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An open letter to 2020


Dear 2020,

You have brought hurt, sadness, pain, loss to many but you were also full of life lessons.


As I am sitting in my hotel room and writing this letter, I want to state the obvious, I am privileged - I did not endure what most people experienced in 2020 but mentally it has been the toughest year of my life. With that said, here are the life lessons I have learned in 2020.


In Stillness Peace Awakens

Stillness - oxford dictionary definition “the absence of movement or sound”. The entire world came to a halt due to COVID-19 in early 2020. During that period, stillness emerged as part of my 2020 learning journey experience. I am generally a structured person; I thrive in fast paced environment and I must always be productive, even on weekends. I wrote in my journal on Jan 1st 2020, my mission statement for the year “time is a nonrenewable resource so use it wisely on things that matter to my growth, loved ones and finding my purpose in life”. To me being always busy equated to being productive. I was always on the go especially once I moved to Europe in 2015.


Prior to COVID-19, my work travel schedule was madness, I was traveling almost every week or every other week, I was living in a suitcase (not a glamorous lifestyle). As you know, I love traveling both for leisure and work. But work travel is different, I am in meetings all day, visiting my team, and work closely with the leadership team across Europe, Middle East, and Africa so I have a jampacked schedule. My social life in Amsterdam was in the backburner, I was married to my career. Once I get back home, I am tired and my energy was low to socialize with friends frequently.


When travel came to a halt in March 2020, I was in my house consecutively for 1, 2, 3 months. Like many others, I was having a difficult time adjusting to our new normal. But with time I have learned adapt and appreciate stillness. What good came out of it one may ask? A few key things, I was able to connect and expand my social circle in London – cultivating meaningful relationships and social friends. Although my family and close friends are thousands of miles away, I make time to check on them. It is so cliché, but my house became a home, I was enjoying staying at home, I was cooking, learning how to make new dishes, hosting friends over for dinner (I have learned during the pandemic I love sharing my home with my friends and creating memories over food, wine and great conversations and occasionally dancing!). Finally, I have learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of life while being present – like going out for a walk, being kind to others, smiling more, enjoying the sun, stop feeling guilty for not being productive and not traveling frequently.



Connection with Thyself

In mid-December of 2019 I signed up for 60-day IronMind Challenge by Rob Dial. I have been habitually listening to Rob’s podcast for a couple of years by then. He has played (still does) a pivotal role on how I leverage neuroplasticity to change my mindset, so I signed up for the challenge with my youngest brother and best friend. There are 6 pillars that I needed to do daily for 60 days straight: cold shower, workout (45 mins minimum), healthy eating, no alcohol, visualization, and journaling. Let me start off by saying, it was mentally TOUGH, self-discipline and consistency is the mother of mastery. My mind was playing tricks on me, I wanted to skip my workouts because I was exhausted, I was tempted to take lukewarm showers because it was winter in London and no wine for 60 days it was brutal!


The main objective of the process is to help ME control my willpower and shift my mindset to thrive during challenging times. I am a firm believer that the challenges we endure in life evolve us to be the people we become. During the pandemic, I was really committed to creating good habits and unlearning bad habits. When you intentionally do this for days, months and years you slowly compound good habits and suddenly you become a different person. My aha moment was in late July 2020. I was in Amsterdam visiting a friend, I was running errands most of the morning and decided to have lunch at my favorite hotel – they have a beautiful garden restaurant. Anyways I digress, I ordered a glass of wine and I started to smile just thinking about my life and all the sudden I felt my mind, heart, and gut connected in alignment. I felt at peace about everything, I felt joy, I felt my emotional growth - I was in tears, it was a beautiful moment that is hard to articulate and one I will forever cherish. I shifted from scarcity to abundance mindset and ever since then my outlook on life has never been the same. I try my absolute best to live my life filled with gratitude, positivity, happiness and with intentions.

Finding my WHY and Purpose

I am been soul searching the past two years trying to discover my purpose in life. I vividly remember my dad asking me “what will I do for humanity?” at age 21 while I was talking to him about my goals and aspirations. Quite frankly, I was annoyed with that question at that time because I was not emotionally mature, and nor did I understand the depth of the question until I turned 30. In light of the pandemic, my social media grew – I will be honest I was terrified because I like to live my life as private as possible. But the more I shared about my life (with boundaries), career, and investments (disclaimer I am not a financial advisor) the more I was receiving DMs on how people found it useful and inspiring. And it all clicked, I love helping people, I get joy from it. I want to see people succeed in whatever makes them happy and I want to share my life lessons with you. I don’t know how 2021 will unfold but I hope I will find time to mentor young girls who are starting early in their careers and help coach them on how to navigate in the corporate world. I've worked for amazing leaders who believed in me and I want to pay it forward to the future leaders of the world.



A Bright Future Ahead

I don't have a crystal ball to predict the future BUT I am extremely hopeful and positive our future is bright. Through adversity comes resilience and I hope as you reflect back on your 2020 experience you also take the time to be kind to yourself.


Sending you much love from Dubai and all the best in 2021. x


Sarah

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