Since 2020 was such a shit show, I thought it would be helpful to pick out some bright spots for me personally in case it can be helpful to anyone. So I made a list of 5 bright spots from 2020 to reflect on and counted down from 5.
I know that failure isn’t necessarily looked at as a bright spot but I think more and more people are accepting it as a mechanism for learning and in turn actually a positive. That being said, I am still working on my own way of dealing it failure and I had a really big one in 2020. If you don’t know already, I sell bridges for a living. And when I got hired on two years ago, I inherited a huge $5M project that I had to close. After spending a year and a half working on it and doing everything right, my competitor swooped in and bid in a way that seemed to be outside of the constraints that were placed on us. This resulted in a much lower cost for the client and they didn’t want to hear from us as to revising our estimate based on these new parameters. That being said, what I learned is that we can only control our own inputs, our efforts, our intentions etc. But when it comes down to it, sometimes things are out of our hands and all we can do is move on and do our best again on the next endeavor. This experience was also a nail in the coffin for my already leaning toward changing careers to something more creative and that’s what you’re seeing on this page.
In contrast to that big failure, I think it’s also important to celebrate little wins. Big tasks or goals can be daunting and so breaking them up into little pieces can make it easier to keep coming back day-to-day. For me little wins (in my day job) can be anything from one last phone call to a client at the end of the day or one more piece of info added to the CRM. For my creative pursuits, it can be getting an idea out in a sketch or putting the finishing touch on a painting for a friend. In 2020 I was lucky enough to work on a couple projects with a friend from college who is a talented and experienced design who has been working in the UX/UI field since graduating. We approached it little by little and I was able to learn from him, giving me feedback along the way. I accumulated these little wins until we had something we were proud of. After those projects, I feel like I’m miles ahead of where I was before and that’s a win in itself. Little wins add up to big things.
At this point, I think we can all agree that the technology we use are effectively extensions of ourselves. Whether it’s our smartphones, computers, ipad, watch, TV etc. (Not to mention the sites/apps we use daily) These tools are meant to make life easier/better. Although we have seen a dark side of technology, 2020 showed how useful and helpful. With a global pandemic rampant, collectively we were able to be a little safer with the use of apps like zoom, facetime etc. Texting a friend while quarantined or finally starting that blog that you’ll share with friends on instagram. The world was able to move forward while we stayed home.
I don’t know when exactly my own “self awareness journey” started. Maybe when I was born?… But it’s been more of an active effort since right before graduating college and much more so these last 3-4 years ( and man have I learned some things about myself!) I realized that unless I actively keep myself in check as to why I do the things I do, I can find myself down paths that are rooted in external influences. Whether that’s keeping up with the Joneses, FOMO , social media algorithms or something else. I realized how powerful my brain can be in rationalizing decision that don’t really make any sense and do not align with who I am or who I want to be. For instance, I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and after college I bounced around from a lot of different ideas for startups. They all fell flat. And I realized that that was because my heart wasn’t in it and that anything I decide to start would have to be something I love doing because that is the only thing that would make that much time and effort worth it (for me). In doing so, I realized the answer might be right under my nose, I had already delved into art as a hobby, why couldn’t I take it a step further? So that’s that mindset I had going into 2020. Building a foundation: creating a website, investing in tools and learning. I think my skill level at this point is not where it needs to be for a fully independent business, but I’m continually learning but if this learning leads to a 9-5 job instead of being self employed, then that’s fine with me because maybe I’ll learn something at that job that I wouldn’t otherwise learn.
Last and definitely not least is People. I think in 2020 it’s more so apparent than ever that the (good) relationships we have with people are the most important thing in life and the most rewarding in the long term. I definitely know that I wouldn’t be where I am without the support from a lot of people. From my friends and family, my girlfriend, fraternity brothers etc. I think it’s important to take some time every once in a while (hopefully not once a year) to appreciate the people we have in our lives and guess what you’re “people” to someone else right? If you’re reading this, I appreciate you and if you take the time out of your life to look at the pictures I post on my insta, that means the world to me. If the next picture I post is the decidedly the last one you want to look at, that’s great too, thanks for tuning in in the meantime.
Anyway, as we’re starting this fresh new year off, I hope we can look at the positives in an otherwise pretty hectic 2020 and maybe this post helps to do so. Hope your year starts off with a bang! Hope to see you next time.