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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 7, 202105:20 AM EST

Make 2021 a better year with lessons learned

It’s important to count your blessings and plan for the future.
Amber Donley

By Amber Donley • Donley Law Firm

As we turn the page from 2020 and begin the new year, I suspect people will be quick to come up with a new year’s resolution, develop a strategic plan or create a vision board in anticipation of all the things they hope to accomplish.

However, after experiencing a year like 2020, I think there are a few important lessons to keep in mind as you write your vision or goals for 2021.

Be nimble 

In 2020, our lives were shaken to the core. We learned how powerless we are in the grand scheme of things.

Even with that realization, it is imperative to be thoughtful in setting goals you wish to accomplish, both personally and in your career. If we do not have a road map or things to look forward to, life can seem like we are roaming aimlessly.

The caveat when doing so is to be nimble. Things may not always go according to plan, so be able to “pivot” when necessary. Things happen in life that are beyond our control, but what we can control is how we respond.

Just think: Before 2020, who knew about Zoom or that we could conduct court proceedings and mediations using it? 

Be of service 

We all were impacted by events in 2020 in one way or another, but if you are reading this article, you made it to the other side.

That is a blessing in itself.

When we are experiencing challenges in our lives, it is easy and understandable to become consumed with our own issues. But in 2021, I want to challenge you to consider those who do not have the resources or access you may have.

Consider how you can better serve others who may have a greater need. Think about ways to contribute your time, money or talent for the sake of helping others. 

It is amazing how focusing on the needs of others can help you overcome your issues or to help you be in a better position to handle them with ease.

There is such a great need around us and if we slow down long enough, we will clearly see opportunities to make a difference and to be the difference in the lives of others.

Be willing to grow 

During 2020, we were pushed out of our comfort zones. The year shed a light on areas of complacency, areas of weakness and areas of vulnerability.

Without exposing areas that require improvement, we may miss opportunities for growth.

I recommend you take the time to reflect on things that you did well in 2020 both personally and in your career. Then reflect on things that you did not do very well.

For those things you did well, pat yourself on the back. It is important to celebrate your accomplishments. For things that you did not do well, think about what you learned from those experiences. How can you use those experiences to make you stronger, wiser and better?

Realize that as long as you are on planet Earth, there is work for you to do to improve yourself and the lives of those around you. In 2021, commit to being the change you want to see. Commit to leaving things better than you found them. Commit to being the best you can possibly be. 

Amber Donley is the owner of Donley Law Firm, focusing on family law, probate, guardianship and estate planning.

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