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Reflecting on 2020, in All of its Weird and Unpredictable Glory

Reflecting on 2020, by Ryan Hansen

2020. What a year it has been. They called it "challenging," "uncertain," and "unprecedented." No matter your preferred descriptors, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.

2020 certainly changed Alloy in many ways. COVID-19 was a significant challenge for our business, as it was for millions of others. Looking back on it now, with the benefit of hindsight (insert joke about 20/20 vision here), it's refreshing to recall the lessons and successes amidst the obstacles and surprises.

The Things We Figured Out in 2020

Virtual Options are Here to Stay
Looking back, it's kind of funny to remember how many times Jamie and I went back and forth on taking our training to the digital space. In March, we decided to start sharing daily live videos on our Facebook page, to share some tips and insights for our online community - and we actually got pretty comfortable with it by around the time summer rolled around! We followed that up with a virtual leader forum,...

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Protecting Your "New Normal"

Protecting Your "New Normal" by Ryan Hansen

Two months ago, how many of us knew the best spot in our house for a video call? How many of us knew how to share our screens or choose a virtual background? How many of us had ever attended a "virtual happy hour," or even heard of such a thing?

The last few weeks have been unusual, to say the least, and it appears that we're in the early stages of returning to something that resembles business as usual. So as the homeschooling winds down and video calls begin to dwindle, you might consider: Are there any components of this time that I want to continue?

That question might have sounded crazy in March, when everything was unfamiliar territory. Weeks later, though, some of us have started to find a new routine. We've adopted new schedules, picked up new habits, even tried to learn new skills. Surely some of those are worth keeping, right? Let's take a look at some of the common themes from this period of isolation.

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Resources for Leaders During Uncertain Times

Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." After the last few weeks, I suspect we're all starting to feel like Ferdinand Magellan, the Portugese explorer who sailed all the way around the globe in 1519. Perhaps some days you feel more like the famous castaway Robinson Crusoe.

Whether you're feeling like an accomplished mariner or still finding your sea legs, rest easy knowing that you are facing down the same challenges as millions of other leaders around the world. That's really overwhelming, isn't it? Millions of leaders, all trying to solve the same set of problems. I have good news for you: millions of leaders are all trying to solve the same set of problems.

The global scale of our circumstances means that there are global truths in our circumstances. We're all stressed. We're all uncertain. We're all adjusting to new routines. Once again, the good news: when we all face similar problems, we can all...

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Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19

Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19, by Jamie Hansen, M.S., LPC

We are truly living in history. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold around the globe, circumstances are changing every day and the leaders among us have been called to sort out how we move forward through these unprecedented times.

After 20 years as a counselor (I still maintain my license), I cannot help but watch the local and global reactions to this crisis through the lens of a mental health professional. I spent years watching people deal with all sorts of situations in their personal and professional lives, and it occurred to me this week that I recognize what's happening on a local and global level. This is grief.

 Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first outlined her five stages of grief in 1969. More than fifty years later, the Kubler-Ross model is still playing out in front of our eyes. Let's take a look at how these stages of grief are presenting themselves through this...

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