2020 has sure been a ride.
Back in February, I was travelling California with my girlfriend Lauren. Our trip started with Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and ended in Yosemite.
Whilst in Yosemite, halfway up one of our hikes, I got down on one knee and asked Lauren if she’d fancied marrying this weirdo. She said yes! Well, she had a panic attack… then 5 minutes later said yes.
Literally, the day after that… we had to cut our trip short and fly home as the world was about to lock down!
Since then, it’s all been a bit of a blur. It’s felt like the shortest, yet longest year ever… what’s that all about?!
At the end of every year, I like to sit down and think about the main takeaways.
Here are 3 from 2020…
3 Things I Learned In 2020
#1 Only Focus On Things You Can Control
Back in 2019, I started studying Stoicism after a friend recommended I check it out. Talk about perfect timing…
I purchased the Daily Stoic and the Daily Stoic Journal and without fail studied it every single day.
One of the key takeaways from my Stoic studies was to focus solely on the things you can control in life. Everything else? Forget about it.
How does that translate into COVID-land?
Well — there are things we can’t control… we can’t control catching the virus, we can’t control what impact it has on the world. We can’t control whether people we know and love catch it. And so, we can’t focus on those things. We can’t worry about them. There’s nothing we can do about it and thus worrying is a waste of energy.
But there are things we can control. We can control washing our hands, adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask, being careful etc.
I’m not here to pick sides on what’s right and wrong. I’m just illustrating a point.
Focus on the controllables. Ignore the rest.
#2 Adapt or Die
During the pandemic, I got into the habit of walking for 60 minutes every morning.
With a small place like where I live, you quickly start to know the local people. And there were 2 people that I remember clearly.
Both were business owners. Both owned cafe/bars. A 5 minute walk apart from each other. But they had vastly different views on the pandemic.
One cafe owner bitched and moaned about how the Government was killing small businesses. That they had to close and everything was awful.
The other? They rolled their sleeves up and did what they could. They couldn’t operate as a cafe anymore, so they started a vegetable box subscription service! How cool is that?!
I had to make enormous changed in the business this year with what happened. Every one has. And because we moved fast, we had our best sales year ever.
As entrepreneurs, we have to be ready for anything. When sh*t happens, you’ve got to adapt, or you’ll die.
#3 Identity & Habits
Something hit me HARD this year.
The power of identity.
It stemmed from a podcast guest I interviewed, Josh Forti, who said “to achieve your goals, you must KILL your current self”.
What did he mean by that?
Well… we all have goals. We’re all striving for something. If your goals are big enough, it’s gonna take a lot of personal growth to achieve them. And chances are, you’re not currently who you need to be to achieve them.
Which means, you must change your identity to be the person you need to be.
As I was reading Atomic Habits this all became clear:
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Understand who you need to be to achieve that thing
- Determine the habits required to be that person
- Make small wins in achieving them
As you start to make small wins, you prove to yourself that you have a new identity. It’s everything.
Want to hear my 6 other takeaways?
I recorded a podcast on my biggest takeaways from this year, you can listen to that here: