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As we ended 2020, I had the opportunity to sit down (virtually) with ten friends from my professional circle. It was a diverse group, and everyone brought a very distinct 2020 experience to the table. I had asked everyone to come prepared to share one lesson they learned over the past year that they will carry into 2021. Here’s the conversation we shared as we went around our virtual circle…

I kicked us off… “For me, it’s been a reminder that we each bring different experiences to the table, not just in 2020, but all the time. We don’t always know what someone else’s experience has been. For some, 2020 was an awesome year, and for others, a trainwreck. Understanding that, we need to approach people with empathy and compassion, listen and let them be heard, learning to appreciate and understand other people’s experiences. It’s not all solutions and fixes. …


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Purpose, personal mission statements, core values, our “why” — what ties all these things together? Depth. We use these things to help us go deeper in the areas of our lives that matter most.

So what is “depth”? How do we define it, and most importantly, how can we create more of it? What does it mean to go deep in an area of your life — and what are some of the things that prevent us from experiencing it?

Answering these questions begins by understanding the challenges that “width” creates in our lives. Does this sound familiar? I was experiencing a life, personally and professionally, where I was spread thin. I always felt overextended, yet I continued saying “yes” to everything. This left me feeling unfocused and not concentrating my energy on what was important. The result? My life was as wide as the ocean, deep as a puddle. …


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Here’s a quick exercise I want each of you to do. Close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to. A lakeside retreat surrounded by trees and mountains… a tropical setting surrounded by sand, palm trees, and the sound of surf… a Japanese garden or a park in Paris… take your pick, and envision it in your mind.

Then, imagine that there is a hole in the ground right beside you, six feet wide and six feet deep. Look down into that hole, focusing on the vacant space. It’s dark and empty, unfilled and containing nothing. …


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We’ve all heard this before, “It takes pressure to create a diamond.” Pressure is something many of us have learned a lot about recently as we criss-crossed through 2020. So, with that experience and some new lessons on resilience in our back pocket, we are uniquely prepared for whatever comes next. Here are three lessons we can all learn from the diamond and how it’s created…

Appreciate the heat.

Diamonds begin with carbon that’s buried about 100 miles deep inside the earth’s mantle. …


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“Thank God 2020 is finally done.” We’re all ready to put this past year behind us, but will we actually leave it there? As we’re on the doorstep of 2021, here’s one final question to ask yourself. How much time are you spending in the past vs. the amount of time you’re investing focused on your future?

For many of us, the balance between the two is tilted in the wrong direction. Rather than focusing on the future we could be creating, or enjoying the moment we’re in right now, we fixate on our past. We ponder what we’ve lost, the failures we encountered, and what we lost. …


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There’s a sign that I walk past 2–3 times a week, sometimes more. “Road closed ahead.” Before this year, this battered old sign in the woods would have held little meaning for me. With its missing letters, it would have been forgettable. But, as we all know, 2020 has been unforgettable — and those words took on a different meaning for me this year.

Shelter-in-place, closed-for-business, virtual-this, and hybrid-that… We’ve each had roads that closed for us in 2020. More than once, I caught myself becoming discouraged by the whole thing. My emotions shifted daily. Sometimes I was angry. Mostly I was optimistic. Occasionally I was fearful. Many days I was upbeat. Somedays I was just numb to it all. …


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I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this, “I can’t wait for 2021 to get here.” This past year was challenging — just escaping the grip of 2020 may feel like a significant win. Entering this new year feels hopeful. 2021 is full of potential and possibilities.

So how will you light your 2021 fire?

We’re each starting with a clean slate. Rather than just tumble into the new year with no strategy, create a plan for what’s going to fill that blank slate. Either you fill it intentionally, or it will fill itself — and you’ll be left wondering how 2021 slipped past you. …


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As you’re reading this, you are enjoying OrangeBall Insight’s 100th blog post. For the last two years, we’ve shared conversations we’ve had with people just like you, the lessons we’ve picked up running our own business, insights on marketing and content, and some random thoughts that don’t fit into any bucket at all. It’s been a joy to walk beside each of you and hear your feedback on what we’ve shared here. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

The idea of writing post number one hundred unlocked some interesting lines of thought…

First, when we start doing anything, how often do we begin with the end in mind? How often do we dream big when we launch a new project? When we launched Insights, we didn’t know what kind of impact we would create. It was initially designed as a tool that we could use to stay top-of-mind with our customers and a place where we could hopefully add a little value in the process. It shifted over the first six months, as we quickly realized that adding value was much more important and that if we did that well, we’d stay top-of-mind naturally. …


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For those of you who checked out the My 2020 Snapshot tool that I shared earlier this week ( you can find it here) I thought I’d share my own insights from 2020. Hopefully this helps you kickstart your own reflections. I’ve learned a lot this year. There have been so many lessons hidden in the peaks and valleys, the uncertainty and the sharp left turns — here’s what I will take with me into the new year…

How would you describe this year in three words?

Unpredictable, humbling, faith.

Where did you experience wins this year?

Personally, 2020 created a lot of added time for me with Cristina and the twins. It was amazing to have all that extra time together — and sometimes challenging. We’ve grown as a blended family because of this year. And, we’ve all been fortunate to stay healthy. Professionally, none of the businesses we partner with have closed in 2020, which is a huge win. Many have faced challenges, but we (my partners and I) have been able to show up, lift them up, and live out the core values that live on our walls. …


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We recently shared an invitation to slow down amid all the hustle and bustle that is coming over the next few weeks. It seemed like a conversation that deserved some additional attention as our own week got busier and busier…

As our work and responsibilities pile up, it can be easy to get lost in the motion of our day-to-day. Sometimes that feels like being on a hamster wheel, and other times it feels like chasing the school bus you just missed as a 4th grader. In either case, the days of December that lie in front of us are fleeting. They will come and go quickly. …

About

John Gamades

Creative, entrepreneur, blogger, husband, and dad — focused on cutting through the negative noise with a message of positivity and growth.

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