I had a great year. I say this very quietly for two reasons. Firstly, it was an absolutely harrowing time for millions of people globally, myself included. Secondly, because I faced some of the most challenging times in order for it to turn into a wonderful year and things got far worse before they got better.
Oh, to be hopeful
2020 was going to be huge. Now I know we say this at the beginning of every year, but there was so much lined up, from business growth to travel to fitness goals.
When lockdown was imposed in South Africa in March, moving STIR and SwiftX to full remote work wasn’t too much of a challenge as I have set up online processes since the start. But from a personal standpoint, I hate working from home. I absolutely despise it. When STIR started, I worked from home for the first 18 months before needing office space and staff. While I just put my head down and got on with it, I wasn’t happy about it.
Shortly after lockdown was implemented, I lost a key staff member, which meant that more work fell on my shoulders as hiring someone new wasn’t going to work. While I just put my head down and got on with it, I wasn’t happy about it.
Many of STIR’s clients reside in the tourism, retail, and alcohol space. Naturally, budgets were decreased, or retainers were canceled. Thankfully, through endless hours of hard work, we managed to make revenue back. While I just put my head down and got on with it, I wasn’t happy about it.
SwiftX had set up a fail-proof pipeline for 2020, all of which was meant to go live in March/April 2020. With the level of uncertainty at its peak, those clients paused their launch. At the time of writing this blog, those clients have made their way back into SwiftX’s life, but only because through the course of the year I had to manage, nurture and reassure them to get them back. I just put my head down and got on with it, I wasn’t happy about it.
I wasn’t happy about it.
I wasn’t happy about a lot of things. I felt like my work (which I adore) was heavy. In my eight years as an entrepreneur, I’ve always progressed, but I felt stuck. I’m not going into the details of the general abomination that was 2020, but the productivity I displayed didn’t determine my self-worth. Something was missing.
Usually, when faced with the call to make a change, it’s been a fun challenge. But where do you turn in a year like this? A year where very few people are taking chances, or growing, or chasing opportunities.
I turned to me
I knew I had to keep it very real in terms of what I wanted to achieve. I actually had to bring my goals forward. One of those was to further my speaking career. I enrolled in Missing Link’s Story-To-Stage program, which was an intense period of self-reflection, learning, and creativity. I am extremely proud of the trademark talk I have developed and spreading my idea of finding comfort outside your comfort zone around the world. It’s something I’m certainly an expert in.
But 2020 doubled down on itself. Obviously.
On 9 September 2020, I was hit by a car while jogging. Long story short, I thought I was fine until I wasn’t and on 20 October, I went into theatre to have my ACL reconstructed and my meniscus repaired.
The surgery is extremely invasive and recovery ranges between six and nine months. I was bedridden for two weeks and on crutches for six weeks. I basically came out of nationwide lockdown into my own personal lockdown. What a jol. The pain was overwhelming. The immobility was frustrating. The lack of independence was a living nightmare – if you know me at all, I know you’ll be grinning.
I’ve been through a lot and knew this injury would be a physical challenge, but mentally it was worse than expected. But I had to persevere.
Pulling dreams forward
Despite the brakes on my physical wellbeing, I wanted to accelerate professionally. This is that irritating part of the blog where I tell you that something beyond my wildest dreams is being finalised, but I can’t reveal anything yet, because the ink isn’t dry on the paper. Buy my professional best-case scenario is literally playing out as I type this, and I cannot wait to share more. I can safely say that this wouldn’t have happened without the dumpster fire that was 2020.
What would this blog be without Taylor Swift?
I mean, she single-handedly saved 2020 with not one, but TWO perfect, record-breaking albums. She was like, “If you aren’t gonna stay home, Imma make albums that demand blankets and red wine.”
So, I will say it loudly now… Despite my businesses suffering, despite being locked down, despite having to work harder than I ever have had to, and for less, despite being hit by a car, despite being bed-ridden, despite enduring great physical pain, despite all the misery and uncertainty, I HAD A GREAT YEAR! And I am looking so forward to what 2021 has in store. I know that, when the clock strikes midnight tonight, things won’t magically change. COVID-19 will still be alive and very well, climate change will still be showing us flames, and politicians will still be greedier than ever.
But I’ll put my head down and get on with it. And be happy about it.
P.S. Whenever I say “I couldn’t have done this without you”, Barry responds “Of course you could have. It just may have taken a little longer.” My Mess, your love, motivation, patience, and support is neverending and I’m so grateful. I love you so much. Cheers to you.