I bounced out of December with a real spring in my step, ready to face the chaos and run of life. It had been a good month.
The work I had done on networking, writing, podcasting, staying in touch with some headhunters and my pro bono advising had positioned me well.
Three opportunities were opening via headhunters. There may even be a portfolio opportunity I could take with the SMEs, accelerators and start-ups I had been advising.
I switched off my phone and computer when the kids broke up from school, locked up my fears in the filing cabinet and enjoyed a peaceful family Christmas. Focussed 100% on them. The here and now. Looking forward to a new year ripe with opportunity and hope.
Like so many others I ran straight into the cold, hard stonewall of lockdown #3.
Joy, energy, positivity all severely dented. Lockdown #1 meant the market would stay quiet until September. In reality, nothing happened until October. Lockdown #2 wiped out November opportunities and effort, but gave time to prepare for a post-Christmas relaunch to the market. Lockdown #3 has put a real dampener on those relaunch spirits. Like many, I have wondered if this will ever end.
But, two things happened that provide a glimmer of light. Firstly, a dear friend who was also made redundant last year was offered a job just before Christmas. I am so pleased for him. He was planning on selling his house and moving back in with his mum to make ends meet.
Secondly, I came across the 20th century Calvinist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. I have never been blessed with faith but his words struck me as powerful and relevant for today: “Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and wisdom to know the difference.”
We can’t control government policy, mutations of the coronavirus, people’s adherence to lockdown rules or company hiring decisions. We are just going to have to accept them. But we can make sure we are ready and well placed for opportunities as they come along.
As Byron Sharp writes, physical and mental availability are key to grow any brand. So, like everyone else looking to restart their career in 2021, it’s about having the courage, mental resilience and clear-sighted judgment to keep on going, make our luck and be ready for the next new opportunity, whenever it comes.
As night follows day, opportunities will surely arise. As my old dad would say, “Chin up”.