As we approach the end of 2020, I’m sure many of us hoped that we’d be through the worst of the COVID crisis. Unfortunately, while there has been some positive news regarding vaccines, we head into 2021 looking at several more months of uncertainty.
However, I’d rather not sign off this year on a glum note. For all the difficulties we have encountered, there have been many positives. We’ve seen communities band together to ensure the most vulnerable are cared for during difficult times. I dare say that many of us have a newfound appreciation for the arts and entertainment industries that have made lockdowns and furlough a little more bearable.
We can’t forget the keyworkers of the world—whether they’re the doctors, nurses and scientists that have been at the frontline of combatting this virus, or the couriers and warehouse workers that have kept the country ticking over during 2020. Each and every one of these individuals deserve our gratitude and respect, especially those who work in often thankless jobs. While ‘Clap for Carers’ demonstrated appreciation for those in health and social care, it’s fair to say that others have gone unnoticed.
We should applaud the determination of people like Marcus Rashford who used his profile to raise awareness of the plight of far-too-many children who go hungry, even when COVID is not a concern. Captain Tom’s work raised funds for our often stretched NHS. These simple acts of generosity and kindess show that we all have the potential to come together when it counts, and to make the smallest difference in somebody else’s life.
Professionally, many of us may have struggled. Businesses faced uncertain futures, and it’s disappointing to hear of the collapse of several high-street mainstays over 2020. However, we’ve also seen positive moves from other businesses transitioning to working remotely, learning new ways to adapt to change, and go the extra length to secure the futures of their business and their people. While it will be scant comfort to those who are facing difficult times in the new year, those businesses that have taken the lead in adapting to the ‘new normal’ have demonstrated incredible ingenuity and a firm resolve to comeback stronger than ever.
For me, while I certainly did not welcome the circumstances, I’ve enjoyed the challenges of continuing to offer training in this environment. I’m thankful for the clients that have entrusted me to deliver coaching programmes remotely, and the effort of hundreds of people to ensure their success.
Like so many of you, I have been separated from friends and family; missed moments with my grandchildren, or attending the Open with my sons as we have for so many years’ past. Ordinarily, at this time of year, I’d be looking forward to the annual Christmas dinner with my family. That’s not on the cards, sadly, as new lockdown restrictions mean that like many families, we will be separated at this time of year.
Still, the difficulties of 2020 have allowed me to develop my skills, and apply them in a new, sometimes frustrating, but often exciting way. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with so many people across various industries this year. While I miss the dynamics and energy of live coaching, engaging with people through Zoom and Teams has proven an excellent experience overall—one which I hope to continue to offer long after COVID-19 is not a daily news item.
I’ve also used this as an opportunity to gain greater insights into what my clients want. We have adapted more and more of our learning materials to better equip remote teams with vital skills. This year, we launched our E-Learning Portal, allowing both business customers and personal customers to develop new skills in a way that works for them. Moving forward, we hope to be able to offer more value to our clients so that we can continue to serve all of your needs, no matter what challenges may lie ahead.
I thank you for your trust and support to all of those that have shared in this journey over the past year. Here’s wishing for a more positive 2021, and a chance to take what we’ve learned from this year, and use it to drive us forward to greater successes in the future.