#110: Big Lessons From 2020 

Summary: On this last episode of 2020, we reflect on everything that has happened and we talk about the 10 lessons that have been learned and how to implement them in 2021. 

John (Intro): 

I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I'm your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader

John: 

All right, welcome to today's episode of Tomorrow's Leader, where we dive deep into all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I'm John Laurito, your host on a very special day. It is December 31st, 2020. We are hours away from capping off by far the craziest year we have all had in our entire lives and hopefully the craziest year we will ever have in our entire lives. Nevertheless, and I hope this podcast reaches you healthy and happy and now into your 2021 year. But I wanted to reflect back on 2020 because there definitely were some key takeaways. I know myself. Now, some of you may look at 2020 as a bad year, a horrible year, an OK year. For me, it turned out to be a great year. There were certainly some downs, but there were a lot of ups. But most importantly I want to share with you, what are the key learnings? I had 10 very specific and very big takeaways from 2020 that I would love to share with you and I will be taking these in 2021 and beyond that will reframe my thinking and change the way I do things, hopefully, change the way that I impact other people as well. So without any further ado, let's go through these. 

John: 

These are the top ten learnings that I've had from 2020. Number one. Now, this comes from my own experiences, as well as working with countless other business owners and leaders across all different industries, categorically and definitively, the leaders and the people, the individuals in 2020 that pivoted quickly and pivoted and changed something about their life, about their business, about the way they do things were generally the people that fared better, that did better overall in 2020, whether it was business, relationship, financial or whatever it was, health-wise, the people that changed something were typically the people that were better off. And if you think about this one ingredient for growth, we need some kind of action. So movement tends to generate the direction that we want to ultimately get to and grow. Some of those decisions and actions we took might have been the wrong ones. But if we do nothing, generally speaking, the people that did nothing on average were the ones that ultimately did not do as well. 

John:

So the first lesson is when you're in a situation my take away when you're in a situation like this and it's cloudy, you don't know necessarily what the future holds. Don't stand still, but still lurch forward. And if you don't know where to go, just throw a rock and go where that lands. Just take a step and take an action toward your goals. That's the first number one, take away. Second. What's fascinating to me is I look around and I walk through life and experience this year. It's come to my attention and it's really clear that people generally adapt to change, massive change, a lot faster and a lot better than I think I ever would have thought. And if we think about what the norm is now, at this point, we're walking around and everybody's got face masks on. We've learned to do things differently. We've learned to live our lives differently. We've learned to do business differently. And for the most part, it was a relatively it was an abrupt change and it was a relatively quick adaptation to that change and an adjustment to a new set of norms. So the second learning to take away as we all tend to adjust to change faster than we give ourselves credit for. That's number 2, second observation. 

John: 

Third, it doesn't matter how many people you're leading or how many people you want to lead or how big your organization is or your business or whatnot, the most important person that you're leading is yourself. If you are not good at leading yourself, you will never be ultra-effective at leading other people. So it starts with that. And this year for sure has been a year to lead yourself. It's been challenging to lead yourself, to do the things that you know you want to do or you have to do or whatnot. Some of us all gotten in a funk. We've been in a bad place at different periods of this year. So leading yourself has been by far the most important ingredient to success as a leader. So that's number three. There's no one more important to leading than leading yourself. 

John: 

Lesson number four, the days of the know-it-all leader in that person being the person that people go to or look to or are influenced by. Our days are long gone, today's leaders are authentic. To me, that's probably one of the most important traits of a leader is authenticity. And you've seen that this year people gravitate toward people that don't necessarily have all the answers because in this day and age, you don't have all the answers to what's going to happen in the future. But there are people that they can relate to, people that they trust, people that they see are vulnerable. And that comes only from authenticity, not putting up this facade about somebody is we're trying to be or a leader that we're trying to be, that that is different than truly who we are. Authenticity is absolutely critical and it's a critical ingredient for tomorrow's leaders. So that's lesson number four. Lesson number five. 

John: 

And we've seen this, without a doubt, be so important, especially in the early phases when we went into COVID, how important communication among the team or an organization is. And when that communication starts to break down and there's less communication, there's more turmoil, there's more insecurity, there's more instability, there's lack of trust. There's a lack of motion. People stop doing what they're doing. Ultimately, communication is the glue that holds everything together. The biggest lesson that I had, and I don't care whether it's a business or it's a relationship or whatnot, is when you communicate that ultimately and if you

overcommunicate, that's going to pave the way for success. It's going to help that organization or those people work through problems. It's going to help bring that trust together. It's going to help bring that team together. 

