Gratitude for 2020

Steve August
December 22, 2020
5 Rules for Rocket Ships
Bigger Game Mindset

As we enter the final weeks of 2020, I’d like to express gratitude for this year. I’m sure this sounds crazy.

The loss of life from the pandemic has been hugely tragic and will continue to be so for the next few months until the vaccines are able to stem the tide.

Businesses and workers have suffered through a global economy locking down almost entirely in the spring, trying to re-open in fits and starts through the summer, only to face another surge as fall turned to winter.

At the same time, the world has witnessed horrific moments of social injustice and resulting unrest, wild fires that choked cities and reduced towns to ashes, and a relentlessly partisan election season that somehow still hasn’t fully resolved itself.

So given all this carnage, why on earth would I express gratitude for the past 12 months?

We’ve been constrained in ways that we haven’t been in generations. The last time the entire world was gripped by something on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic may have been the Great Depression and World War II.

We’ve been forced out of our patterns. We’ve had to stay home. We’ve had business stop entirely for two months. We haven’t been able to attend conferences. We’ve had to make hard decisions.

And while I do not minimize the pain, I’d like to point out some of the things that I’ve experienced and seen from my clients:

  • Incredible feats of resilience, pivoting and adaptation.
  • A level of focus that has actually put companies in a better long term position than they were pre-pandemic.
  • Chronically cash flow poor companies end up profitable and mastering their cash.
  • Without the crutch of travel and conferences, founders building systematic customer flywheels.
  • Founders who have transformed and elevated to the point they are almost scared by how high they have learned to fly.

When I think back on this year, it calls to mind the very last meditation in my e-book 33 Meditations for Seed Founders. It’s based on this quote from T.S. Eliot:

“If you aren’t in over your head, how will you know how tall you are?”

This year, I think we’ve all been in over our heads. We’ve all been learning exactly how tall we are.

And for that, I am grateful to 2020.

Until next time,


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