Transforming 2020’s Challenges

by | Feb 17, 2021

Turning the Page

With the new year upon us, it’s an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the past 12 months, painful as that might be.

Image by jcomp on Freepik

It’s easy to acknowledge that 2020 presented humanity a whirlwind of personal and professional challenges …a less appreciated angle is to recognize the experience was also a great learning opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, 2020 was extremely challenging for most – but to ignore its lessons and the chance to leverage them for a better 2021 would only compound the year’s tragedy.

Flipping the Script

It’s easy to dwell on the timeline’s negativity (simply check Twitter for a reminder), but this serves no productive purpose.

Indeed, unhappiness with the past quickly becomes an inherent obstacle to a happier future…yet as one of my favorite self-development thinkers, Wayne Dyer, taught, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

That concept may feel a bit New Age for a group of lawyers, but by analytically flipping the script of the recent past we can make it work for us.

Let’s look at 2020 differently and change it for the better.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Here’s a helpful exercise I use and recommend to our clients; it’s only 3 steps and won’t take long – invest 12 minutes to make your last 12 months more worthwhile.

  1. First, write down 5 things that worked for you last year (I mean in the context of security and technology, but feel free to let your introspection wander!).
  2. Next, write down 5 things that did not work last year.

Finally, reading your responses to both, come up with improvements – ways to make the successes even better, and to improve upon what didn’t work, to help you create a bigger and better set of results in the future.

Maybe it was how your technology worked having to go remotely or it could be how you handled document review-and-production with limited access to actual physical media. Whatever elements stand out to you.

Don’t shy from honesty or punish yourself for imperfections in the face of unprecedented challenges, simply try to identify what worked well, what didn’t work well.

Judgement-free zone, just work through the exercise.

Capture all ideas related to best practices that can be repeated/enhanced and mistakes that can be avoided going forward. Take pride in your triumphs and take note of regrets, then harness them both to make 2021 far better.

Onward and Upward

I’m a firm believer that we set ourselves up for the future by how we feel about the past – we cannot control what life will throw at us, but how we handle it will depend largely upon the context created in our minds.

By analyzing the past, extracting lessons, and realizing that we can adapt-and-endure no matter the challenge, we gain a positive context to face whatever comes next.

I trust that this community has already demonstrated you don’t need to be a tech wizard to leverage technology in your practice…similarly, you don’t need to be a time traveler to leverage the past for lessons about the future.

Try the technique above, and hopefully you’ll start the year with confidence and a sense of capability that will make 2021 a better year. In most ways, it couldn’t be much worse, right?

I’d also love you to share some of the wins, losses, and advice uncovered in the course of your reflection…the only thing better than learning from our own experiences, is learning from everyone’s.

Happy New Year, all.