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Reflections on 2020 and Best Wishes for 2021

Reflections on 2020 and Best Wishes for 2021

By Kim Alcantara


What a journey 2020 has been. As I look to the new year ahead, here is a reflection of where I've come, what's helped me to adapt and thrive in our new normal, and tips that may help you for a brighter 2021.

We're social creatures. There are moments when we thrive in isolation yet we understand the importance of human interaction. I can’t go a day without having a chat with someone. That’s why when the site closed back in the spring and remote work became the norm, initially my productivity suffered.

At home, I was easily distracted by different things – the cable TV show everyone’s watching downstairs, the kitchen where I frequently went because I was hungry almost every half hour, the kids during their online classes, and even the dogs barking outside... finding the rhythm to focus was difficult. And I’d venture to guess it was hard for you too.  

Nobody said it would be easy. But after ten months of staying at home (and counting), I've learned how to pull it together. I started with understanding the importance of how I view the world. I recognized how survival is important and told myself that ‘making it through the day’ wasn’t so bad at all. I thought I was being selfish but totally forgot that in order to adapt, I must first learn how to survive.

When I realized I’m not being my usual self at work and when the prolonged quarantine was getting difficult for everyone, I knew I had to do something to make it through that situation. I sought help. I took advantage of our Employee Assistance Program and felt relieved when I knew there's help available. I talked to my friends more often and made sure to reach out to them so I wouldn’t feel lonely.

The reality is that there’s no one way to adapt to these difficult moments. We discover the best way to survive as we go along in our life. This year, what I realized was the importance of looking back before making any action. And as I reflect on 2020 and what the next year may bring as well, I ask myself these questions – and I think they may help you too:

1. What has changed?
2. What are you grateful for this year?
3. What are you hopeful for in 2021?

What has changed?
Our daily face-to-face meetings were changed to a virtual setting. Soon, we recognized “Zoom fatigue” to be hitting us a little more than we thought possible. On my team, we’re now holding a once a week virtual meeting instead, sometimes every couple of weeks.

We had to postpone our team’s annual Thanksgiving out-of-town escapade and had a virtual team lunch instead. Global leaders couldn’t fly out of their country to meet with their offshore teams and instead made virtual meetings their new norm.

For those moments when holding virtual meetings isn't an option, maintaining a safe distance from each other and wearing masks at all times is important. More than protecting ourselves, we must think of protecting others. It’s a sign of respect.

So many things have transformed this year but our connectedness remained.

What are you grateful for this year?
What used to be a 3-hour drive going to the office is now a 30-minute trip from my bed going to the desk, and still finding time to prepare my coffee and snacks. I now have more time to rest and have started doing my passion project this year. Don’t get me wrong - I love working in the office. I love seeing my colleagues and greeting almost everybody on site. But I am grateful to have more time for my loved ones and myself. I discovered that I can do more and that I adapt to change so quickly.

I learned how important it is to move at my own pace. When I stopped comparing myself to how others adapt to the challenging times this year, I feel happier. With all that’s been happening around us, we should be kinder to ourselves.

What are you hopeful for in 2021?
Change is the only constant thing in the world.

I realized how valuable it is to notice the changes around me, regardless of how big or small it is. I discovered that before I become hopeful for a better 2021; before I express my gratitude to TTEC for allowing me to keep my job despite the losses this year, for implementing a work-at-home setup to reduce contact and in-person meetings, and for allowing me more time to look after my family, I must know what has changed in and around me.

With all that’s been said and done, I hope we end the year with the hope of a better tomorrow. There is hope. We’re all looking at the same light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re losing your ground, remember why you’re grateful today. Our new normal should not stop you from doing what you do best; from hoping for brighter days ahead.

If you don’t know where to start, I encourage you to watch our last LinkedIn Live, Hindsight is 2020, and discover what our colleagues are thankful for this year. Bonus tip: follow TTEC on LinkedIn for more great insight throughout the year.

An Attitude of Gratitude
Putting our values to action – Act as one, and Do the right thing, we recognize how staying connected is important these days. Our connection does not stop from being physically together. The most important lesson of 2020 for me was knowing the importance of being there when it matters. On Julie Bisbee’s An Attitude of Gratitude blog, we were reminded that we’re not alone. Expressing concern and gratitude takes time. It’s a practice. It happens when we change our thinking.

Remember to check on your team, your family, and your friends from time to time. Just because you haven’t heard from them does not mean they are okay all the time. We cannot assume that they are unless we hear directly from them. Reach out. Make an effort. Connect with the people you love.

More than anything, I am grateful to TTEC and our amazing leaders for being able to navigate through such difficult times. If there’s one thing we should continue doing in 2021, then that’s expressing our gratitude towards our colleagues who helped us with a difficult project; to our family and friends for their patience and understanding, and to ourselves for continuing to move forward.

Let me end this by sharing one of my favorite quotes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” and remember, we are all in this together.

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