Reflecting on 2020

In this episode we reflect on the dramatic year and outlooks on the new year.

January 5, 2021
Show/Hide Transcript

Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. Well, Melissa,

JJ Parker  0:18  
here we are at the end of 2020.

We made it

Melissa Albers  0:24  

JJ Parker  0:25  
It's like we should all get a T shirt that said I survived 2020

Melissa Albers  0:30  
coming in hot in 2021.

JJ Parker  0:35  
Compared to other years that we would have, like, reflected on like what happened? Right? They all seem like so boring child to a child. like Tony, Tony,

Melissa Albers  0:48  
those were all practice years for 22. But nobody told us that. Was this a big surprise?

JJ Parker  0:56  
Well, it was pretty amazing. So for this episode, we're just going to reflect on the year a little bit, right? Yeah. And just so everyone knows we normally record our podcast in the morning. Yeah. But this is a evening recording.

Melissa Albers  1:16  
Yeah, like I can see your computer screen bouncing off the window in back of you because it's pitch blackout.

JJ Parker  1:26  
I hope nobody no different right.

Melissa Albers  1:27  
I hope nobody has already checked out of our podcast because as soon as they heard Oh, no, they're going to talk about 2020 I'm out here.

JJ Parker  1:37  
Well, just so everyone knows that they're in very safe hands. I am. Keen. cognac straight.

Melissa Albers  1:44  
That with that is there's a lot or cognac in there. And I

JJ Parker  1:48  
know that's just the angle of No, you're right. Oh,

Melissa Albers  1:52  
I see. There's a lot in there. Yeah, it's just the angle of my big golf. And I am sticking to something that is carb friendly. Ultra. How stupid and boring. Is that?

JJ Parker  2:06  
A little lighter.

Melissa Albers  2:08  
Just a little?

JJ Parker  2:12  
Well, I don't think we should like there's a couple of interesting things about 2020.

Unknown Speaker  2:17  

JJ Parker  2:18  
true. Obviously, it was a very dramatic year. Right?

Melissa Albers  2:25  
Oh, you pause there was a pregnant pause and I thought, oh my god, what's he gonna say?

JJ Parker  2:31  
There was like 37 different words that popped in my head.

Melissa Albers  2:34  
Yes. Yeah. dramatic. dramatic. I mean, scary. downright stressful. Interesting. You need

JJ Parker  2:43  
Yeah. All those things?

Melissa Albers  2:45  
Yeah. It's all those things. Well,

JJ Parker  2:48  
I mean, obviously, we had a global pandemic, which threw everything into a tizzy. Yet we had high emotion. We had civil unrest, we had a lot of worry, and confusion and, like a lot of a lot of financial

Melissa Albers  3:05  
concerns. There's a lot of financial concerns in the world.

JJ Parker  3:10  
Yep. And then we just have some weird, other, you know, in the financial world, even some just like weird things like, yeah, like, while the stock market took a gigantic dip. It then went on a crazy rally.

Melissa Albers  3:25  
Yeah, I know,

JJ Parker  3:26  
just as like a juxtaposition compared to like, the, like demmick happening.

Melissa Albers  3:34  
I know. Well, you know, how

JJ Parker  3:35  
are people like, like, lose, like laid off for load losing their jobs while the economy is on this steady tear? I know word and it just, it's it doesn't make sense bag. Right? It's hard to yet here is hard to make any sense of it.

Melissa Albers  3:51  
I know it is. I noticed. I wrote a blog. I can't remember what month of 2020. That was. But it was titled something like 2020. The year of 2020 is not the year of perfect vision. It's the Year of seeing things perfectly.

JJ Parker  4:07  
Well, that's interesting.

Melissa Albers  4:08  
Yeah. And I feel like that has been

Unknown Speaker  4:11  
on that blog.

Melissa Albers  4:12  
You should check the self awareness journey webpage.

JJ Parker  4:16  
About one to one right.

Melissa Albers  4:19  
You are that good? Hey, we should maybe start doing podcasts at night all the time. We both have such a good sense of humor on today. Well, at least I think so. Maybe the listeners don't.

JJ Parker  4:31  
So the idea that you have perfect vision. What did you say it was profound,

Melissa Albers  4:36  
that you don't have it's not 2020 vision, but that we see things perfectly as they are? Yeah, just like, you know, like, and at the time in the article. I actually was using examples that were available at that time, like pretty early in the year because I remember talking about how we were people were starting to be having kids at home for school. So It was right at the beginning of all of that. And I was like, You know what, we are suddenly seeing how hard teachers have been working and what their jobs are really all about. And, I mean, there's a fair number of us that always knew but a lot of the, you know, a lot of the times we've said, Oh, teachers have it's so easy, you know, that school of thought, no pun intended.

