By Brian Knight

I was a history major in college, so I often tend to look backward for insight and direction. Our past is incredibly valuable if we allow it to be. Looking to the past provides us with opportunities to improve both personally and professionally as we can find and address areas of greatness and improvement.

2020 is in our rearview mirror (finally), and no one wants to dredge up any part of it ever again, but the history geek in me is wired to reflect on what we experienced and how we can learn.

After some thought, I landed on 7 lessons I believe we can all take away from 2020 to help us better enjoy life, sustain success in our professional goals, and get the most out of the coming year:

1.     Patience – This is my first piece of advice I often give to anyone who asks for business or personal guidance because it is something I can lack and am constantly working to improve. 2020 taught us to be patient with one another: in the community, in business and in our personal relationships. We were forced to be patient in 2020, and I believe it would suit everyone well to embrace this practice. Keep in mind, this does not mean to intentionally delay any ideas or goals you have, instead to move forward steadily and efficiently. “Patience” and “determination” are so closely tied in my mind – we need to remain determined to be patient, and we have to be patient in our determination to achieve goals.

2.     Creativity – Thinking outside the box is how we make a living at Bullseye and this past year only reinforced our approach. The economy was lathered up in Vaseline and put on a bucking bronco with nothing to hold onto. Businesses were forced to think differently, especially in operations and marketing. Everyone was down by six, with four seconds left and on our own 40 yard line – we needed a “Minneapolis Miracle.” To those of us who made it through, we need to continue this trend of conjuring and reimagining an approach to survival and growth that is so creative, amazing, and awesomely crazy that it just might work… then take a tiny step back and set up camp there. Those who embraced the challenge often found success. With so many people online right now, businesses needed to stand out and create “positive market disruption”…and so many did! Implementing positive, creative solutions in 2021 and 2022 will deliver and compound results—we simply need the courage to try them.

3.     Understanding – We need to continue to listen and do our best to understand each other. We have to offer understanding and empathy even at times that we do not receive it in return. I personally learned this lesson over and over last year. Too many times I did not fully understand a situation until I approached it with empathy and understanding. As individuals, we do not ever know fully what is going on in the lives of others, but we need to do our best to provide them with support.

4.     Solutions Not Issues – A personal motto of mine was reinforced this year a million times over: too often we work and live with those who bring problems and issues instead of solutions. It is easy to identify problems—anyone can do it; bringing solutions or ideas is much more valuable. In the book “QBQ!: The Question Behind The Question” it discusses using “what” or “how” questions to solve issues and problems. “How can I do my job better?”; “what can I do to improve the situation?”; “how can I support others?”. If we continue to bring problems and no rational solutions then we are just as much of a problem as the problem is itself. Take positive action and find solutions – even if those solutions are not ideal, help to move an issue forward.

5.     Initiative – Another personal motto of mine is “take initiative” and it couldn’t be more true for 2020 and 2021. We were stopped in our tracks last year and it was hard to find the energy, time or creative ability to take initiative. Initiative has 2 definitions according to Google:

a.     The ability to assess or initiate things independently

b.     The power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do

I firmly believe in both of these. We need to take that leap of faith to move things forward and find a way to get it done. Initiative is scary and tiring, but those who embrace that fear of trying, failing, falling down, learning and then getting back up to try again will find success personally and professionally.

6.     Community – This couldn’t be more important in 2021. We need to rally together for our community. Some of the most beautiful cultures in the history of our world were built by a supportive, loving and strong community. Supporting one another and seeing the best in all we can do will help us. We trudged up one tall, crappy hill and as we reach the summit, we need to celebrate what we have accomplished together.

7.     Relationships – I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m a workaholic. I love what I do, but I received 10 times the joy that work provides in 2020 by leaning on my personal relationships. My wife, daughter, family, friends: hold these relationships  closer than ever because they are what truly matters. Don’t wait—send a thoughtful text to someone you care about. Hold onto a hug for a moment longer. Find time for that person who needs it most – it might even be yourself!

Now, even a history buff knows when it’s time to say ‘enough with the past’. This year, let’s move forward together and find success personally and professionally.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and perspective as well: please do not hesitate to reach out! My email is bknight@bmediallc.com.