John: 

And the best leaders I've seen during this period of time, even during that time, not only even most importantly, during the times when there was the highest amount of uncertainty, the best leaders that I saw were the ones that were hopping on Zoom calls or phone calls with their team to talk through things and share the vision and talk through the obstacles and the challenges and have everybody have and feel a sense of community. The best leaders that I've seen during this year, 2020 this past year, we're the ones that quadrupled their communication. They were looking for ways that they can touch the people in their organization beyond the ways that they used to, that they might not have the stop by their desk or their office and say hello. That's obviously not possible for most of this year. So the best leaders have looked at other ways to make sure that they can increase above and beyond the level of communication they even had before covid. So there's the communication piece that is absolutely key. So that's lesson number five. 

John: 

Lesson number six. Do what makes you happy. What's interesting is I've seen so many people and I've worked with so many people and leaders and individuals that have coats that are looking at making big decisions in their life, and they tend to make those decisions, especially when it comes to career decisions or promotions or taking new opportunities. They tend to start that decision with the financial piece and they start to say, OK, well, you know, if I do this, this will mean more income to me and that will make me happy and that will ultimately solve some of the problems that I have. And in reality, over the short term, that can be the case and it can even be the case for a decent amount of time, but ultimately, if you're not doing what is and making you happy, then you ultimately it doesn't matter about the money. And I've shared with you my personal story. When you do the things that make you happy and you're really, truly passionate about the money ultimately follows. And it's amazing how that happens. So you have to do the things that make you happy. And ultimately, that's those are the things that that that drive you to help other people be happy as a leader and ultimately reach their potential. 

John: 

I shared with you on one of the prior episodes Jim Carrey's dad and the quote that Jim Carrey has, which I don't have in front of me right now. But it's basically his father was an accountant and he credits his father, his name is Percy Carey, for being the funniest human being he's ever seen on the planet. And many people corroborate with that and say, yeah, this guy was just unbelievable. He was just off the charts. Funny, even funnier than Jim, who's made his career as a comedian. And his father probably could have done the same, if not better, but just never wanted to step out of the comfort in the security that his job offered in his job was he was an accountant. Well, his father ended up getting fired, ultimately lost his job, and the family struggled for a long period of time. And Jim's quote was, "You could fail doing something that doesn't make you happy. So why not take a chance on something that doesn't make you happy?" And it's such a great quote. If you want to Google and look

up the story, it's a fascinating story. But the bottom line is when you do what makes you happy? It's easier to wake up in the morning. You feel energized, you wake up Sunday, you enjoy Sunday because Monday is not dreadful, because you're going to something you hate. Ultimately, that's what life is all about. So that's number six. 

John: 

Number seven, key lesson for 2020. The people that I think will reflect back on 2020 as being a great year for them were people that grew as a result of 2020. And it doesn't take a lot to grow. But I've talked about and also other podcasts about how eight-players in organizations, why they leave their organizations and there are three reasons why they leave, and one is because they're not growing. Secondly, is they're not making a big impact or the impact that they feel they can make. And the third is that they don't feel valued or recognized or appreciated the way that they should. But that growth thing is critical. So think about yourself as that eight-player. If you're not growing, it doesn't have to be a lot, even if it's one percent every single week. If you're not growing, ultimately, you're withering away and dying, so there has to be some kind of growth that takes an investment in yourself, whether it's growing mentally, spiritually, physically, relationship-wise, health-wise, financially, career-wise, whatever the case may be, growth comes from investing in yourself to get that growth. So think about 2021. And what are the things that you plan to do and will do and will commit to doing that will lead you to growth? Again, doesn't have to be major growth, but how can you get better one percent every single week? 

John: 

And that's a key lesson for 2020 number eight. It's a big one, too, you can only prepare so much at some point you have to get out there and you got to take a chance. I read a quote a long time ago, and it's kind of a silly quote, but it was just made sense. If you want to learn how to play the tuba, you got to pick up a tuba and play the tuba. Now, I don't want to learn how to play the tuba, but the point was made in my mind. It like etched into my mind. It's like, OK, if you really I tell leaders all the time that are constantly preparing and trying to do things to get better, which is admirable. And you have to. But there's only so many leadership books you can read. At some point, you got to get out there and lead and then become the leader that other people want to read about. That's what I talk about. So ultimately, your biggest growth is going to come from doing. You can't prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare. You're never going to feel totally prepared for the next opportunity or for that business you want to start or for that life change or relationship change or whatever it is that you're looking to make. At some point, you have to do it. And when you do that and you truly take that leap, things start to fall into place. It's unbelievable how things start to line up for you. The path clears and ultimately you can really make huge progress. So that's number eight. 

