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Reframing 2020

Reframing 2020
All of us get broken in some way. What matters is how we get up and put the pieces back together again. -David Kessler, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

We’re now firmly in the final weeks of 2020, counting the days before we can put this year behind us. Holiday cards share the theme of stepping on the accelerator and blazing 2020 quickly into the rear-view mirror. I even received the gift of a candle this week with the words “Waving Goodbye to 2020” etched into it, so I can cast out the spirits that wreaked havoc over my past twelve months.

[Related: Drama and Pain in Uncertainty]

On many levels, 2020 flat-out sucked. Even in these remaining weeks, it lumbers along with mounting challenges and hardships. We see COVID-19 cases surging as our hospitals swell, lines at food banks trail longer every day, and we live in a deeply-divided world where bias feels constant and omnipresent.

Burnout is now in full swing for many with steady or expanding work, and parents are ready to hang up their superhero outfits for the holiday break. We’ve been unable to see and touch many of the people we love, to travel and experience different environments, and have experienced significant loss on multiple levels.

So yes, I’m happy to close the door on 2020 and eagerly latch a deadbolt on it.

But as I take the time to reflect back on this year, the good things that happened also flood in. The moments when I was able to find nuggets of joy, experience gratitude, and learn about myself and those around me.

Where I saw my clients transform how they lead in a time of crisis. When a five-minute play break with our dog between meetings became an essential happiness elixir. And seeing friends and strangers discover new talents through a quarantine bake club series on social media.

[Related: Supporting Each Other From Six Feet Apart]

Ultimately, as I’ve become more present in my daily interactions, I’ve reprioritized what truly matters to me now.

What if we reframe 2020? How do the lenses of pain, frustration, and isolation allow us to change our perspective and see the year differently?

Reframing is a way to change how we perceive unfortunate events and stressors to relieve anxiety. It can shift our thinking, moving us out of “fight or flight” response and into a mindset where we’re more capable of making changes in our circumstances and creating new realities.

A great example of this is how we’ve reframed connection and relationships. We’ve innovated around not being able to physically experience people: moving to virtual interactions, sending physical cards to each other (like the holiday cards my friend sent in April, finally finding the time to write them), drive-by birthday and graduation parties, and prioritizing outdoor activities where masks and nature provided safety and sanity.

Through this process, many of us have been able to let go of stressful (or dreaded) social obligations, re-evaluate what we want connection to look and feel like, while becoming more mindful of how and who we interact with in our lives.

These next few weeks give us the opportunity to reflect on where we direct our time, attention, and energy. What did you learn in 2020? What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to take with you into 2021?

Yes, a lot of things fell apart this year, but some of them were broken from the start. The past twelve months turned cracks into chasms, giving us visibility into what we want to patch up.

2020 might be something we’re sprinting away from, but let’s look inside our toolkits to ensure we have what we need to put the pieces back together and create something remarkable.

[Related: The Pandemic Might Be a Gift]


Suzanne Weller partners with clients to maximize talent, transform organizations and teams, and lead from a human-centered place. Find out more at and discover more blog posts at

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