2020: The Year of Even Better Vision

Remember how 2020 started? It was supposed to be “The Year of Perfect Vision.” A hopefully cute play on words.

By March, it seemed like all hopes for the year being anything close to perfect had flown out the window.

But now that it’s wrapping up, maybe 2020 did help us to improve our vision in ways that a “normal” year never could.

The truth is, for leaders, there have been some really amazing things about 2020.

Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned this year.

Even if you’re excited about the start of a brand new, fresh calendar year, these might be some of the things from 2020 you’ll want to keep handy for future use.

The Value of the right people.

Our company, like many in our area, had to close its doors for most of the 2nd quarter of the year. Unfortunately, we had to lay some of our staff off, and reduce the hours of the rest. We worked hard to pivot the service that we offer in order to continue to provide value to our customers virtually during the time that our doors were closed. As a result, we were able to continue to serve the majority of our customers while we were closed.

As I think back to that time, I’m incredibly thankful for the members of our team. So many of them stepped up to share ideas and help our business to shift in response to unexpected changes. They were open to trying new things and following the directions I passed on to them, even though we tried some things we had never done before. There are certain individuals that proved to be indispensable during that time. I know we could not have been successful without them.

Through that challenging time, I saw which members of our team made themselves valuable. When others panicked, froze, or drew away from the work that needed to be done, they stepped forward to do whatever they could to make our team successful.

Moving forward from that time, I left with a new sense of the type of person that I wanted to be on our team: someone who can control their own emotions during difficult times, communicate well, and look out for the interests of our clients and the reputation of our company.

I keep those qualities in mind now as I interview and train in new members of our staff. And will make sure those who stepped up last Spring have a place in the future plans for our team.

Having learned those lessons when it comes to other members of our team, I am also reminded of the type of teammate I want to be. Someone who shows those same qualities. Someone who is resilient in the face of challenges. And someone who the rest of our team can count on no matter what. I want to be someone who is indispensable, not because of my title, but because of the work I do and the effort I put forth.

What lessons did you learn about your team and yourself this year?

Time to yourself

When life first shifted due to the non-essential businesses in our community being shut down, I remember an initial feeling of not being sure how to use my “extra” time.

And ever since, our weekend and evening social life has been pretty much well… nothing.

More time.

And I had this strange feeling of not wanting to fill that extra time, since no one knew when “normal” life switch would get flipped back on.

After a few weeks of my life missing its normal around the clock demands, I got busy blocking out my “new” schedule. Making sure I kept what I could to myself, especially early in the day.

It’s no secret that the greatest leaders protect their privacy and time to themselves. They have very little “free time” because they use the time they have purposely.

This year taught me to do a better job of doing that myself. I learned to take advantage of opportunities to have time to read, reflect, journal, exercise, plan, and create. I’ve found my morning routine, in particular, has been evolving, which has helped me to have a set time each morning for extra reading, meditation, and better nutrition.

What healthy habits have you started this year?

Hang on to your values and mission

I think you’ll agree, this year we’ve learned how much things can change without any notice. When that happened, this question faced us all: “What next?”

We all had to determine how we would respond, as individuals and as companies.

What helps us to figure out what the next steps should be? A clear mission based on our values.

I’m sure you know of individuals or businesses that didn’t have those clearly defined. This year, they were the ones that seemed to have one catastrophe after another or floundered as they tried to continue to operate as they always had.

Those who had a clear mission and clung to their values were able to be flexible and adapt when the world changed.

A mission and values aren’t just for companies.

As individuals, leaders need a clear personal mission and a good grasp on their personal values.

And they need to provide their team with the opportunity to accept a company or department mission statement and core values.

As managers, our work in those areas will probably never be done. And if you feel like you’re a bit behind in establishing those tools, now is the best time to get started at developing them.

Do you have clearly defined values and a mission statement for both yourself and your team?

Check out the self-coaching exercise at the end of this post for help in designing your own mission statement.

The bottom line.

Sure, 2020 was surprisingly challenging.

Maybe 2020 wasn’t the year of “perfect vision.” But it was definitely a year for even better vision.

For leaders and Superhero Managers, it taught us powerful lessons we’ll hopefully never forget. For me, those lessons were the value of having the right people on my team and working hard to make myself indispensable, the importance of making sure I schedule enough time to take care of myself so I can take better care of others, and the need to have a clear mission and core values both for myself as an individual and for my team.

What great lessons did you learn this year? Please share in a reply below.

If you’re ready to take your self-coaching to the next level, check out my newest product for managers here: manager.yourevenbetter.com/coach

Set aside some private time to write-out your responses to the exercise below. Turn off your phone and computer notifications or put your devices away completely. Find a place where you can spend a few minutes without being interrupted.

Creating your personal mission statement.

A clear mission statement announces what purposeful action you are taking in your life/company. It can be precise or general in scope. To be most effective, it should be concise and use wording that explains the action(s) that come from your most important values.

Fill in the blanks of the outline below and then rework the wording to better meet your needs. The higher you aim with your mission statement, the better.

I have been chosen by ______________________________________________ [i.e. the marketing department, my supervisor, my deepest self, the creator, etc.]

to ________________________________________________ [to give what service to the rest of the world?]

for _______________________________________________ [who is this for/who do you desire to help through your leadership]

in order to ____________________________________________________________ [what is/are the most important way(s) you serve others].

Find ways to display your mission statement and review it daily. Notice how focusing on it impacts your decision-making and day-to-day actions.


Nate Sleger is a career manager, management coach, and author of The Manager’s Self-Coaching Guide. His course Show Up At Work Like A Superhero has been taken by hundreds of managers worldwide. He currently lives and works in Wisconsin, USA.

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