Written by: Mark Koulianos // Dec 17, 2020
Last updated: Dec 17, 2020
If you’re familiar with the plot of Homer’s epic The Odyssey, you know its protagonist, Odysseus, is a compelling character. Enduring storms, monsters, and other formidable obstacles, he manages to steer himself and his fleet back home to Ithaca after the Greek victory in the Trojan War. His successful return isn’t possible without a number of shrewd dealings and fortunate interventions. The perilous voyage takes 10 years to complete! Odysseus is nothing if not resilient.
Wouldn’t it be accurate to say 2020 has been an odyssey of sorts—with its own tricky twists and turns? While each year brings about developments and trends that require us to adapt, the historic events of 2020 exceeded expectations. I am optimistic for a general upswing in 2021, but we should remember the mere passage from December to January is never a guarantee for smooth sailing. We’ll still carry residue from 2020 into the near future. It’s important to keep our eyes open, and we must be resilient.
Life, whether in the personal or professional arena, requires resilience—and always will. It’s just that 2020 made it crystal clear. We were suddenly prone to drastic conditions beyond our control. What we could control, however, was our response. Resilience, then, is a compulsory survival trait for anyone—but is especially so for a leader. As you know, leaders set the tone for the rest of the team. Project a resilient nature and those around you will respond in kind and adopt it as part of their own makeup.
Hardship, in varying degrees, is inevitable. We often need to draw power to manage and withstand adversity. I depend upon my Christian faith to sustain me. It allows me to make sense of circumstances—the good and bad, the normal and peculiar—because life will certainly present us with a mix. I sincerely hope you visit your source of strength and turn to it frequently. It’s important to find meaning in difficulty. We can, then, press ahead with wisdom and hope.
There is a valuable lesson to be derived from The Odyssey. Our sails may not be set for Ithaca, but metaphorically we’re always on a journey. Sometimes the wind is at our backs. Sometimes it blows us off course. Things will go wrong, but it’s a leader’s responsibility to maintain endurance for the destination of success. I wish you peace in the coming weeks—and the necessary time to reflect and recharge. May we meet 2021, and beyond, with energy and a resilient spirit!