Let's face it, it has been a long road for all of us since the first lockdowns in March 2020. It can be discouraging to look around now, almost two years later, and see Omicron infections and supply chain issues taking us back to the uncertainty and anxiety of the early days of the pandemic. Many have lost loved ones, suffer long term health impacts from a COVID infection, or have seen their business or professional landscape fundamentally changed. No question, it is hard.
But we believe there is reason for hope. We believe we all learned how to do things during the pandemic that we didn't have mastery of before, things that will get us through this next wave and see us stronger and better on the other side.
And we know we can’t settle for waiting for the world to make sense. People still have problems that need solutions, disputes that need to be resolved, and plans they need to make for themselves and their families. People still need to know they matter, and that they are a priority for the professionals to whom they have given their trust.
We also know, almost two years in, that we didn't wait for the world to make sense, and probably you didn't either. Since the beginning of the lockdown in mid-March, 2020, we have learned how to connect with each other and with our clients in an ever-changing landscape. We have learned how to evaluate and adjust at a much more rapid rate. In that time, we have completed and resolved estate planning, employment and business matters for over 400 individuals, families and small businesses.
Forget the "New Normal"
That's why, as we welcome 2022 and whatever it has to bring, we are not satisfied with this idea of a "new normal." There are various definitions of "new normal" across the internet:
Simply adopting a new "standard," "typical" or "expected" does not seem to capture the true essence of what we all have just been through. Sure, maybe we will be wearing masks and getting vaccine boosters for a while. I personally don't intend to give up online grocery shopping anytime soon.
But it is much more than that. Remember when we couldn't always find the food we wanted? So we learned how to cook different things. When there seemed to be no commercial yeast anywhere on the planet? So we all learned to make and maintain sourdough starter. Or that your parents who could barely operate the internet before are now zooming with your children?
What we all really learned is how to adapt and adjust. Those are lessons that will stop adding value after a while if we are just stepping onto a new plateau, a changed but still static landscape of a "new normal."
Meet the New Exceptional
A "new exceptional" will look different for different people, but will include holding onto the inventiveness that got us through the last two years as well as the concrete skills we have picked up along the way.
For our team, this what I believe it looks like:
The challenges will be different in 2022, probably, but there will still be challenges. We are stronger and better able to address those challenges than we were two years ago. I believe we will be yet stronger and better in 2023, if we maintain the mindset that got us here so far. And I know we will be here for you throughout, always looking for the path to exceptional.
In Closing, a Personal Note
This post would not be complete if I didn't share what I believe the "new exceptional" means to me. As for most people I know, life has continued to happen during the pandemic. That means there are losses we have to grieve, fears we have to face, and all of the things we have to deal with as caring humans existing with other humans. Those all would have happened anyway, but the overlap with a global pandemic has been something I think we all struggle with at times.
The past two years for me have these takeaways:
One, they have rekindled an innovative spirit I do not want to lose. I feel empowered that when there is a cream cheese shortage, I can figure out how to make it myself. It's not the cream cheese that matters- there are other examples perhaps more relevant to my law practice- but the belief that there is always a way around an obstacle.
Tw0, the pandemic, and life happening, has forced a deeper reflection on what is important to me, and what values I want myself and my firm to operate by. I plan to continue to operate with a spirit of optimism, generosity, persistence, and curiosity, and to use those principles to guide how I show up in my personal life and in our decision-making within my team and our services to you. And I plan to hold onto the faith that if the last two years haven't beaten those out of me, whatever the future holds can't either.
Wishing everyone reading this (and everyone else too) an exceptional 2022...
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