20/20 Vision via a 2020 Optimist

Full disclosure: I wear glasses and am not graced by perfect 20/20 vision.  I choose to see the best in every situation, person, and event. There are plenty of people who want to talk about the other stuff, and not enough of us are talking about all the good. So, let’s choose to see 2020 in its best light.

If 20/20 is perfect vision, how do we see in 2020?

To say 2020 has been eye opening is an understatement. The pandemic, Black Lives Matters, and the political climate all colliding like an astronomical meteor shower tripping on a crazy high. This collision means we are being graced by the true nature of our employers, our friends, our coworkers, our communities and our leaders. We can learn a lot of good things from this.

It is a special time as my Swedish grandmother Gerda Teresia would say. She liked to use the Swedish word for “special” to mean something unique that might be hard to see or understand, but that we should take time to appreciate for its uniqueness.

Gerda’s way is all very Scandinavian and judgment free. We’re the people who intentionally find beauty in the practical. I learned my optimistic view of the world from her, and am grateful for this every day. Especially in 2020 when I can see the good and special things that are happening all around us. Hej!Hej! New Normal. I’m glad to meet you.

Sure, 2020 has revealed cracks and crevasses that media and social media churns out at a constant rate. Seeing how our coworkers, our neighbors, our partners, and strangers react to new circumstances is eye opening in the same way as biting into a sweet, juicy cherry you have to remove the pit before you chip a tooth. When we look for the special cherry on top of 2020, we see that a lot of amazing things are happening.

People are paying attention to what’s happening and how it’s happening. We all have more time on our hands. A lot of us are using some of that time to think about a better world and our impact in the world. Consumers are voting with their dollars because they want to know the impact of the goods that they buy. Small businesses, local businesses, social impact businesses, Black businesses, women businesses are feeling the love. The big companies are responding by adding social responsibility c-suite positions and issuing new sustainability statements that support diversity, inclusivity, women in leadership, sustainability, and more.

Business is innovating at a fast clip in 2020 because now is the time to adapt & innovate. It is a wonderful time for new ideas.

Think of the impressive pivot by restaurant purveyors to pivot to delivering local foods to homes. It was fast and it is impressive. We saw independent fashion designers immediately begin making masks. Empty parking lots have been converted to drive-in theaters to deliver entertainment & community safely. Empty parking lots have also been converted to dining space for safely distanced outdoor dining. Fine dining found their niche with delivery and chef videos detailing dishes and their presentation. In many ways we are connecting more and we should embrace it. We’ve learned to embrace zoom for everything from professional meetings to happy hours to weddings. We re-discovered our appreciation for essential workers — the grocery store employees, health care workers, teachers, transit workers, restaurant staff and more.

Businesses and communities are helping each other and each is growing stronger as a result. Quarterly financial data shows that businesses embracing corporate social responsibility are bringing in the big numbers. That’s a win.

Surprise! Good people & good businesses exist. Let’s see the special circumstances of 2020 as an opportunity to make our world better. This is the new normal where people and businesses care about the impact they make. I, for one, welcome it with clear eyes.