JJ Parker  5:20  
No parent with kids that are distance learning thinks that now

Melissa Albers  5:24  
they sure don't, because we now have perfect vision of what it's really like. Yeah. And then some, and then some rate, for sure. Yeah, I saw like, it's kind of weird, like a juxtaposes a great word, because there's been all sorts of really scary and unforeseeable things that have gone on. But there's also been some really beautiful things that have been that have come out of it. That are life life altering for many of us.

JJ Parker  5:50  
Yeah. Yeah. When I, when I was when I think about the year from, like, you know, because I'm a I'm a tech guy, right? Yes. business guy you are. I, what strikes me is the the amount of innovation and technology adoption that has happened in an insanely short amount of time.

Unknown Speaker  6:15  

JJ Parker  6:16  
yeah. Right. Like it would, for things like you like video conferencing for the like, at work, the idea of working remotely. And the idea that if you're a salesperson, you know, it used to be like, hey, I've got a fly all over the country and me, clients, everything. And all of a sudden, all this technology that was already there, yes. got adopted super fast. And everyone realized, Oh, wait, this is actually works really great. Yeah. Like I like being home more, I like not having a, you know, to our daily commute to the office. And yeah, it accelerated on an amazing amount of change. And in such a short amount of time,

Melissa Albers  6:59  
well, and the number of people that normally are not very tech savvy or didn't think that they were were all of a sudden able to use platforms, with lightning speed, and also the platform's were available in lightning speed for huge masses. Like, if you look at zoom, for example, I had a client who was talking about his buddy, that is one of the regional managers for zoom here in Minneapolis, and his business increased in size by over 1,000% in 60 days. And it was massive, the number of people getting on that platform.

JJ Parker  7:35  
Yeah, that's unreal, isn't it?

Melissa Albers  7:39  
I maybe got out of sales just a little soon,

JJ Parker  7:41  
right? Maybe a little bit longer.

Melissa Albers  7:45  
Just a little bit? Well,

JJ Parker  7:48  
the idea that 2020 forced us to change our norms, right? Look at our behaviors, look at our patterns, look at the way we went about our day to day. And it. You know, it obviously forced us to stop. Yep. And then I think it allowed us to say, hey, maybe there is a better balance or a better way or a better situation for you know, work and, and family life. You know, that's one of the things I think I really appreciated about the forced remote work thing. Our company was always very remote, friendly. I would call ourself remote first company already. So for us, it wasn't much of a leap. But to force everybody into it, including myself, like we're a remote company, I still wanted the Office of the day,

Melissa Albers  8:47  
right? Exactly. Those old habits die hard.

JJ Parker  8:51  
might have been a hypocrite in that way.

Melissa Albers  8:56  
Flexibility, you just wanted the flexibility to be remote if you wanted

Unknown Speaker  9:01  
to be if you wanted to be.

JJ Parker  9:05  
But watching how quickly, millions and millions of people adapted to a different way? Oh, yeah, day to day life, I thought was amazing. Oh, yeah. And you know,

Melissa Albers  9:17  
what else I thought was also amazing as well, in the same in the same topic is how at the very beginning, people were very nervous to do that. They didn't want to do it. They didn't want to go home. They felt very anxious about it. And then once they got home, they went through a lot of feelings, trying to get used to it. It was hard. They were trying to understand where should I put my office? When should I work? When do I stop working? Where do I put my you know stuff. So I don't have to think about it all the time. Okay, so they went through that period, and then a lot of people came around the backside of it and we're like, I really like working from home. I'm actually a little nervous, to the point where I don't even really want to go back to an office and such as shift in just a few months time, you know, the whole mentality and the whole shift behind what they found as their norm. And what they found comfort in was really it's really interesting.

JJ Parker  10:11  
Yeah. Yeah, I felt that shift myself. You know, while I wasn't really nervous starting to work from home part, because I knew that we kind of had that one nailed. Yeah. But a couple weeks ago, I was sprucing up my, what used to be the kids play room, which immediately turned into my office slash the kids play room, which is now slowly evolving into exclusively my office.

Melissa Albers  10:41  
Yeah, I still say there's some fun stuff back. Well,

JJ Parker  10:44  
this will be video games. But I read it, you know, I read it the floor. Yeah, put new flooring down here because I want it to be like a little bit more adult instead of like, playroom carpet tiles we had. And when I did that, I go to my wife. And I'm like, hey, Amber, like, you know, since like, I'll probably just be working from home forever. Like, I might as well make a nice time there. And she goes forever. Like, you're staying.