John: 

Number nine, the core lesson for 2020 is all about stepping outside your comfort zone. This ties in with the previous one, right? Because sometimes we just prepare, prepare, prepare. I had a friend of mine who just went to school for I'm going to say like 20 years. You know, at some point you've got to get out of school and you've got to go do what you're in school for. There's a comfort level with studying versus getting out there maybe and doing it. But you

have to face the fear and do things that make you uncomfortable. My challenge to you, you're listening to this podcast, whatever day of the week it is, do something today that makes you uncomfortable, something today that scares you. I don't care if it's a phone call you make, but it's a conversation you're going to have. If it's calling up a prospect, if it's getting in front of a group of people and speaking whatever it is, something that makes you uncomfortable, do it today. Don't wait till tomorrow and put it on tomorrow's list. Do it today unless you're listening to this at 11:58 at night, then do it tomorrow, but do it in the next twenty-four hours. What happens when you face a fear that even if the facing the fear is an action that doesn't result in the perfect result, it's still a victory because you face the fear. Right? So what's amazing about this is when you face a fear that in of itself is a tiny victory. 

John: 

And when you have tiny victories, people ask me all the time, how do you develop more confidence? And I work with people on that. How you develop it is you get these tiny little victories and you aggregate them over time and it makes you feel like you can accomplish more and more because, hey, I did that before I faced that victory. You know, I face that fear, rather, that was a victory in and of itself. Now I have more courage to face the next one. And what happens is when we face a fear, we get a tiny victory that increases our confidence, and then it's rinse and repeat, do the same thing again. Now step outside your comfort zone again. Do something else that makes you uncomfortable. It's interesting. Some of you may think, OK, if I'm leading an organization of ten people, how would it be to lead an organization of one hundred people? If I was working with a leader that that recently went from leading eight people to leading 250 people overnight, that's a big jump. Right. But ultimately he's prepared for it. He's ready to do it. That may be a step outside the comfort zone, but pretty quickly, that's going to become comfortable, and then it's going to be like, wow, leading 50 or 100 enough that I lead, I lead to fifty and then he'll be ready to lead five hundred, ready to lead a thousand. That's how people grow. Ultimately, they continue to step outside their comfort zone and they push themselves to do that. The people that don't grow, the people that just stay inside their comfort zone, which leads to lesson number ten. 

John: 

My ten, take away for 2020. Don't stay on a path simply because it's what you know. I'll say that again, don't stay on your current path simply because it's convenient, comfortable, and it's what you know, I find so many people in business, they stay in a job because, hey, you 

know what the devil I know is better than the devil. I don't know. Well, you know what? Maybe there's not a devil you don't know on the other side. Maybe it's actually your dream opportunity, but you're never going to know unless you take a chance. I see people that stay in their role for decades. They stay in the same organization. And I'm not preaching. OK, get out there now. Change organization. But what I'm talking about is take the next opportunity, talk to your boss, say, hey, I'm looking for a bigger challenge. Let them put something in front of you. Put yourself in a situation if you're in a rut or in a groove, that's not the groove that you want to be in, in life where you get to step out of it and ultimately give yourself an opportunity to experience what you deserve to experience career-wise, relationship-wise, financially, spiritually, everything health-wise. 

John:

So with that, that's my top 10 list of learnings for 2020. I hope this has been helpful. It has been an unbelievably impactful year for me. And this in and of itself, what I'm doing right now was me stepping outside my comfort zone, doing these podcasts. Wow. When I started was not something I'm comfortable with. I still face fears and doing this stuff and posting on social media. So I appreciate all your support because it keeps me going. Believe me, talking to a camera into a microphone instead of a live audience is not normally been my thing, but it now seems like it's become my thing. But I rely on your feedback to keep me going. I love to get your text, your emails, your comments, and all that kind of stuff. So please, please, please keep them going, keep liking, keep sharing, subscribe and get them below and give that five-star review and let me know your thoughts. All right. Thanks. Congrats on getting through 2020! We made it! Wow! Unreal. And here's to a great 2021. Thanks, everybody. 

John (Closing): 

Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at john@lauritogroup.com Once again, that’s john@lauritogroup.com. Thanks! Lead on!

 

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