In a lot of companies, it’s time right now for year-end processes, such as performance reviews. With that come opportunities to reflect on the year that was, and put it in the most positive light possible. Or, as some might say, put lipstick on that pig. I think that reference is appropriate for the year that was 2020, but I digress.

At the beginning of the year, each of us on my team put together a top 5 list of the things we wanted to personally accomplish. A way to get focused on a few things that would create impact. Not a bad idea — focusing on a few important things can help.

Then, a pandemic hit in March. At the beginning, if felt like it was time to rip up the script — what we had hoped to accomplish somehow seemed irrelevant or unachievable at work because of the pandemic. Or so we thought.

Work, and life in general went on, and the things we need to get done in 2020 were still there – on that work list we wrote down pre-pandemic. The kids still were going to graduate from high school and college, respectively. My Dad still needed to be moved into memory care. At work, I still had to figure out how to train and coach Scrum teams in our global laboratory and all the new people locally who had joined. In Agile Best Self, Michaele and I still needed to figure out how to we were going to turn up the good even though we could not engage at live conferences and events.

Even though it didn’t feel that way, what really changed was the environment in which we had to perform at work, and manage our lives. It required not a change in the “backlog”, but a change in the mindset. If other words, as Michaele said to me at one point this year, “you gotta figure it out your own damn self.” To the rescue comes Agile Best Self Principle 8.

Another reason why Principle 8 is my favorite. I love how it brings this mindset shift front and center. For me it showed up this way…”How can I be a light in a global pandemic to teach Scrum to my global colleagues?” Suddenly all kinds of solutions popped out. Same thing at home…”How can I be a light in a global pandemic to celebrate both my children graduating?” Graduation ceremonies were different than ever before, but we worked on making them as meaningful as we could. This quote below was part of my daughter’s graduation ceremony, heard as we huddled around a laptop screen. It captured the sentiment exactly:

“…technologically virtual but empathetically real.”

from Dr. Robert Brooker, University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences Commencement, May 2020

Part of building our optimism skill is looking back to see all the great things that happened. And in doing so, you see that we can thrive in most any circumstance with the right mindset — furthering the belief that something good will happen. Just look at the receipts. We figured out how to the deliver the Scrum training, at home we figured out how to celebrate graduation, we got my Dad moved safely into a new home at a memory care facility. And, Michaele and I figured out how to deliver Agile Best Self workshops and more website content than ever before.

This reflective process is definitely an application of Agile Best Self Principle 12.

Agile Best Self Principle #12: At regular intervals, reflect on how to become your best self, then tune and adjust.

When I was going back through my Top goal 5 list, I thought it might be fun to try to come up with a word or phrase (maybe a song title?) that described my outcome for 2020:

Found a Way

And the receipts are there to back it up. Bring it, 2021. I am ready.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by Brian Hackerson

My personal philosophy is to be a light.

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