This time last year I wrote, “What does next year hold for Elm? I am not sure I can top this year, but you never know what is around the corner.”
You never know what’s around the corner! Ha! Who would have guessed in December 2019, that we would survive toilet paper shortages, lockdowns and never-ending zoom calls.
I had a rollercoaster of a year. It started with a very sick little puppy (who was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease), bushfires in the Shoalhaven, and Machinery of Government changes impacting at home and work. Then COVID hit. Holidays were cancelled, and I had to learn how to run a business during a pandemic and recession and move my work from primarily face to face to virtual engagement.
Reflecting on 2020
I believe in taking the time out to reflect on what you have learnt and set goals for the year ahead. Every year around this time, I look at what I achieved this year and think about what I will set out to achieve in the coming 12 months.
If you had asked me in April to describe this year, I would have said – terrible, depressing, hard. Now, as we wrap up the year, I am actually looking at this year pretty positively.
- When everyone was trying to work out how to work from home, I had three years of experience under my belt and was able to help with some with the transition.
- I am an introvert. While I love catching up with people for coffee, going to meetings and running workshops, I loved all of the quiet time alone.
- I still have days where I am so sad that I am not allowed to leave the country, but I am trying to focus on all of the places I am being forced to explore here at home.
- I found “my tribe” – my little COVID bubble of friends kept me sane during the tough days.
- The tough days were when I didn’t have a lot of work on and worried about whether my business would survive this year. On those days, I discovered that I need to set myself challenges and set a clear schedule for the day. Or I need to let go and have a day not focused on work.
- The benefit of all of us participating in so many online meetings was that it doesn’t matter what you wear (I am the queen of leggings and a blazer), if you are wearing make-up, how messy your room is behind you, your internet connection, or how smooth a presentation is. Everyone was doing it. What matters is that you show up, and engaged. I learnt it doesn’t need to be the polished version of you every time.
- I enjoyed the hours and hours I spent going for walks with friends, hanging out with my husband and puppies, and long competitive games nights at home with my tribe.
- I missed going out for dinner, going out with girlfriends for a cocktail (and dancing) and sitting in a dark cinema!
- I ran the Canberra Communications Professionals Series and got to meet some fantastic local professionals in my field.
- I discovered that if I water my garden and give it some love, I can grow vegetables at home – who would have guessed!
- Despite some prolonged bouts of writer’s block, I published 30 articles this year. Proving to myself that I just need to sit down and write!
- Despite everything, I worked on 24 projects with 18 clients this year. Only two less projects than last year! I will be forever grateful for the support of my new and existing clients in a year when many businesses struggled. I met some great new people and learnt a lot about a whole range of topics like how COVID spreads in hospitals, product stewardship (look it up), government property, and biosecurity risks of our online shopping habits.
Bring on 2021!
So, what does 2021 hold for Elm Communications? Honestly, who knows anymore! I mean it can’t be any weirder than 2020, right?!? Next year, I want to keep it simple. I am going to focus on:
- helping communications teams demonstrate their value to their organisation
- supporting leaders to manage the change of returning to the office and our “new normal way of working” – improving how they engage and communicate with their staff; and
- increasing my collaboration with other small businesses and consultants because I believe we are always better together.
I hope all of you get a break over the summer. I will be using it as a reset button, as I head to the coast with my tribe for some adventures in Jervis Bay (as long as restrictions allow it), good food and fun in the sun.
Elm will be back from 11 January 2021! See you all then.