There is a lot of talk right now, online and in-person, about making it through the coming winter, not only because of winter itself but also because of COVID.
I can relate. Like you, I’m isolated from friends and family. I’m also prone to seasonal depression. The time change has come and the days are shorter. I can feel the tension and dread building in me. COVID and other stressors have had such an impact that I recently took a one-month stress leave. I also have mobility challenges so it’s unlikely I will be very physically active once the snow comes.
Many people found Professor Aisha Ahmad’s “6-month wall” Twitter thread to be very helpful. I did too.
She pointed out the very normal sense of being overwhelmed that comes at the 6-month point in a long and difficult challenge, and said “It will break naturally in about 4 – 6 weeks.”
She encouraged us to be kind to ourselves during this period—and I’m taking her advice.
But that’s not what gave me hope.
The COVID world is still chaotic and stressful. There’s no “going back to normal” and we don’t have any idea when it will be over.
That’s the hardest part: the endlessness. It’s always easier to make it through something tough when you know an end is coming, and when.
That’s why this is what gave me hope: Professor Ahmad mentioned that, in her estimation, “we are only one-third of the way through this marathon.”
It gave me hope because it gave me a timeline. There are 12 months more to go.
In 12 months, things will be different.
I know from many cycles of business planning and goal-setting, that in 12 months, things will be different.
Of course, in 12 months, COVID may not have been eradicated, and restrictions may still be in place.
It’s the same in business. There is never a “done” or an “over.” It’s often crap hitting the fan, over and over and over again. Just as soon as you recover from one challenge or threat, there is another. There is rarely a reprieve.
Every planning cycle, I see the difference from the previous period. Every January, I see the difference from the previous one.
This is the one idea from which I am deriving hope, for this winter and beyond: in 12 months, things will be different.
Knowing that there are 12 months ahead of me; knowing that, as a business owner, I’ve faced a challenging year ahead more than 7 times now; and knowing that every single time, by the time I get to the end of that year, things are different, lifted my heart.
This is the time for 2021 planning. If you’re not actively using business planning, you might like to consider starting it now. It’s a powerful tool to grow and succeed. In the planning, and in the knowledge that in 12 months things will be different, may you find hope.
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