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2020 Reflections – Gratitude in the midst of Uncertainty

Early this week, I sat down to reflect on how things have played out in 2020. I won’t go into how the year didn’t turn out as expected because we all know the details. What struck me, however, is the fact that 2020 was a year of growth and love for me and these were not things I was intentional about when the year started.

For three years now, I’ve stopped writing new year resolutions or creating vision boards. I was simply tired of having the same thing on my list year after year; “Buy a car, get married, earn six-figure income” and so on. It was depressing to get to the end of the year without achieving 10% of those goals. So in 2017, I decided to try something different. I was determined to pursue only the things God laid in my heart to pursue. I tore down the vision board from my wall and I was eager to begin what I now refer to as an adventure with God.

I, therefore, did not have any grand plans as I entered into 2020. I knew I was transitioning to the public sector in terms of my career but I really did not have the full details of what that entailed. I started the year pursuing an internship at one of Nigeria’s leading Think Tank Advocacy groups. I was surprised when three weeks into the internship I was asked to take up the role of Interim Team Lead in the department I had been placed in. Of course with this higher title came a higher responsibility but I was up for it. After all, I was there to learn.

When the lockdown happened as a result of the pandemic, I found myself working on a very interesting COVID-19 initiative called Project Ark. It was unplanned but I worked night and day to ensure the media and communications for the initiative was excellent, both to document the work that was being done and also to attract more sponsors. In the end, we were able to distribute 8000 food packs and 23,000 cooked meals to vulnerable families and individuals within and outside Lagos. While doing this, I also launched a capacity building platform for communications professionals. That community has over 450 professionals from across Africa and beyond today.

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By the beginning of August, I had stopped working and I prepared to officially begin a Masters in Communications degree at IE Business School. In the middle of all of this, I decided to write a book that chronicles the backstories of my journey as a communications professional. That book, From Clueless to Success, was released recently.

Why am I telling you all of this? This is it – I’d like you to know that 2020 may not have turned out as you had expected but if you look around, there are things to be grateful. I did not have plans of starting a professional community or even writing a book at the beginning of the year, but here I am – I have somehow been able to impact lives around me just by saying, “Why not?”

I guess the most significant thing 2020 has done for me is to open my heart to love – not just love in terms of relationships but love for humanity as a whole. You see, you and I are not so different. I realised as the pandemic further shrunk the world that we are all looking for something to believe in. We hope for a better tomorrow, we dream of glorious days ahead and we are united in our pursuit of more – bigger, better, greater. For the majority of us, 2020 has been the year of survival. The year of immense gratitude for even the things you consider to be little and things you may have previously thought to be mundane – the air you breathe, the colour of the sky, the bright smile of your neighbour’s face.

I encourage you to look at 2020 as a blessing – an awakening of some sort. We have one month to go. Make it count. There’s no point ending the year with regrets. Look around you and find someone to extend love to. Be kind to that stranger you walk past and often ignore every day. Most importantly, be deliberate about creating beautiful memories with those you truly care about.

About Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi is the Chief Communications Consultant at The Comms Avenue, a capacity building and knowledge exchange platform for leading and innovative communications professionals across the world. The Comms Avenue offers high-level knowledge sharing meetings and training programs for communications professionals and corporate organizations. She is the author of the book, From Clueless to Success – a collection of 20 backstories from her journey as a communications professional.

Adedoyin has successfully executed projects for the W Community, Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Leading Ladies Africa, Heritage Bank, African Philanthropy Forum amongst others. She has been profiled on She Leads Africa, Leadership Newspaper and Lionesses of Africa. She was also featured as one of The Spark’s Visionary Women in 2019.

Instagram – @adedoyinjaiyesimi

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