Each of us has different reasons on why 2020 is an unforgettable year.
Some of them are good, some bad, some ugly! While it has been a mixed bag of experiences, I would say that it definitely was one in which many got time for introspection and reflection! If I personally had to look back at the year gone by, I would describe it using 3 words - Holistic ~ Grounded ~ Enriching
Holistic as I felt it was one of the years where I was able to consciously devote time for physical, emotional, intellectual growth and development.
Enriching as I did many things for the first time in my life, I learnt a couple of new things, I completed a bunch of things which have been on my To Do list for a while.
Grounded as it was well balanced across areas that matter to me.
In my last post for the Weekly Reflections for 2020, I will share some key highlights and lessons learnt as I look back at 2020.
After putting health on the back-burner for years (thanks to work, travel and a hectic work - life schedule), and suffering from a range of health related issues (weight gain, pains and aches, lack of sleep), I gave health a priority. The Top 3 things that made a difference
1) Signed up for learning yoga - This is probably one of the best decisions I made this year. What I realize now is that yoga is about control, balance, discipline and strength - all essential and powerful personal attributes to enhance in life. When I started yoga in July 2020, I was totally out of balance and could barely hold many yoga postures for more than a few seconds. With regular yoga practice and breath work, as of date - I can easily hold advanced yoga postures (like the hand stand) for about a minute.
2) Food and Fasting - This year, I was introduced to the concept of how it is important to listen and understand to your body as an 'woman' and respect it. I have never in my life looked at food and fasting from the lens of 'gender'. But as I understood the theory and science behind it, and indulged in little personal experiments around food and fasting, it was fascinating to see how health dramatically improved. Understanding food and how it affects you is very important. And fasting is powerful and can have transformative health impact !
3) Meditation – Again, this was something which I have always wanted to do. I have signed up for many courses in the past, but never really practiced regularly! In Oct 2020, I signed up for a meditation program and there has been no looking back. For someone who found it hard to meditate for even 1 minute, I can easily meditate for 20 minutes today.
My most important lesson - As you age and grow, health and wellness needs to be a personal priority. Giving it focus and time are critical for long term survival and sustenance.
I started writing and publishing ~10 years back. However, I had pressed “pause” for past several years due to personal priorities and professional commitments.
In May 2020, I re-started writing. In about 8 months, I have written published ~100 articles. What I have enjoyed publishing the most are my Weekly Reflections posts here on LinkedIn
The 3 best things that came out of writing
1) Clarity of thought on a lot of things - myself, relationships, career, future, world, society.
2) Being in the LinkedIn Top Voices 2020
3) ~2X increase in Followers and a new set of LinkedIn connections which are very diverse, interesting and high profile - including industry leaders, politicians, celebrities, influencers. I had the opportunity to personally interact with few of them for different projects and collaborations; and it just opened my mind to some amazing impactful work happening in the world and its possibilities
My most important lesson - Making time on a daily basis for this you love to do is essential. There will be things to do and the To Do list will only get longer with time. No point in reaching the end of life with an empty To Do list - if you have not nurtured what gives you true joy on a daily basis! So it is important to seize some "Me" time every day to do that one thing that makes you happy - it can be reading, cooking, painting, dancing. Just do it! Something good will follow.
As you grow at work and life, you realize the importance of forming meaningful relationships and diverse connections . My 3 noteworthy highlights
1) I have spent a great amount of time with family this year - especially with kids. The quantity and quality of interactions have been memorable and precious. Just being together, finding joys in everyday stuff, making small things special, and getting to really know each other (ideas, thoughts, emotions, motivations, dreams) a lot better has been a really wonderful experience.
2) This was the year where I think I have virtually seen or spoken to every member of my family, some after years. Thanks to the pandemic, family Zoom calls and celebrations have blurred the geographical distances and time zones. It has been wonderful and heart warming to see and smile at old uncles and new born babies across the world!
3) 2020 was also the year where I have re-connected with almost every single friend who meant something to me at some time in my life. Long conversations in which exchange of thoughts, ideas, dilemmas, past, fears, joys, pain, future have been cathartic.
My most important lesson - Family and friends are what really matter in the end. Let them know you care and love. Express. Show. Tell - in ways that mean something to you or them. It adds up!
I also tried my hand at a bunch of things.
In terms of new things - I organized 2 virtual birthday parties for my kids, cooked several new dishes, I baked with my kids, I tried to play golf, I learnt dance for a while, I re-discovered my kitchen for DIY home-made beauty treatments :)
And some things that I completed - Design, cleaning and organizing of some things at home which I had been putting away for years, personal data / file clean up and organization. Lastly, a powerful gratitude ritual in which I sent personalized 'Thank You' notes to people who helped, supported, believed in me through the journey of life.
My most important lesson - making some time to do the 'random' can be energizing and rewarding in more ways than one. do it once in a while
I view #GivingBack in two ways – in Money and Time.
For the past decade, I have financially supported very many causes close to my heart – education for the girl child, basic essentials (food, clothes) to the economically backward, school supplies to orphanages or child care facilities, patients ailing with chronic kidney failure (a cause close to my heart)
Time has been scarce for me as a working mother and is my most precious and valuable asset, so I am usually very guarded in how I spend it . But this year, I decided to be generous with my time and so did a couple of interesting things
1) Listening - I have actively connected this year with very many people who I felt needed a ear, and listened - to their stories, dilemmas, questions, considerations, fears, perspectives. In ways and spaces I could make a difference, I have helped in words and actions. Interestingly what I realized is that everyone wants to be heard, very few will listen. So if you find someone who listens to you, keep them close!
2) Actively supported those in need - I have gone above and beyond to help those in need in my circle of influence, specially those who have been less fortunate in context of COVID-19. This was primarily in dealing with loss of life of a dear one, or loss of employment !
3) launch of GCCMC - I was fortunate to be part of the team which launched GCCMC (Global Coalition for COVID-19 Medical Care) - a platform which brings together medical professionals to share knowledge and best practices in COVID-19 medical care
My most important lesson - At regular intervals, do one thing larger than yourself. Be selfless, don't expect anything in return. It actually feels good! And it adds to your good karma.
"And of course,
Thank you for reading me"
How did 2020 go for you? Leave a comment below.
Nischala is the Global Marketing Head at Wipro. She is a new age marketer who enjoys work which has a jazz and bass of logic, creativity and making a global impact. She is also an advisor / mentor with several global initiatives involving startups, technology consortia and #WomenAtWork communities. Her expertise is to craft and design high impact marketing strategies for emerging and high growth technology areas like blockchain, AI, next generation solutions. She believes the equation to marketing success is moving the dot from mind-share to market-share to profit-share. Her claim to fame is being among India's 2017 Top 100 Brand & Content Custodians, a TEDx talk, being among Twitterati and featuring in several global "Best in blogging" lists. Nischala holds an MBA from IIM Bangalore. You can follow her on Twitter @nimu9