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I take an optimistic view of life – here are the positives that I’ll take away from 2020.

As we start the New Year in another national lockdown, it would be easy to feel dejected and focus on the difficulties we’ve faced over the past year or so. But 2020 wasn’t all bad. In fact, I believe its legacy in the long term will be more positive than negative. Then again, I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. 

Here are my 2020 positives that I think we will carry forward into this year.

2020 positive 1: We work to live

The pandemic has allowed everyone to slow down and take a long hard look at their lives. We had the perfect opportunity to get back to basics during the lockdown months of spring and summer. We spent quality time with our families, caught up with long lost friends, took up hobbies, had time to appreciate nature. We remembered that we work to live and what is important in our lives.

2020 positive 2: Mental fitness is so important

Mental fitness and wellbeing are high on the agenda, openly discussed in all forums and no longer swept under the carpet. I had an incredible and unexpected response to my article on this subject in May. We are learning to be honest and open, look after ourselves and our colleagues. An open dialogue on mental fitness is a fantastic step forward.

2020 positive 3: Our staff can be trusted

Traditionalists used to frown upon working from home. Managers saw it as a chance to skive off and take it easy when no-one is keeping an eye on what they are doing. How wrong this has turned out to be! All the research suggests that, once things had settled down, we were more productive at home. Could it be less disturbance? Could it be less time lost to unnecessary meetings (going on mute, turning the cam off)? Or just more hours worked at the desk rather than the time taken to commute to the office? So, we can trust our staff to work from home and be as, if not more, productive.

2020 positive 4: The community spirit lives on

I believed for a long time that there had been a loss of community spirit in our lives in general. But 2020 proved me wrong – it was merely in hibernation. It just needed an excuse to rise to the surface again. There have been incredible examples of individuals and groups pulling together to help others. We experienced this at GenerationCFO with the virtual conference event we held in partnership with the ACCA and others in May 2019.  It continued throughout our virtual events and meetings. The community spirit lives on and promises to become stronger in 2021.

2020 positive 5: We can achieve anything if we put our minds to it

We have had to overcome so many barriers in the last year. Some of these felt impossible to overcome. Whether it be on a global scale, such as delivering a vaccine in record time, or on a smaller more personal scale, such as survival of your business, we have achieved incredible things in unbelievable time-scales. It just proves we can achieve so much if the desire and belief are there.

2020 positive 6: The CFO and the finance team are critical

We have seen how much organisations rely upon the CFO and the finance team. Whether it is survival or planning for the future or reporting on actions and initiatives, finance has been vital. However, the CFO and the finance team are not just critical in a pandemic; they are essential all the time. Let’s grab the initiative, make this perception of importance a permanent reality and cement our place at the top table.

So, let’s take the positives from 2020 and look forward to a fantastic 2021. Work to live, look after your mental fitness and continue to trust in others. Set your objectives and achieve anything you put your mind to. Happy new year to you all.