When life puts you in tough situation, don’t say why me, you say TRY ME!

Congratulations, you’ve almost made it through 2020!  This past year was the longest 365 days…ever! In case you went into a coma during quarantine, let me recap a few of the lowlights of the past year.

A flu bug that wasn’t the flu.  News & media that no longer reported the news, they became it.  A presidential race & election that was anything but presidential.  A national shutdown.  Unprecedented business closures and layoffs.   Depression, suicide and domestic violence at all-time highs.  Pretty much all of California burned to the ground with wildfires.  The COVID 20.  Oh yeah, that’s my own term for gaining weight while isolating.  Personally, I think my self-isolation from COVID-19 provided me the COVID 20…pounds that is, 20 pounds.

Also, how about that working from home thing, eh?  It’s not quite what you thought it was going to be, was it?  I bet most of you had to go out and get more jammies, so you wouldn’t have to wear the same pair to work every day.  It’s okay, you can admit it!

With that all said, I have to say 2020’s been a real sh*tshow!

How about you?

Let’s not do that again, right?

Truthfully, we may have some lingering hangover in 2021 from all of the previously mentioned 2020 fubars.  It’s like the infamous shirt says, “stuff happens”.  Well it says something more offensive, but I’ve already used that cuss word today.  I’m not saying it again.  You can’t make me!

Anyway, what we can control is how we react to the “bad stuff”.  By yourself, with friends, your boss, your family or via professional help, it doesn’t matter the “how”.  The only thing that matters is the “do”.

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

Here’s a story for you to sum up what I’m about to talk about.  I met my wife when we were 16.  If you knew her then, you’d say what I say now…she was hell on wheels.  Literally.  She never met a clutch she didn’t like, and apparently loved the smell of burning one up, because that’s what she did every time she drove!

My wife’s first car was a 65 Mustang her dad built for her and it was fast!  Scary fast!  Well on this one particular day, I was riding passenger in this Mustang.  We’re rolling down the road going to the mall and she’s ripping out gears, burning out around corners, squealing the tires, you know making that car dance!  We finally get to our destination and I get out all shaky legged and tell her “you are a crazy driver and that scared the crap out of me!”.

She closes her door, leans over the hood of the car and looks at me with this crooked grin and says “but did you die?”

But did you die?

I know that isn’t funny, especially for those who had loved ones that did in 2020 due to COVID-19.  That is a tragedy.  For the rest of us that made it through 2020, are still here, still breathing and looking towards tomorrow, we need to stand up on those wobbly legs and take a step.  It all starts with that first step.  It always does.

First thing to do is know this one thing.  Life will be different.  You can’t have a year like we did, make all of the adjustments we had to as a nation and expect that we could go back to our old “normal” days of operating.  Business and any commerce in general where you interact with others is going to be permanently warped.  What changes stick and what changes stay will filter out eventually, but it’s safe to say some form of change is going to be added to our way of life. You have to wrap your mind around that, so that you can then adjust to what ever comes your way in 2021 and beyond.

Second, keep doing your everyday things to take care of yourself.  Brush your teeth, comb your hair, take a shower…yes, yes, take a shower!  Dress yourself in clothes that make you feel comfortable and ready to be productive.  I said life in general will be different, but your self-help routines shouldn’t change.  Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others and be a contributing member of society.

Third, make everyday efforts to remain personable.

Personable?

Yes, you remember things like “hello”, and “how are you”?  With that every day face covering thing, it’s easy to lose that personability.  We are all grieving in some sort of way, and feel we’ve lost our individualism as we’ve literally covered up the very thing that translate to others who we are…our face.  Noone can see a smile, a grin, the way our mouths curl up when we say “good morning”!  The face coverings impersonalize us and makes want to retreat.

Resist that urge!

Say “good morning”, loud and proud!  Ask “how are you today”? and when they say “great, how are you”? vigorously answer “fantastic, it’s going to be a great day”!  You’d be surprised how much just saying those words will brighten their day, and even yours as well. Heck do that 2 or 3 times a day and you just might have the best day ever!

Look for the positive in everything around you.  Even the smallest of things could be a steppingstone to changing your paradigm. BTW, paradigm is a fancy word telling you to make a “new” pattern for the day, week month…heck, life!

Now is the time to have the courage to be enthusiastic. Big wins may be in short supply right now, but we all continue to need positive feedback.  Express appreciation, give compliments and call out those triumphs, no matter how small!

The road in 2021 and beyond will still have speed bumps for us all, so boost up that morale, recharge your inner fighter and tell yourself you simply won’t stay down!

Speaking of fighters, I have a very inspirational quote for you to read that really resonated with me.  It’s by Sylvester Stallone.  Okay, technically he’s not a real fighter, but he did play one on tv!  At first listen, I thought it was a bit cheesy, but once I went back to it, I realized it’s pretty damn good!  I also feel it’s more than appropriate to read right…about…now!

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

 Oh, that Rocky.  He has a way with words, doesn’t he?  Well, despite the fact it’s a movie line, doesn’t make it any less true.  As a matter of fact, it pretty much hits the nail on the head.

In these times, your mental strength and the intestinal fortitude that comes with it, may be as important as your physical health.  They are all connected, and they need your attention every day to stay strong.

Take care of yourself. Take care of those around you.

Be kind to others and smile more, even when you don’t want to. It’ll help you both.

…and when life gives you a left to the jaw, tell it “you hit like a bitch”, smile and keep moving forward.

As you walk away, you can tell yourself “I win”!