Reflections from 2021

MBA CSEA Executive Director Megan Hendricks reflects on lessons learned from 2021 and looking forward to the coming year.

The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus

As we find ourselves in the midst of yet another uncertain time, I'm taking a few moments to reflect on the past year, what we've learned, and what lessons we will carry forward to the coming year.

When we made the difficult and somewhat emotional decisions to postpone our in-person conferences in 2020, the last thing we said to the conference hotels was “See you in 2021!” And then we didn't. Instead, we entered year two of virtual-only events, providing our staff and volunteers with the challenge of engaging a world that was quickly filling with virtual fatigue, but still longing for any opportunity to connect. I'm proud to say we – and our members - rose to the occasion.

With a focus on finding new ways to connect in a more personal way, our events, resource groups, committees and research thrived. Did we have setbacks? Of course. But we persevered, finding new ways of doing things, streamlining our operations, and utilizing talent in different ways.  We came together to express ourselves, vent, and even shed a few tears. And we learned a lot about ourselves, our organization, and our professions in the process.

Key lessons learned to carry forward into 2022:
  • Social time is important. While we want to be as efficient as possible with our time, the value of getting to know one another on a personal level cannot be underestimated. Teams who enjoy each other's company are more productive and successful.
  • Repetition is key. As virtual fatigue and general pandemic-related stress continue, frequent reminders are important to keep information fresh in people's minds and assist with mental fatigue.
  • Pay attention to what brings us joy. This can be as simple as watching a TV show or having a conversation with a friend or colleague, but it should be a priority every day. Otherwise, it's too easy to let the burden of uncertainty and chaos bring us down.
  • Focus on our locus of control. As an organization, and as individuals, we can only control so much. Finding and focusing on what we can control and letting go of everything else minimizes stress and helps create a sense of accomplishment.
  • Embrace the next “normal.” If anything, 2021 has caused us to challenge convention and reshape what normal means, which may be different for each person, organization or team. Discover what works for you, and then find a way to make it work within the environment you're in.
2022 will no doubt bring with it more uncertainty, opportunity, and lessons to be learned. Let's embrace what lies ahead and continue to make the most of our circumstances!