In a few hours, it will go from 2020-12-31 23:59:59 to 2021-01-01 00:00:00.
Balls will drop! Champaign will be consumed! Dates will be kissed!
Nothing magical will happen.
If you don’t believe me, ask someone in Sacramento who will still be waiting another three hours for their New Year.
There is nothing magical about flipping a page on a calendar. When you wake up on the 1st, there will still be a pandemic. There will still be high unemployment. There will still be political turmoil.
None of those things change with the simple turning of the page. All of them require work. The work of scientists. The work of leaders. The work of everyday people to wear their masks and act like responsible people who care about their neighbors.
There is no magic.
Or maybe the magic has already happened. Maybe it happened in March and we didn’t all realize it.
In March, everything was thrown into confusion. The table we were playing the game on was flipped over. Many of us are looking at the mess and lamenting that they can’t do anything with the pieces on the floor.
But some of us are looking at it and seeing that we now have the chance to play an entirely new game. It is in these moments when the greatest opportunities come to us.
For as long as I can remember, I have been bringing people together and building community. In high school, I hosted our parties and planned our outings. In college, I ran conventions. After college I opened Phoenix Games to be a center of community. In my 30s I worked at all manner of genre events.
But 2020 brought an opportunity like I’d never seen before. The quarantine forced everyone to discover the potential of virtual space. Virtual networking, virtual communities, virtual conferences, once the realm of a cutting edge few are now possible for the mainstream.
With lower overhead and completely obviating the effect of geography, it is possible to bring together amazing talent and hundreds of attendees together for pennies.
From this, I was able to create Conference21. It is not just a place to help people learn from 32 experts, but it’s a place to create a new kind of community. A community that defies borders, that ignores geography. It is a community that anyone can become a part of if it is right for them.
We are able to use these new technologies to create networking events before and after the conference that are almost like being face to face.
None of these technologies are actually new. They existed in 2019.
What changed in March was that we became open to them.
In 1993, AT&T launched an ad campaign talking about these science fiction sounding technologies.
“Have you ever shown up for a meeting in your bare feet?” they asked as they showed a Zoom-like video conference.
This technology became commonly available years ago, but most people prior to 2020 had never participated in a virtual meeting.
In 2020, AT&T’s predictions, which had been technically accurate for years, became socially accurate. Virtual meetings, distance learning, and all the rest became part of all of our lives.
The promise of the future is here, and we are all ready to embrace it.
There is no magic in the turning of the calendar, but there can be great magic in uncertain times. Uncertainty means you don’t know how it will turn out. That can be a bad thing, but it can also be a very good thing, especially if you weren’t winning beforehand.
All the pieces are now up in the air. You have a choice. You can let them clatter to the ground, or you can grab some and find your new future.
Have you ever seized your own new opportunities?
And the company that will bring it to you… is you.
Michael Whitehouse knows all about games, having owned a game store for many years. He has never heard of a board game that can still be played after the table is flipped, but it’s a good metaphor anyway.
If you’d like to hear more strained metaphors or discuss how you might make your own magic in 2021, click here to schedule a free half hour coaching session with Michael.