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What next for 2021, after 2020 upsets?

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This has probably been the most dramatic year in the lives of many people. Many have lost loved ones due to coronavirus.

Many lost their jobs. Many lost the homes and property. And many faced the auctioneers axe. Big businesses were hit. Small businesses were hit. Nations were hit and governments were hit. We saw the vulnerability of the super power also taking a super lead in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

Now 2021 comes knocking. How do we receive a new year when we are trying to grapple with the damage 2020 left behind? Will 2021 be a happy New Year or continuation of the misery of the old year?
Will you drive change, will you ride change or will you be changed by change?

The ability to drive change or ride change in any area is a strong and strategic decision. When a strategic decision is made to change or to adapt to change in a particular direction we will go through certain emotions – the decision cycle. The cycle identifies five motions that will accompany strategic decisions: Fear, death, comfort, vision and life.

We have no idea what the year holds. We cannot make assumptions that 2021 will be better than 2020. In fact, we have no idea if 2020 was a warm-up for an even more dramatic year.

One thing we do know is that we will face changes that will force us to make decisions. How do we approach this?
Turning point

The emotion of fear comes because of the fear of the unknown, the fear of the new, the fear of parting with the old, the fear of making a fool of yourself or the fear of embarrassment; among others. It is only after the fear has been overcome that progress can be made.

However, even after the fear has been overcome and a step has been taken in the direction of change, many people still fall back because of the death process. This is the point in executing change or executing the decision when it looks like it may not work. It is the point where the sceptics suddenly look like they were right.

It is the point where sometimes the idea actually fails. What you do at this point will determine whether you will succeed.

It is the point where the transit pangs set it. These are pangs of remorse for making the decision. These pangs are based on initial negative outcomes as a result of the decision.

However, if one succumbs to these pangs, they will never rise above the level of their last success and they will always go back and forth between their last point of success — their comfort zone — and the transit pangs.

Once you overcome the death process and fail forward as John Maxwell puts it, you will be open to a whole new world of comfort. Then you will discover comfort in the most unlikely places — in your past experiences, in the leftovers of your failure and in the experiences of others.

From that place of comfort will emerge new vision, new possibilities and new ways of doing old things? It is a whole new level of life with no regrets, no bitterness and full of faith for the future and this results in new life.

A very important question is to ask what dead weight — people, projects and plans — you have carried in the outgoing year. Let them go. Someone might say, ‘how can a plan be a deadweight? If it is a plan that is taking valuable real estate in your head and it is going nowhere, find a way to send it to the pending compartment and focus on things you can do something about.

There is no room for deadweights. You need to travel light. Never be emotionally attached to an idea that holds you back.

Wale Akinyemi is the convenor of the Street University ( and chief transformation officer, PowerTalks.


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