Welcome to Volume 5 Issue 1 of the year 2021. Yes, we have closed the door on 2020 and can I get a hallelujah and amen to that? While a lot of writers typically pause and look forward with predictions for the upcoming year, I feel a lessons-learned look at 2020 is more appropriate. So here are a few silver-linings gleaned from a mostly dark year.
As an industry, we’ve faced serious challenges and it looks like we fared reasonably well. There is a lot to be thankful for. So here are a few items I think we should learn from for the new year and beyond, and even be grateful for.
We Plan, God Laughs
Pulitzer-Prize winning author Michael Chabon is credited with having come up with the quote, ‘Man makes plans ‘ and God laughs.’ And wasn’t last year living proof of this? The first quarter held so much promise as Performance-Based contractors and the HVAC Industry set goals and began working on their plans to get there.
As the pandemic unfurled, we were all faced with surrendering those plans or rolling with the punches. I like to think that most HVAC Industry opted for the latter.
From an NCI perspective, March was insane as our team completely turned our business model on its head to accommodate a world turned upside down. For us, this will prove to be one of a few silver-linings. Many contractors that I’ve talked to over the months also had to change almost everything to secure the safety and well-being of their co-workers and clients.
Slow It Down and Reflect
For many, the shutdowns were disastrous. But for others, it gave them a chance to use that time to slow things down, do some deep thinking about how to learn from these events, and thrive.
For example, Mike Greany of All Pro Heating and Plumbing decided to set new goals ‘ to focus on his own well being and education.
Jason Nikkels of JN Electrical Temperature Control took the time to decide to move to a more open-book style of management.
Ken Dean of Dean Heating began exploring industry podcasts to help figure out how to improve his company’s sales process.
It was a time when contractors also began looking to fill needed positions so when things started getting back to normal, they could launch forward and grow.
Silver-Linings, Life Lessons, and More
Here are some of my personal takeaways:
- Self-care is a priority, not a privilege. COVID made it more clear than ever that life spares no one. Our health is the only thing we have to make the most of the life we have
- Mental health is vital. Also, always have something to look forward to
- Time is a limited resource. Don’t waste it on people or things that don’t add value to your life
- Change is inevitable. This is another old maxim that was proven big time in 2020
- Pivot when you must. Setting smart goals is outstanding, but being able to pivot them is even better. Be flexible and responsive
- Decision making. When it comes to making decisions, this maxim especially rang loud and clear in 2020: Deciding NOT to decide is still a decision. We all choose to live our lives moment by moment. We should always remember that
- Knowledge is gold. Your knowledge is your most valuable asset. Investing in it is the best investment you can make. Why? Because your future depends on it.
- Don’t hesitate when you should act. Those who didn’t quickly figure out how to pivot when the shutdowns and social distancing rules changed everything, were left behind. Those who didn’t hesitate benefitted greatly.
- Positive Thinking. We are all capable of so much more than we think. We can’t just succumb to fear. Frank Herbert, one of my favorite science fiction authors, wrote, ‘Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.’ Don’t surrender to your fear. Think positively. Work toward the positive.
Those are my silver lining takeaways from 2020. I hope, by sharing them with you, they can help you prepare for 2021 as we continue working together to work our way free from some of the darkness that was 2020.