We’ve all heard on the news over the last week that it was exactly one year ago that the pandemic started and we all went into lockdown. Incredible – right? None of us had a clue how much our lives were about to change.
For those of you that know me personally, I had moved myself Upstate to take care of my 94-year-old Dad in August of 2019 and I had been with him for over 7 months at this point, one year ago. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and we had no idea if he had 1 month or 1 year to live. But as I reflect, I’m so grateful that I was able to take care of him and that I can work from anywhere. As the coronavirus started to take shape last March, we watched it unfold on the news together as we saw his favorite sports teams shutting down, people furloughed, lines of people waiting for boxes of food to feed their families and who will ever forget the shortage of toilet paper – it sparked interesting conversations with my father about the Depression. He was 5 years old when he stood in line with his mother for sugar and flour. There were many times he went hungry.
He passed away peacefully last April so never saw what transpired this past year. But one of the things that helped me find courage and clarity through this pandemic is reminding myself something I deeply believe about life:
Everything happens for a reason.
Each moment is preparing you for something you can’t see yet.
Trusting that perspective has been a game changer in my life. It helps me maintain my humility and perspective when life is easy and it helps me find my resilience and strength when life is hard. And boy, were these last twelve months challenging.
I heard from many friends, clients, family and acquaintances all around the world who follow me online: I’m overwhelmed, I’m sad, I’m angry. I’m scared for my parents. I don’t know what to do. I just lost my job. I’m a frontline worker and I’m exhausted. I’m scared I’m going to lose my business.
What I needed during this time was the same thing you needed: reassurance and encouragement. I needed to be reminded that this moment was temporary and that my dreams still mattered. I needed to be told that my losses and sadness were real and that I was allowed to acknowledge them and grieve. I needed to be reminded that I had the strength within me to figure it out and build something even better in the future. I needed someone to tell me that I would be okay. I needed to be told the truth: I had faced challenges before and this challenge, like all the others, would make me a better version of myself and make my life more meaningful.
That’s why I wanted to write to you today. I’ve surrounded myself virtually with family and friends who are my cheerleaders. Yes, the pandemic turned my world upside down but I finally feel like I’m back, coming-out of the dark and the wiser and the better for all that I’ve gone through.
So, I wanted to reach out today and tell you, you’ve done an amazing job this past year facing everything that life has thrown at you. I wanted to raise my hand, in a virtual salute, and say “I see you” and “I’m proud of you” and most importantly, I believe in your ability to take everything you’ve learned this year about yourself and what matters to you, and use it to make this next year of your life one that’s worth celebrating.
The pandemic made me realize how critical it is to keep your dreams alive, no matter what’s happening in the world around you. You can’t give up your dreams because when you do, you give up on yourself. No matter what’s happened in your life this year, good or bad, your dreams are still inside you. They’re there waiting in the back of your mind. You need them now more than ever. As the world starts to come out of lockdown, right now is the time to turn toward those dreams. I want you to pull them from the back of your mind and use those dreams of yours like a search light to guide you forward.
The life you dream about is absolutely within your reach. You can have the body you’re proud of, the work that makes you feel alive, the greatest love of your life, and despite what you’ve told yourself, you are never too old, or too young, and it’s never the wrong time to reinvent your life.
You have a beautiful life ahead of you, and every single morning, you have a choice. You have a choice when you look in the mirror to stop picking yourself apart, and start picking yourself up. You are capable of achieving anything, as long as you learn how to cheer yourself on.
At the beginning of my note, I said that one of the things that helped me this past year is telling myself that this moment is preparing me for something incredible that’s coming. Every day I’d remind myself that there is a person, an experience, a skill or a lesson that I needed during this pandemic for something amazing that will happen down the road. That perspective has been a game changer, and that brings me back to you.
I have two questions to ask you:
- What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about yourself and your life during the past 12 months?
- What might change in your life if you started cheering for yourself?
If you have a minute and can tell me your answers, just put your info in the comments and I will reply!