At the end of a year, many organizations reflect on their work and their accomplishments. Some publish annual reports filled with tables, graphs, and stories describing their impact. They go into the new year excited to use new insights to do bigger and better things.   

But 2020 brought lessons that went deeper than the projects we worked on and our accomplishments.  Amid the chaos, challenges, and grief of 2020, a lot of personal and professional growth happened. 2020 has taught us about ourselves, our relationships, our passions, and our values. Even though we are happy 2020 is behind us, we do not want to lose sight of the lessons the year offered.  

We asked a few FMPers to reflect on a lesson they ‘learned’ in 2020.

Jessica McCrerey

Live in the moment. Be present.

 “The year 2020 has taught me to be really intentional about finding the bright spots among all the uncertainty and continuing to acknowledge life’s special moments. Being present (even if it’s behind a screen) to celebrate the successes and milestones – both big and small – of family and friends truly does matter.”  – Jessica McCrerey

Empathy and kindness still matter.

“In 2020, I relearned the importance of being kind to myself. 2020 was hard in so many ways and it is important that we give ourselves (and others) a break sometimes.  Being kind with myself is the first step to being empathetic with my colleagues.” – Carolyn Kurowski

Awareness is an essential element of a healthy diverse community.

“2020 was definitely a year of awareness.  The increased significance of community has been magnified for me during 2020.  My compliance with the suggested safety measures impacted not only my immediate love ones but the broader members of the human family regardless of ethnic differences.  For many years America has been called a “melting pot” society.  2020 gave us the opportunity to collectively pause and wonder if the pot has indeed melted.  Nonetheless, I remain very optimistic that the sense of community and interconnectedness that was so often in open display during 2020 will remain a cornerstone in our country!”  
– Montrese Williamson

Communication is key, now more than ever!

“As we adjusted to fully remote work environments and figured out how we work best, it became essential that we regularly communicate with team members about what we could and could not handle. We also had to be willing to dig a little deeper and learn how our colleagues really were doing.  We couldn’t read body language and facial expressions to determine how a person was.  We had to genuinely ask and listen. During the pandemic, we have been able to have hard and uncomfortable conversations and have come together to support and help one another.” – Tyler Bozeman

Never take things for granted, especially health.

“2020 reminded me the value of life. I am thankful for and cherish each day. I make plans for the future but remember to breathe and appreciate the gift of the present. I also am more appreciative of people. Staying connected was so hard yet vital in 2020.  I also learned to make self-care a priority, not a privilege.”
– Sahr Mbayo

Evaluate what matters to you.

“2020 could have been a year of a lot of things – I learned that I had more control over what it could mean to me and could help craft what it would mean for my loved ones. I chose to make 2020 the start of a personal ‘reset’ that prompted me to re-evaluate the things (I thought) I value most and then execute big changes that have brought me a new kind of joy.” – Angelica Garza

Don’t lose sight of what we’ve gained in 2020.

“If 2020 taught me anything, it was that I would need to be more grateful for what I currently have. It’s easy to get caught up on what we lost, though by doing so we lose sight of what we have gained, like more time with pets at home!” – Joseph Sahili

As we continue to journey through 2021, I hope the lessons we learned in 2020 will stick around for a long time. May we continue to evolve through the challenges and changes that this year will inevitably bring us too. May we continue to take moments to reflect on what we are learning through difficult times.

What lessons did you learn in 2020? Share with us on LinkedIn!


Joy Oguntimein, a Senior Consultant in FMP’s Learning and Development Center of Excellence, is a happiness activator sprinkling compassion and humor wherever she goes. When she isn’t designing fun learning experiences, getting creative with learning innovations, or sharing learning and development best practices, you can find her volunteering with groups providing services to those experiencing homelessness, writing, or trying to solve a crime on TV.

Share Knowledge