Giving ourselves permission to have an awesome 2021

There’s a secret many people have been keeping about their 2020. Want to know what it is?

All day every day, I listen to people’s stories. And there’s one type of story that flew under the radar in 2020. Mainly because people were afraid to tell it, lest they come across as insensitive.

It’s the story of those who had an awesome 2020.

From the client who finally left a difficult marriage - and started joyfully dating again. To the client who lost her job - but found another job, less than 2 months later - with a nicer boss who paid more money. To the client who found a job and jumped 2 levels up (with the commensurate salary increase)

And then there’s the friend who made more money in 2020 than in past years. The other friend who got pregnant after many months of trying in 2019. And then the client who finally expanded his team in 2020 after going it solo all the years before.

Personally, 2020 was the year I recognized, humbly and with crystal clarity, just how blessed I am. There are many things I took for granted in past years- what with the busy-ness of running a business focused on helping others.

Like so many of you, I saved more money this year than past years. Like some of you, I understood that at some point one must stop striving all the time, and just start smelling those simple but oh-so-beautiful roses. And just being grateful. I believe that a prayer of just 2 words - thank you - is a powerful prayer indeed.

All this, dear reader, is to say: not everyone had a terrible 2020.  And by extension, not everyone will have a terrible 2021.

How then, can you do your best to ensure that this is the club you are part of this year?

Let’s first define the word “awesome” in the sentence “giving yourself permission to have an awesome 2021”

Awesome does NOT mean perfect. It does NOT mean flawless or without difficulty.

Awesome, in my books means, no matter what is going on, you continue doing the 4 Ls:

Learning, Laughing, Loving and Living.

Awesome means, you see your life as a grand adventure. And like any grand adventure there are highs and lows. Heroes and villains. Smart moves and silly mistakes…. Think of your favourite adventure movie (I particularly like “The Avengers”)... a great story, with all the ups and downs that make for a great story.

My husband and I had our worst fight EVER at the start of the pandemic. Like everyone else, we were both afraid. So we lashed out - at one another. It was a shock, certainly to my system, to see how fast I could regress into behaving like a wounded animal being backed into a corner.

By the end of 2020 and now, we are closer than ever before. And I think the shock of that fight had a lot to do with it. Ups and downs, highs and lows. Your life is an adventure.

In 2020 many of my clients cancelled their team workshops. But many new individual clients came my way. And I forged new & rich business partnerships even with leaders overseas - partnerships that continue to this day. Ups and downs, highs and lows. Your life is an adventure.

Why don’t you choose to see your 2021 as an adventure?

You see, pandemic or no pandemic, coaches like me have always said that you are not in control. You never were. All you have is some influence over how things go in your life.

But that influence is still worth something. It’s what stops you from being a victim. It’s what catalyses you into action, it’s what sparks ideas in your mind.

One colleague, early in 2020, called her sister and suggested they move in together for the year (they hadn’t lived together in decades!). Turns out, that bit of creative thinking was the best thing the 2 of them could have done. Their kids (the cousins) could hang out all the time. And the mums weren’t home alone. See what can happen when you use that little bit of influence?

So let go of control in 2021. Focusing instead on influencing little by little - a radical suggestion here, a courageous email there. A focused meeting here (with mask), a daring phone call there... see what happens and respond appropriately to the feedback you get.

Let go of “looking good” and “getting it right” in 2021. Fall apart if you must - and reach out to those who love you - and who would want to help you.

If a deep & profound bonding with friends (or some family members) didn’t happen for you in 2020, allow it to happen in 2021.  You cannot do this alone. Don’t even try.

In 2020, I started following more creatives on social media. Truth be told, my feed had gotten a bit stale. But now, it’s filled with beauty, colour, and art. I’m inspired all over again.

In 2020, I put the business and personal development books down and got back into reading fiction. What a JOY that has been. I fully intend to continue this in 2021.

And that money I earned and saved in 2020? Some of it is going right back into the business - but this time for experimenting with new ways of doing things, all in the name of giving my clients and followers the best learning experience. I’m excited.

Speaking of’s a word to resurrect in 2021.  Thrift.

It means using money wisely and not wastefully.

A thrifty person is NOT a stingy person. Don’t confuse the two. Money comes and money goes. This is true for everyone - even those billionaires you’re following on Twitter.

Being tight with your cash is not a great feeling. Be thrifty instead. Earn it, save some, and spend some - wisely.

So, make some plans for 2021. Plans are still allowed. Even in uncertain times. Get yourself an accountability partner- a friend, a coach….

Make plans that fill you up with excitement - and maybe even a bit of healthy fear. My husband started his own architecture practice in 2020. He’s energised, busy and grinding away like never before. I’m his biggest cheerleader. There was no “now is not a good time to start a business” from me. We discussed it and he went for it. We both have no regrets.

My daughter is back at school. I’m excited for her and for the little school. She thrives there. I remember feeling terrible when we had to pull her out in 2020. My father was a professor, my grandfather was a teacher. People may call me “a coach”, but really, I consider myself a teacher. I have a high regard for teachers. I pray that my daughter, and the little school, continue to thrive in 2021.

All of these goings on could work out very well. Or they could all fall apart.

I have no control. I just have a little bit of influence.

I’m just giving myself permission to have an awesome 2021.

Will you do the same?

Cece Ojany-Bekhor teaches leaders how to BE well and DO well. You can learn more about how she helps leaders like you by visiting