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  • Ann Willets

Use Your 2020 Hindsight This New Year


As 2021 approaches, I urge you to use your "2020 hindsight." Put all of the valuable lessons you learned from this turbulent year to good use and strategically position yourself for 2021 and beyond.

Human history shows us that unexpected, catastrophic, or devastating events can and will happen. You've experienced this firsthand this year. Going into 2021, ask yourself: "What did I learn from this year, and what will I do moving forward?"

This past year taught me several lessons. Devastatingly, I lost four friends and my pastor to COVID-19. I realized I'm ready to get off of the PR treadmill and move away from stressful clients. I want to spend my time wisely and precisely as I wish. After spending ample time contemplating the modern PR industry and the ever-changing landscape of the media, I came to this conclusion. I don't want to be a part of the PR world as I once was; I want to dedicate more time to recruiting. If you're in PR, you may also be asking, "What role do I wish to play in this act?"

What did you learn about your career this year? Write it all down, the good and the bad. I want you to consider your needs from your role. Do you need a raise? A better work-life balance? More independence? More support? In 2021, I'd like for you to create a vision for your dream role. Is it achievable in the position you're at now, or do you wish to look elsewhere? More than that, I'd like for you to consider what you can do to grow as a professional. That could translate to harnessing your focus, adding a new certificate to your CV, or improving your interpersonal skills.

Even before the pandemic, I urged budding professionals to position themselves smartly for the next inevitable economic downturn. I've lived through several economic downturns and crises as a student, young professional, and business owner. If it wasn't clear before the pandemic, then it is now. Prepare for everything, including fiscal strife, so you don't lose so many of the things you've earned. My best advice is to have at least three months' worth of mortgage or rent, and car payments saved up. Ideally, a year is even better.

With that in mind, what did you learn about running your finances this year? Write it down. Create realistic financial goals for 2021, along with a plan that will motivate you to stick to them.

Don't bother with quick resolutions. Do yourself the favor of doing introspective work, profoundly reflecting on this year, and strategically mapping your goals. The year 2020 was a life-defining experience for us on a personal, national, and global level. What knowledge and wisdom will you take away from it?

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