Melissa Albers  11:14  
Like, when you say forever. Wait, while I'm Oh, that is true. That is true.

JJ Parker  11:24  
So for some of us, we maybe have already, you know, moved out. Okay, Amber,

Melissa Albers  11:31  
Amber is already ordering as she shed on Amazon. They've got free shipping through January 5.

JJ Parker  11:42  
That's why those parts are 2020. They change the change part and adapting part even though it's it's a lot of times not comfortable. Right? change. Change is difficult. It's uneasy. I think as humans, though, we're good at, you know, adaption. Adapting is one of the things I think humans are pretty good at.

Melissa Albers  12:05  
It's funny, because I think humans are actually quite good at adapting and also are quite sure that they're not, I think emotionally, they tell themselves, they don't like change, you know, they find it very, very stressful. And yet, then when it actually happens, they seem to just kind of, you know, just right, there it is. And it's like, the worry of something is always much greater than the actual having of it, I

JJ Parker  12:29  
think. Yeah, you know, the

Melissa Albers  12:31  
other thing that I think is kind of interesting is how the, our family units have come back to being the center of our worlds.

Unknown Speaker  12:40  
Mm hmm.

Melissa Albers  12:41  
I think you know, like that was one of the other things I remember kind of writing about in that article was about how, you know, we always like if you have kids in sports, like our kids were very active in high school sports, they were, you know, in multiple sports, we were never home, especially both the kids when they were in hockey in high school, we were running all over the place, never home for dinner together, it'd be 11 o'clock on a school night before we'd even get home. And that was just the norm, you know, or tournaments over the weekend. So if we did want to do church or do anything else like that, it was like, well, we have to really work around our school and our sports schedules. And now, we have very much come back to the core of our family time. And some people are kicking and screaming about components of it. Yet, more and more people are talking about having dinners together, finding game nights being creative about what they do with themselves. Our kids both graduated from college in this period of time during 2020. And one of them is staying in northern Minnesota, but the other one moved home. Because they can't find they can't go live on their own right now. During a pandemic. That doesn't make sense. But you know what, it's been really fun having them around more in any age they are it's not common that they would be spending this much time with their boring parents.

JJ Parker  14:10  
Forced time with living with the mom and dad for longer there really should. Yeah, we should get Megan on the podcast and just see what her opinion of that what her side of the coin is on that one.

Melissa Albers  14:23  
Yeah, exactly. Right. It's it would be very kind and very patient and very passive about it. And Megan would just straight up be like, Oh, yeah, this is just you know,

JJ Parker  14:33  
help. But it is true. We are spending our families spent way more time together than we've ever spent in the past for quality for good and bad to like sometimes is really stressful.

Melissa Albers  14:50  
I know. I know. And then I do miss habits. You know, like the Tony Tony has taught me that I probably ate out a lot more than I realized that I did. And I haven't I have started cooking doing a lot more stuff at home and I actually kind of like it.

JJ Parker  15:06  
Yeah, that's great.

Melissa Albers  15:08  
Sometimes I don't sometimes I hate it.

Unknown Speaker  15:12  
I agree. Like, from an entertainment perspective.

Melissa Albers  15:15  

JJ Parker  15:15  
What's really interesting is like, I've used this phrase, like, sometimes we entertain ourselves to death. Like, yeah, we're just trying to, you know, and there was, even though sometimes, we were feeling during COVID, like, we couldn't go to theaters, we couldn't go do any of the things that were how like leisure entertainment activities. Yeah. But we filled that time with like, different kinds of activities. You know, it, it may be made us laugh at me, but others realize, like, Hey, I don't have to maybe go to a basketball game in the stadium. You know, every week, right? They there's these kind of big entertainment things that people do that just went away.

Melissa Albers  16:03  
Yeah, yeah, for sure. theaters, sporting events. Well, even vacations and trips flying all over the place. Yep.

JJ Parker  16:13  
Yeah, that that was another weird thing. Like, I traveled a lot. Same. Right. I travel a lot for work. I traveled a lot for fun. Yeah, same. The week. COVID broke.

Melissa Albers  16:25  

JJ Parker  16:26  
I was scheduled to be away for weeks. With one gap day. Oh, I forgot about that between four trips. Oh, yeah. And yeah. And that was just my norm. That would be my normal spring for that time

Melissa Albers  16:43  
of the year. Right. Exactly.

JJ Parker  16:45  
And that all got broken. And honestly, now that I look back at it, it was kind of refreshing.

Melissa Albers  16:53  
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I'm

JJ Parker  16:56  
sitting here now, I think, wow, I don't know that I, I want to ever go on a four weeks of back to back trips.

