Guest Commentator: Jessi Sheridan, Chief Operating Officer, Delta Phi Epsilon International Headquarters @DPhiEIHQ and Vice Chair, YPC Advisory Board

Around this time every year, I reflect on the past twelve months and consider my successes, failures, lessons learned, and impact made both in my personal and professional life. Looking back on 2020 brings about a variety of emotions, thoughts, and questions. What started out as a strong start to the year, quickly took a turn, seemingly presenting challenge after challenge.

On a global scale, we faced a worldwide pandemic, social justice unrest, wildfires and climate issues, political division, and rising poverty concerns, among other challenges. On a local level, we felt these challenges as we watched businesses close, colleagues lose jobs, and unrest in our neighborhoods. At times, I wonder how I made it through the year. Upon reflection, however, perhaps it was a level of resiliency, or grit, that got me through this year. If there ever was a year to test this theory, 2020 was it.

In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth presents research on grit, resiliency, and persistence in the pursuit of achievement. She notes that “gritty” people are able to maintain optimism and determination despite adversity and challenge. She also mentions that these same gritty people maintain a level of hope throughout the ups and downs presented to them. While there were quite a few dark days during this year, consider your resiliency and how it allowed you to complete career goals, finish an at-home project, forge deeper relationships with family and friends, or simply keep your head above water while working and parenting from home.

When looking ahead to 2021, we can’t forget about the year behind us, what we learned, how we grew, and who we impacted. While it was a challenging year, challenge is what helps us grow into stronger, more resilient leaders within our communities and workplaces. I encourage you to ask yourself this question: How can you continue to develop your resiliency to push you into 2021 with optimism and hope?