It is hard to imagine a more anticipated New Year in our lifetime than 2021. Maybe 2000 and the frenzy of Y2K, but I think it is safe to say few people are sad to leave 2020 behind. At WPG, we spend our days talking to smart, diverse, driven professionals and hear a sense of hope and relief for the future. As one interviewee recently said, “It is hard to imagine a more difficult year, and yet in some ways I think this year has taught us grit, resilience, ingenuity and kindness that I believe will make us all better and show up differently in our personal and professional lives.”
I appreciated his perspective. While so many individuals are still hurting and struggling, many of us are uniquely positioned to take all of the learning and pain to create a fresh perspective and renewed focus.
I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but I do appreciate a little reflection. Consider these FIVE actions to help you thrive in 2021:
- Develop a plan. We just spent over nine months living with so much out of our control. We pushed plans aside and focused on surviving the day to day. Commit to developing (or freshening up) your Business Development Plan by January 15 to help you stay focused and accountable. Make it actionable, accountable and measurable.
- Connect with those who matter most. This is a relationship business, and a global pandemic made that clear. Those who had deep networks often managed more easily, while those with too few connections often felt lost and stressed. With business travel halted and events still on hold, making personal connections and meaningful outreach matters. Schedule time on your calendar every week to reach out to selected contacts and make that connection worth their time. Share industry insights, make introductions of interest, summarize an article of interest or forward a worthwhile podcast.
- Outsource when you can. As a working mom of three, 2020 hit hard. My children have not been in a school since March 13! There were never enough hours in the day, and I often felt I wasn’t doing anything well. Many of us are in a position to outsource certain responsibilities that will ultimately make us better at our jobs and in our homes. Start making lists of the biggest stress points in your life and how you might be able to outsource portions of those roles (tutors, dog walkers, trainers, meal plans, etc.) You were never intended to be excellent at everything, so stop beating yourself up.
- Foster your passions. This past year was full of heartache and pain for many of us, but it also brought clarity to our passions. Whether it was giving back to our communities, serving those in need, fighting for racial equity, spending quality time with those we cherish, engaging in political activism, learning a new skill, practicing meditation, crafting or enjoying a quiet book, we had the time to fuel our passions. Don’t lose sight of the things that make you happy and center you in 2021.
- Hindsight is 20/20. This phrase has so much more meaning to me now. Take time to reflect on what you enjoyed about your practice, firm, work, clients and colleagues in 2020 despite the terrible difficulties. Foster what you want to keep and make a plan to move away from work that doesn’t fill your bucket. There will always be work we don’t love, but I am talking big picture. The happiest rainmakers are focused on the networks and clients they enjoy and foster those relationships regularly. The unhappiest lawyers are all things to all people with no plan, focus or willingness to own their own successes and happiness.
With a year like 2020, it has to be up from here. Wishing you all a year full of health and happiness!