2020. It has been quite the year, hasn’t it? Navigating these unprecedented times has been challenging for so many of us. Everything from the Australian bushfires to the Black Lives Matter protests on racial injustice to a global pandemic no one saw coming. But despite the uncertainty and inevitable pivots we’ve all had to make in one way or another, I firmly believe there is always something we can learn.
Being advised to stay in our homes for most of this year has truly allowed me to get grounded and really look deeper within myself than ever before. As uncomfortable as it has been at times, I know that everything that has happened has happened for a reason, and for many of us, we’re only starting to realize those lessons now. Our higher selves have been tested, and our ability to embrace change has forced us to navigate through these times instead of putting the important stuff off for later.
And with all that being said, I knew that I just had to share all of what I’ve learned this year with you. Because more often than not, it’s usually unexpected change that really teaches us those hard-hitting lessons learned in life. So here are the lessons I’ve learned in 2020:
Assessing my use of time…
Toward the end of 2019, I made a promise to myself that I would significantly cut back on the amount of traveling I would do in 2020. In 2019, I was barely spending any time at home, constantly catching flights, but enjoying beautiful, new destinations. And after only being in my newly renovated condo for only about a year, I promised myself to spend 2020 much closer to home and cut back on travel.
Well, we all know that thoughts become things, right? ;-) Cut to just a couple of months into 2020, and nearly the entire world was no longer allowed to travel due to the COVID -19 outbreak. So I had no choice but to spend time at home.
I’m not sure if I could perhaps sense that a shift was coming, but assessing my use of time was one of the first life lessons I learned this year. I had to stop down and really ask myself “why was I traveling so much?” Why did I feel the need to always be on the go? And to be honest, I realized that it made me feel important.
So this year, with so many changes to our normal way of life, time is really all I had. I now had the time to dig deep into what truly matters: understanding how I was spending my time and the ‘why’ behind it all. I was forced to look within to realize why I needed travel to feel this validation and to create space for myself to feel confident, and successful, without all of the travel. This was one of the first lessons that really felt more like a blessing in disguise.
Being comfortable in the ‘unknown’.
This year also taught me – rather forced me – to embody what it means to be comfortable in the unknown. For most of the year, I’ve been relying more on my gut and intuition than anything. Instead of being focused on what the right next move might be in business, relationships, and life itself, I knew the right answer would find me if I continued to be open to flexibility while leading with kindness and compassion.
There was so much chatter in the media and even in my social circles that it made me realize that no one knows definitively what’s going to happen in the future or even tomorrow! So learning what it means to embody surrender and uncertainty actually paved a much clearer path for how the rest of my 2020 would unfold.
When you are able to embrace the unknown, it becomes that much easier to see, hear, and act more clearly. I was able to better educate myself on the systemic racism happening in our society. I was able to safely protest with like-minded individuals after the unfortunate, brutal death of George Floyd that rocked the nation. I was able to use the Mind Movie platform as a voice for the voiceless through live daily positivity sessions on Facebook. I was able to receive the kind of information and tools from those around me to become a better version of myself. And all I had to do was surrender.
What other paradigms are we ready for?
Although at first, I wasn’t too excited to be transitioning many of my in-person gatherings to online Zoom meetings, but over time I learned that you can host a live event virtually and still create an incredible level of love, connection, and gratitude. And ironically, that love and connection everyone shared didn’t even skip a beat! It was these moments that revealed how much love there is to go around. I would even say I feel even more connected via those virtual events because you have no choice but to be present and in the moment.
You see, 2020 has truly lifted the veil on our resilience and ability to adapt. So if I thought successfully hosting a live virtual event was impossible before the pandemic, it really makes you wonder what other paradigm shifts we should be challenging. So I urge you to think about what other paradigm shifts should we be ready for?
Lead with kindness and compassion, and don’t take anything for granted.
The unavoidable shifts, life changes, and challenges many people have faced this year have awoken a new level of compassion in me. For example, understanding that something as simple as wearing a mask to slow the spread of the coronavirus is truly an act of kindness.
It’s times like these when it’s of utmost importance to lead with compassion because you never know what someone could be dealing with behind the scenes. And we’ve seen how fragile life really is, which leads me to my greatest lesson, which is to not take anything for granted.
If we continue to show gratitude and hold tight to what we already have, together, we have the power to raise the collective consciousness. I don’t know about you, but even though this year has challenged us in ways unimaginable, I have learned a great deal about myself by keeping an open mind, showing up for those around me, and discovering what matters most in life.
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Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.