A 2020 Recap: What I Learned, What I’m Grateful For & Where We’re Heading Next Year

Jenna Kutcher 

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December 31, 2020


There’s no denying it. Looking back on 2020, we all know this was a hard year filled with a lot more than we ever could’ve predicted or imagined even just a few months ago. But, it’s also been eye-opening in so many ways for me, my family, and my team.

Do you feel that way, too? Like as heavy as it’s been, parts have also felt necessary? It’s like going to the dentist for a root canal… You don’t want to, you hate the process, but afterward, you can see and appreciate the good of it.

This year I’ve been stretched in new ways. I’ve learned more deeply about myself, my biases, my blindspots, my shortcomings, and where I need to lean in more fervently going forward. I’ve found more beauty than ever in simply slowing WAY down and saying “no,” even to temptingly shiny opportunities. And I’ve decided that nothing is more important than protecting my peace… No amount of money, public recognition, or success could ever replace that.

It’s been a hard year. But that doesn’t mean it’s a year I want to forget. In fact, I’ve found myself yearning to capture more of the simple, quiet moments this year than ever before… Cataloguing them in my brain to remember some of the unfancy flashes of joy that 2020 has allowed: bike rides with my family, long weeks spent at the lake, cozy mornings enjoying silly and slow breakfasts with Coco.

This year isn’t a wash, no matter how bad it was. It’s been revealing—that’s for certain—but maybe it’s what we needed in order to collectively wake up. I don’t want to erase the messiness of 2020 or try to fit the challenges it brought into a box. But I do think it’s worth addressing what we’ve learned, what we’re grateful for amid the chaos, and the space we’d like to move into in the coming year. Here’s where I’m at.

What I learned this year

I think more than ever before, 2020 taught me how to ground myself even when things felt chaotic or uncertain. I couldn’t just push through or past the hard stuff. I couldn’t quiet the noise. I had to face it and also seek out ways to connect to my peace through it. I’ve had to continually find peace within the chaos and create routines around self-care to make sure that I am holding space for myself while we’re navigating the unknown. 

I learned how to pivot to speak to what people were experiencing in real-time (including myself). With business, we’ve had to shift and adapt, change and create. In the craziness of navigating changes happening daily,  I learned how to create resources that were imperfect but that met needs as things in our economy and world shifted and changed.

I learned that taking a step back and being still is an action in and of itself. That being still is an active decision and is a necessary one at times. I became a student in so many ways this year and sat quietly in order to learn, question and go. 2020 revealed that I don’t always have to lead through hard times, and that it’s okay to take a backseat, to listen, learn, and watch what I need to experience.

I learned that success isn’t worth my peace, and how to create better boundaries on how my work and life integrate. I defined and re-defined success so many times to make sure that my actions were in alignment with what my core mission is as a wife, mother, and as an entrepreneur. 

I learned the importance of rest and that I’m capable of unplugging. That my health (and my family’s health) is paramount to literally everything else in the world. That we can cherish, protect, and preserve it by slowing down and being more mindful of the habits and routines that fill our days.

What I’m grateful for this year

I am thankful for my family text threads, for voice notes from friends, for team calls that feel like a weekly cocktail hour with girlfriends. I am grateful for the forced slowdown that inspired new adventures like biking and hiking and ample time outside.

I am grateful for Zoom and Facetime and other ways to connect—I mean, can we get a moment of silence for technology and being able to be with loved ones, even if it’s through a screen? What a time to be alive.

2020 has shown me so much that I’m grateful for, both through the difficult and joyful moments. I’m grateful for the lessons learned and the mistakes made this year. While they were painful, they undoubtedly are pushing me to stretch further, explore new ideas, and become a student. I’m grateful for time tucked in the woods with my family, for quarantining with our neighbors, for being just “us three” at the lake for months on end.

I’m grateful for book clubs that encourage me to keep on reading and insightful discussions with people of multiple generations and backgrounds. I’ve had more eye-opening, rich conversations this year than any year I can remember, and I think we have these wild times we’re living in to thank for that.

Where we’re headed in 2021

After all that’s happened this year, all I can count on for certain is that we’re headed into more unknown. I mean, the future has always been uncertain. This year as things changed so quickly, though, we have been reminded time and time again that we are not in control of what happens, but we are in control of how we respond.

We are hopeful to start to attempt to grow our family again in 2021, which brings along fear and anticipation and the unknown of what 2021 will hold. Whew, it’s so hard to plan for the unknown and I think 2020 gave us a crash course to understand that. I am keeping our business plans fluid, hoping we can continue to finetune what we do vs. starting fresh or creating from scratch.

I want to focus on the big needle movers, let the shiny things fall away, and test my creativity on a whole new level. I also want to put the pursuit of peace over everything else. My way of measuring things going into 2021 is: How can we create and make an impact and inspire and share in a way that feels peaceful? How can we simultaneously honor our lives offline?

Above all else, I’m looking forward to a fresh start. While I fully believe each day is an opportunity to begin again, there’s something magical about a new year. I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned this year with me into it and continue to grow and become better right alongside you. Cheers to 2021, and to saying goodbye to one heckuva 2020.

Photo by Indigo Child in Maui 

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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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