This year seemed to go very slowly until about 4 weeks ago. Since then it has been running very fast. I have been inundated with new business and enquiries for business mentoring in the new year. Many business people have realised they may need assistance to make 2021 a better year. There is a growing sense of optimism about the opportunities available to business into 2021.
We started this year with a sense of the new decade of the 2020’s and we close with a renewed surge of optimism. In between, we all had quite a ride in 2020. We are very fortunate to live in Australia with a government that was in a position to support people in a massive way. Also, to be here on an island at the ends of the earth has been fortuitous for managing the pandemic and creating a relatively safe haven.
As most of you know, my wife Jo and I have both had a challenging year health wise. I was diagnosed with a nasty cancerous growth in my bladder last year. Surgery in February removed the tumour and my 6 month check-up in September gave me an all clear. Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and had several lumps removed in April, chemo therapy from May till September, and then a double mastectomy and reconstruction in October. She is recovering well and has taken 3 months leave from her business to make sure that happens. Jo has no sign of cancer in her body now and we are so grateful to amazing surgeons who have provided us with the best care in the world. We are very grateful to God for a slower year, all business done from home via zoom and hardly any travel from March till July.
Fortunately, for both of us, our businesses have been solid in this Covid year. We have managed to survive the lockdown and then grow since July. Jo’s team have done very well operating her business in her absence. I guess that is when you know you have a business, if it can survive without you for 3 months or more.
We are very grateful for amazing clients, great referral partners, and amazing colleagues who have stepped up and helped out at times when we were out of action. We are also very grateful for incredible support from neighbours, clients, our church connect group, as well as friends and family. We did not realise we had so many caring people in our lives. We literally could not keep up with all the food that was being delivered to our house at one stage. There are so many very kind people in our world.
The other word that resonates with me as I reflect on this year is CONTENTMENT.
I have never been so content with life. It has been a challenging year, but at every point there has been more than enough of everything we needed to get through. We recently made an addition to our family and his name is Smudge. A little Cavoodle puppy. He is now 16 weeks old. He is such a delight. So affectionate, intelligent and fun. Smudge has added something to my heart that is similar to having a child. The last child I helped bring into the world was over 30 years ago. This little fellow has helped me to just be. Sitting on the lounge playing fetch with a toy at 5:00am after his morning toilet routine has been a delight. Taking him for walks and working with him at my feet is somehow soothing. If you do not have a dog or a pet, this may seem foreign to you. It would have been to me before this year.
I am grateful and I am content as we end this year that has been so disrupted for so many. We have more than survived. We have thrived. We are blessed. I learned a long time ago that one source of blessing is the joy of giving to others. God has been very good to us. Our church has a HUGE care program into our local community and into over 20 nations of the earth. It is our privilege to be able to give significant amounts of money from our businesses that supports women who have been displaced from home due to violence. We help fund 4 homes in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and India to rescue girls from sexual slavery. We help build houses for widows in Burundi. We help dig wells in Cambodia for villages that have no running water. And so much more.
If you have been blessed in 2020, or even if you have had a tough year, I encourage you to do something for others less fortunate than yourself this Christmas.
Wherever you are in the world, and whatever is going on in your life, your business and your heart right now, I want to wish you a Christmas filled with hope and joy.
May you take time to reflect and process the year that has gone. Enjoy a break and rest. And get ready for what I believe will be a very good year of opportunity in 2021
Much love this Christmas from our house to yours
John and Jo (and Smudge)