve success rather than just reacting to one single move.
If you are operating at this level of change acceptance and embrace, you will win in the 2020s.
In your pursuit of navigating the changes that are constant in 2020, it will be imperative to surround yourself with other chess players (from 6 ft away of course) and to consistently look for what is beyond the board that you see changing in front of you each day.
Here are three examples of how I approached this vantage point in my life in 2020 while playing chess rather than checkers.
Scaled My Small Business
While chaos was paralyzing many small businesses in Canada, I decided to sift through the reactionary chaos and to intentionally scale my business intentionally. I had a hunch back in March of 2020 that we would be in the midst of a pandemic until there was a cure — which would be at least 6–12 months. This would cause governments to change their decisions constantly, thus shifting the board almost daily.
Seeing beyond this, I decided to hustle on scaling my business. Given the extra hours I had in my weeks from a lack of events, gatherings and sitting in traffic, I knew it was prime time to scale.
Scaling my business came with many challenges, yes. However, the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was time to harvest, rather than time to gather resources and prepare for winter.
Created A New Product
Pre-pandemic when things were less turbulent, I had planned to launch a journal product in 2021. Given the logistics, time, and energy needed to create something like this, I felt it was a January or February 2021 project.
However, on a beautiful spring morning this past spring, my wife and I were sitting outside and I threw around the idea of creating this product now rather than waiting for 2020. I was shocked to hear how supportive she was in me creating this product now rather than waiting. She was seeing a move that I wasn’t. I had to trust her and made it happen.
That move allowed me to create Your Best Journal in 2020, rather than 2021.
Improved My Remote Productivity
Disclaimer: I am both grateful and blessed to still have full time work in 2020.
Given my full time work moving remote, I immediately began finding ways to improve my full time remote working productivity levels. Having experience dabbling in part time remote work for the past 5 years, I definitely had a leg up in creating these optimal conditions for maximum productivity.
This is something I have continued to refine over the past 5–6 months. Remaining productive in a remote setting day after day, week after week is an art. It takes intentionality and effort. It also takes creativity and experimentation. We are not built to work 40–60 hours a week in isolated, sedentary positions. So, we have to train ourselves to adapt to these changing conditions.
Improving my remote productivity over the past 5–6 months through things like journaling, taking walking phone meetings, and 30-minute siestas, it has been increased my productivity during a time where productivity is a rare commodity.
At the end of the day, none of us intended to be working remotely. We didn’t intend to have our kids at home rather than “at school”. We didn’t intend to have to wear a mask in public settings. We didn’t intend for the unemployment rate to reach double digits. We didn’t intend for this much change in 2020.
However, the sooner we accept and embrace change and the more often we treat it like a game of chess rather than checkers, the more success will follow.