To say that 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year is certainly stating the obvious. The pandemic brought cataclysmic change to almost every aspect of our lives. We’ve been forced to view life through a new lens and experienced a heightened level of awareness regarding how and where we work, our life choices and the importance of family, and we’ve had to drastically alter our relationships with friends.

Politics, the activist press and the biased media have helped create discord in families, and been the catalyst for the rampant hate running through America, but at the same time, curiously enough, all of this change has helped us recognize what is most important in our lives. 

This year we were forced to act swiftly, think creatively and embrace flexibility. The lessons we’ve learned from how we’ve been able to adapt and show resilience will serve us well into the future. One of the most important things this pandemic emphasized across the spectrum of business was just how powerful having the right people on your team can be.

Each new year brings hope. We can cultivate the good seeds from 2020 and build on the amazing technologies of Microsoft Teams, Zoom and social media to broaden our reach and influence for good. No one knows what is in store for 2021, and our small business community is anxious and concerned about what’s coming next. In light of the encouraging news about vaccine breakthroughs, business and community leaders must do our part to discourage lockdowns by advocating for redirecting resources toward protecting the elderly and other vulnerable elements of our population.  

During this challenging and uncertain time, I’ve learned that fear of failure or things we can’t control, is paralyzing. I’ve also concluded that more government intervention is not the answer. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Government is not the answer to your problems. Government is your problem.” 

I believe there are better days ahead and through focused preparation to get through this difficult time, business will be positioned to perform well. We are rounding the corner despite the pessimistic views of the mainstream media and the so-called activist pundits and the “Do as I say, not as I do” elected officials across the country. The vaccine is here and the economy continues to rebound. We are a resilient nation; our hopeful people know how to bounce back from rock bottom. I envision 2021 with packed stadiums and concert venues and people singing in rhythm, postponed weddings with unlimited guests, and Tokyo on the world stage at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

According to Marcel Proust, “the journey of self-discovery comes not from seeking new landscapes but seeing old landscapes with new eyes.” Many say we must prepare for a “new normal.” I say we must and will return to NORMAL (see old landscapes through new eyes.) Hope never fully dies and despite uncertainty manages to soar again. I’m looking forward to shaking hands, a gentle hug and having coffee with my best friend; that’s normal.  So, in 2021, I am hopeful and optimistic that our community and this great nation will return to NORMAL, not a “new normal.”