Melissa Albers  17:06  
Yeah. I wonder like, do you just think energetically you've been altered because of this, like how you perceive like, exactly what you're talking about, like the energy that it takes, even though it's super fun to like, be gone a lot and stuff like that. Like, do you ever wonder if your energy is going to be altered as a result? Or do you just think it, you know, it was just like you adapted to it. And you'll just go back to your regular way of being when it's available? Like, how do you think you'll be?

JJ Parker  17:38  
That's a really good question. So energy wise, I don't I don't think from an energy perspective, I probably changed that much. Because during that four week period, I also did raise the crazy things, start blogs and websites and maybe other weird side projects, right?

Melissa Albers  18:00  
Yeah, art projects,

JJ Parker  18:02  
has very high output during

Melissa Albers  18:06  
your accident, you were straight up exhausted. Now that I'm remembering that period of time, you

JJ Parker  18:11  
know, yeah, I was probably edging on some sort of like insanity. But, you know, what I think is cool, though, that when you ask them, What What do you want?

Melissa Albers  18:24  
Oh, no, go ahead, go, go go. I

JJ Parker  18:25  
was gonna say my energy was like, I don't think my energy change. But what I realized is that, I can focus it in a in a much different way. Right? Right, like, like flying all around and doing trips and going here. And there. Maybe was the same amount of energy, but but in some ways, now, it feels almost like it was, let's say wasted, but it just wasn't like as probably intention or as focus as it could have bad intent seemed like a lot of running around.

Melissa Albers  19:07  
Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that that's true. Like, even in my coaching practice, I would go and have lots of face to face meetings with my coaching clients. So there would be days if I had like four or five meetings in a day, I was in my car in between those meetings and driving all over the place. And I honestly think that some of my coaching sessions have gotten better in this timeframe, which surprised me, because if you would have told me that before, I never would have believed that. I would have

JJ Parker  19:40  
the best technology shift, right. That's the tech. Yep. That's that. That's that technology accelerator?

Melissa Albers  19:46  
Yeah. And having the conversations that I have, that people can have in their own homes when they're comfortable, and they're not in a coffee shop or they're not in their office with a glass wall, looking around and make sure you know Yeah, like, pressed against. Yeah. Yeah. So that's been like an unintended consequence. That's been a really good one. I think there's been several really, really good things. And of course, we could always talk about this stuff that's been terrible. And there's plentiful conversation in that direction. But, you know, like the self awareness journey, we started this, we really started this together. A couple of weeks after the whole pandemic started. We went into creation mode, big style. Well, I feel like the rest of the world was constricting. Mm hmm. Which is

JJ Parker  20:37  
make a lot of stuff during that time.

Melissa Albers  20:39  
Yeah. That was an unintended that might just be

JJ Parker  20:43  
how people react. Right. Like, like, under stress, people are gonna react a different way. Yeah, different ways. Some people might shut down. Some people might act out.

Melissa Albers  20:55  

JJ Parker  20:57  
Like, just start our projects.

Melissa Albers  20:59  
We just started our projects. Yeah, you just start a lot of big big ones to not little ones. Just cute little ones. Well,

JJ Parker  21:08  
you mentioned like, the negative stuff. Oh, yeah. 2020. And, like, I don't feel like we should just let that go. Like, we've got this like, fairly. We like to remember the positive stuff and we're looking for the good and yeah, it's funny you and I for sure. Yes, my bestest our personalities, we're gonna, we're gonna try to find that good. But the fact is, like, hundreds of 1000s of people died in, in 20, twice, due to a virus. There's people who lost their jobs. There's there was financial hardship there is, you know, there's stress on relationships, and families and

Melissa Albers  21:53  
well, and that dress a lot of stress.

JJ Parker  21:58  
Oh, yeah. And the election. Yeah. And, you know, I'm one of the things that really affected me deeply was the George Floyd. Yeah, murder in Minneapolis. Like, yeah, there was a lot of very emotionally difficult things to work through

Melissa Albers  22:18  
that were just coming right after the next one. It was

JJ Parker  22:22  
like a firehose of like hard emotions.

Melissa Albers  22:26  
Yes. Yeah. What did you What did you learn? Did you learn anything about yourself during all of that, like, if you just like taking a glance back?

JJ Parker  22:37  
Well, yeah. We actually, we talked about it on a pod a few, like during this time, but the the one thing, the biggest lesson that I learned about myself, and it was related to the George Floyd, stuff was as I was working with one of my friends on doing some video because he's a he's a musician and a video

Melissa Albers  23:08  
for him. Yes. Yep.

