The True Change Starts With Me. What Did I Learn in 2020?

February 16, 2021 by Ajda Turk

»I don't like to use the word “back”. The world has changed, the CEF has changed, I have changed.«

These were my words after one year of absence from work. We all learned so much in the past year. And when speaking about 2020, people usually start talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and how much it has affected our lives. But I don’t want to write about it from that angle. Many of us went through also personal transformations – be it affected by the pandemic or something else. Some became parents, some went through serious health treatments, experienced earthquakes, lost their loved ones, lost their jobs, or just thought through personal values and questioned their priorities in life. All these experiences can give momentum to move forward or backward. I share a few of my 2020 takeaways. 

Photo: Quote-fancy

There is a lot of literature on organizational change but I’d rather focus on personal change, as I am confident that it affects also organizational one. And while before we just spoke about change as such, now, after this year of transformation, we have started to put humans and ourselves in the center of change. This idea is not my own. It could be found in many readings and heard in different interviews and discussions in 2020 and even before. Companies and organizations have started to realize even more how important it is to put people (employees and external partners) first, if we want to bring an added value to our products and services, and at the end perform better (be it in financial results, people’s satisfaction, or better reform programs). This view is not new. We just needed a push to become more aware of it. 

Awareness does the magic! Without it, we can take only little steps. We all knew (knowledge) that digitalization needs to be adopted in our school systems and public services, that we need to invest in smart economies, etc. But only after the outbreak of the pandemic, we realized (experience) and become aware (imagination) that we do need it more than ever. People often say that they changed their values after going through a serious disease or loss, and (unfortunately) it is true. These happenings make us aware of what is meaningful in life, what is needed and what not. 
In that sense, we need to learn how to let go of the past and have a growth mindset. The mindset that works for us, not against us. Do I pay attention to how I perceive a challenge (not a problem)? Do I search for solutions with an optimistic attitude? What can I learn from the given circumstance – first about myself and my (false) believes, and then about others and the environment I am working and living in? These are often my guiding questions.

Photo: AZ quotes

As we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of information, ideas, thoughts, products, and services, we need to learn how to pick the right ones for us. It is time for mindful learning, being open-minded and knowing when to say no. We should invest our time into training and networking where we see an added value, not just any. Don’t take every idea that comes by and sounds great. Or read any book that someone suggests to you. Test a new app but stop using it when you see that it doesn’t work for you. 

We need to be mindful to get out of the fog that we might experience at work or in personal life. We need to be able to rethink who we work with, how we prioritize our daily tasks, and above all how we treat ourselves. Do we neglect our emotions and feelings? Anxiety, stress? How much are we aware that we need dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin in our bloodstream to be creative, intuitive, goal-oriented, able to trust, and just feel confident? Also, good nutrition and sleep are essential. It is so important to be in balance and consider all aspects of life – us (soulset, mindset, healthset and heartset – read more here) and our environment (family, friends, work, hobbies). 

For me, 2020 was a year of personal transformation. I learned so much about myself and others, realizing how important it is to be mindful of what is going on in myself first, especially the body, mind, and emotions. Because only through acknowledging and accepting it as it is, the true change can happen first in me and then on the outside – home, work and the rest of the ecosystems that I am part of. 





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