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  • Writer's pictureJessica Davey

Defining Your Own Success of 2020

"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

As with any historical event, you will always remember where you were when you first heard that they had created a vaccine.

I will always remember that day. But I will always remember the day before too.

For me, it was walking down my high street to the gym for my first eagerly-awaited workout after the lifting of lockdown (yes I was one of those gym keenos who actually queued, don’t judge me!).

On that same morning, the Christmas lights had been turned on. Their warm glow and sparkle danced down the high street, lighting up rows of shops and restaurants that seemed to have lost their sparkle so long ago. The town Christmas tree stood tall and proud amongst them – like a statue of strength, resilience and non-defeatism.

It was in that moment that everything started to feel different.

Like so many of us, I have had quite a few reflective moments this year, but always with an undertone of stress or uncertainty. This felt different. As the days went on and news of the vaccine flooded the press and into our homes, the atmosphere around us has undoubtedly changed. The fog of worry and fear has started to lift, and people have become excited – an emotion that we haven’t been able to feel all year – about the future.

But the day before hadn’t been quite as magical or like something out of a Mariah Carey music video.

It was – like so many of us have experienced this year (and far too often) – one of those days when I felt like 2020 had been a total failure of a year.

I felt like giving up. I just didn’t know when this was going to go away. If you have read my previous (and very honest) blog about running a (recently started-up) business during a global pandemic, you will know that as a new business owner, it has been bloody tough. I had survived the first lockdown and market crash, but just as we were all getting back to normality, lockdown happened again and - it felt like - everything started to go wrong, one more time.

I was walking my dog (the real winner of 2020; she's never had so many walks and cuddles) with my sister (socially distanced) and as she asked how I was and how the business was doing, I felt a sudden rush of overwhelm. I started to reel off what had gone wrong, what a failure this year had been, what I should have achieved and compared myself to other people, but also an imaginary non-Covid-2020 version of myself that never existed. The stress, tiredness and pure exhaustion of 2020 flooded out of me.

In that moment I felt like I wanted to pretend the whole year hadn’t happened – and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.

But as big sisters always happen to be very good at – regardless of how old you are – she helped me see sense. She explained that this year was not a failure at all. And nor was I.

I just needed to define a different type of success.

And she was right. As always.

This year has been a success because it has pushed and challenged me – all of us – so much that I have evolved into a person I never was before. I have gained – or just realised that I have it within me – more strength and resilience than I ever thought I had.

I may have not earned millions, but this year was a success because I have built the strongest brand and foundations for my business I never would have before. When other recruiters were sitting back and waiting until companies were spending again, I focused on building genuine relationships with people, helping and supporting them through the toughest moments of their careers so far.

This year was a success because I believe in my purpose more now than everto help individuals achieve more in their careers - and to help Founders build businesses - they never thought possible. And if I never gave up on my dream even during a global pandemic, I know I never will. I still love what I do, I’m still standing and I’m still smiling.

Define your own success of 2020. Give success a different meaning to you.

You may not have built a multi-million pound business, got the new job that you wanted or progressed in your role as you had hoped. You may have been furloughed or even lost your job. It does not make you - or this year - a failure.

This year could be a success because after all this time at home, you have been around to bath your children and put them to bed, and made more family memories than you ever would have.

This year could be a success because you realised you no longer want to conform to the Monday-Friday long, sweaty commute, miss out on valuable time with your family or work for a company that does not value work-life balance. You have realised life is too short and your priorities have changed.

This year could be a success because you have been there to support and look after your loved one, who is a key worker, every day without fail.

This year could be a success because you are still just bloody going. And no one is judging you for the copious amount of wine, chocolate or Netflix that got you through it. 😉

Success comes in many different shapes and sizes.

We are so quick to judge ourselves or compare ourselves to others; but we are only accountable to ourselves. We are so quick to see the bad and not the good; but not celebrate what we have actually achieved. We are so quick to measure success by money, status or power; but not realise that success comes in many different shapes and sizes.

If you’re a quote geek like me, one from Winston Churchill that resonated: "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."

Or if I have depressed you so much by reading this blog and you need something to

desperately lift the mood, listen to: Sometimes The Going Gets A Little Tough (Ferreck Dawn & Robosonic Remix). This song has got me through many a crap day – very good when accompanied with a sweaty gym workout or large glass of vino (preferably both … I’ll let you decide in which order 😉).

Thanks so much for reading.

Jess x

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