JJ Parker  23:10  
Halloween, and we made a super cheesy graduation song that was because cheesy, no one was, you know, because like, I know, in person graduations that way, the super cheesy graduation song, and this goofy video is awesome. And then then George Floyd hit. And he actually asked me to do a video for a fairly serious song that he wrote about police brutality. And I said, Yeah, well, I initially told him, I would work on it. Yeah. And I sat with it for a few days, and I and I just couldn't do it. And what a younger me would have done, would it just take Nordahl emotion plowed through that project and just delivered something? Yes. But what I learned is that I am not going to do that. Yeah. It's like, I gotta listen to that energy. And I got to listen to that feeling. And, and so I passed on that, yeah, I worked on that project with them. And that, to me, that felt like a growth moment that felt like, like a thing that said, Okay, I don't know, I don't have to do things. I'm not gonna do things that I don't feel safe with.

Melissa Albers  24:27  
Yeah, that's such a good. That's such a good takeaway. I was major. I think for me, what I learned and I was surprised about was how resilient I am. And I don't mean that in an ego way. I mean, like, how resilient I am in my ability to stay calm, and to try to stay centered with this deep knowing If I, if I could just stay there, that I could be more present, I could be more objective, I could be more able to move with the currents, even though they were really hard. And I would start doing things without even really intentionally making decisions to do them. But I just started changing. Like, I stopped watching the news. I stopped and I got like the New York Times subscription. And I would just peruse headlines instead of watching 90 minutes a night of news, that would be terribly depressing. And I would feel terrible. So I started turning towards things that would make me feel more Okay, not happy. Not great, because there were very few options of feeling great many times throughout this year. But just saying, I am a lot more resilient than I realized that I am. And I felt very grateful to learn that.

JJ Parker  25:56  
It also sounds like you took a little bit of

Unknown Speaker  26:03  

JJ Parker  26:06  
or sounds like you took a little bit control over, like, what inputs are feeding you, right, or I did to make sure you're in control, and you're being intentional about the kind of energy you want.

Melissa Albers  26:19  
For I mean, to the point where if there were conversations that were not what I felt were helpful, or would keep that objectivity or keep that sort of ballast, I exited out of them. I just would not go down the path of creating more fear or creating more anger, or creating more judgment. Because other people around me were in that spin. I just wasn't, I just didn't, didn't go, I just go. And normally I would have always gone because I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be like a pizza, everybody would like me. And I just realized that my own. My own centeredness was the most important thing because it allowed me to be more helpful in everything for myself and for other people. And I just thought that was a great, you know, and just thinking back like, I'm very grateful for that experience.

JJ Parker  27:14  
Protecting your own energy.

Melissa Albers  27:17  
Yes, right. I think we should do a podcast. Oh, nevermind. We did.

JJ Parker  27:21  
Oh, we did a podcast was a good one. We should go, we should go re listen to that. We

Melissa Albers  27:28  
should listen to that again.

JJ Parker  27:32  
But I, if if 2020 gave us anything in the spirit of self awareness, it gave us a whole bunch of opportunities to practice.

Melissa Albers  27:44  
Yeah. And a lot of time at home where you can be quiet and really, really practice.

JJ Parker  27:51  
Really practice noticing those triggers an entire batch

Melissa Albers  27:55  
of chocolate chip cookies.

Unknown Speaker  27:59  
Well, I'm glad we made it.

Melissa Albers  28:01  
Me too. Cheers. Cheers. To the close of the year,

JJ Parker  28:06  
closer 2020. And looking forward to whatever 2021 breaks. Maybe another gift that 2020 gave us was a little bit of like that. Who knows what's gonna happen? Exactly. Well just roll with it.

Melissa Albers  28:23  
Exactly. We're good right now.

JJ Parker  28:28  
Maybe in hindsight, we will realize that 2020 gave us a little bit more appreciation for the present moment.

Melissa Albers  28:35  
Yes, that's a great, a great parting thought. If you've enjoyed this podcast, check us out on the web at the self awareness journey.com You can also find us on LinkedIn and Facebook

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

Learn more about the topics in this episode

The Art of
Self Awareness Course

Have you ever wished that you could be happier inside more of the time? Does your productivity take a hit when your mood dips? Do you wish you would just do better but don’t know how?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, this course is for YOU.

Join The Self Awareness Journey to learn how feelings, when explored, inform us of our thoughts which ultimately cause our actions. When things don’t go as planned we often blame outside circumstances, people or timing. But most of us are unaware of our core feelings so we are never quite able to manifest our true desires.

Intrigued but want to know a little more?

Drop your contact information below and we'll keep you updated with our latest tips for increased self-awareness.