One of the best parts about our team being an even split of American and Aussie is now it’s perfectly acceptable to adopt holidays and traditions from both countries.
Seafood and heatwaves for Christmas, 2 Up on ANZAC Day, pumpkins and dress ups and more boxes of decorations for Halloween, and wearing the stretchiest stretch pants that ever stretched for Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving in the States is a big deal and the official start to their festive season. Gratefulness though doesn’t have to be confined to one country’s traditions and I think after the year that was, its a perfect time for all of us to reflect on the events that unfolded and be grateful for the moments that unfolded.
This year has been so unlike any others in my lifetime. There have been so many challenges in 2020, but with them are huge blessings and silver linings when we look for them.
For me, I’m so very thankful to my friends and family that have been working in hospice care and aged care facilities.
I’m thankful for the army of healthcare workers, cleaners, and leaders in Australia that have worked tirelessly this year to keep us all safe. I’m so very thankful to the nurses in my immediate family working overtime in the states and spending holidays away from loved ones for everyone’s benefit.
Strikingly, one of the most incredible opportunities came this year when I was starkly reminded what is most important in life. Conquering my own complex health challenges this year brought everything sharply into focus unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It was a simple reminder of how extremely important it is to live every moment to the fullest – and it caused me to ask myself the question: “If you could choose to do anything in the world, what would you do?”
My answer remained the same. I’d spend time with Cogniom and my family.
I’m so incredibly humbled to work alongside such a talented and dedicated team. Seeing everyone share a vision of a better future and working together to make that a reality is something I hope everyone can experience in their lifetimes.
Through trials and times of massive challenges, time and time again I’ve watched as the team, immediate family, partnership clients, investors, and close supporters that have all rallied to prove that making massive differences in the lives of others is easy with a little help from friends. When helping others forms the core of your vision, it is incredible to watch a small network of people grow and bend the fabric of reality together. I’m very fortunate that I have surrounded myself with so many people that enrich each other’s lives and make the world a better one.
For me, 2020 wasn’t about the global pandemic.
For me, 2020 was the year my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was also the year my Mum kicked cancer’s ass and while I shed silent tears as I shaved her head, she was gloriously laughing, thinking she looked like Bert Newton with her new do!
This is my favourite photo of her of this journey. This is the image of strength and resilience and determination and heart. She refused to be beaten by it and every day it reminds me of the incredibly strong line of women I come from.
The pandemic changed everything we had hoped this year would be, yet I can’t help but be grateful for the time it afforded me to be with my family and to stand by my Mum as she took on each moment of her journey. It’s news you wouldn’t wish on anyone, and is news I’m still struggling to, even now, comprehend, but she faced every day with a ferocity that even Wonder Woman would be envious of.
She will never really comprehend just how much of an inspiration she is. She has reminded all of us that we have the power to affect how things turn out, that we are only limited by the courage we’re willing to face the world with and that laughter truly is the best medicine. Despite her hideous obsession with Bon Jovi, I am so thankful I get to call her my Mama Bear.
I’m also incredibly grateful for the work family I’ve been blessed with in Robert, Bryce and Chris. They are some of my most favourite people who stood by me unconditionally as I navigated my way through Mum’s cancer battle and cheered just as loudly as I did when she finished her treatment. I am so proud of each of them and they never cease to amaze me with what they can achieve. My life is infinitely richer for having them in it.
You learn who you are at your core in the face of adversity, and 2020 may have been the hardest year of our lifetimes.
This year wasn’t just a global pandemic, it was lost loved ones with no goodbyes, cancelled trips, extended isolation, and of course missing toilet paper.
It seemed everything that could go wrong would go wrong this year. It’s times like these that I’m extremely grateful for both my immediate and my Cogniom families.
I started off on this venture, bright eyed and bushy tailed, talking on about day three about the millions waiting behind just a bit of work. A year and a half into this journey we think we’re coming out of the grind and into “routine”, but in reality we’ve learnt that entrepreneurship isn’t any one single step, it’s a mindset, a process, a journey. And on this journey I couldn’t have picked a better bunch of companions.
From the depths of my heart I’m thankful for all my family for the trifecta of inspiring my dreams, enabling the pursuit of my dreams, and fulfilling my dreams.
You know what? It’s weird. You know what I’m thankful for? Covid-19. Yep – I can’t believe I’m saying that either.
Maybe I’m not thankful FOR it per se, but rather that is has forced me to stop and re-evaluate what is truly important.
As well as granting me the time to think how to go about that. Did I end up learning the guitar? Nope. Did I have a slight mid-life crisis? Maybe! Did I buy an old wooden project boat to fix up?
Oh yes I did!
All jokes aside though, I’ve realised that family and friends are one of the greatest gifts we are given in life. I’ve taken mine (yep, both sets) for granted for far too long. I have not spent anywhere near enough time with them over the past few years. In fact – I think I’ve seen more of my family and friends in the last few post-covid-lockdown months than I have for ages. Which is bonkers, because this is the only year that it has been DIFFICULT to see them. Madness. Madness Chris. We had a wonderful time catching up with all of my family up in sunny Nth QLD once we were able to. We had not ALL been in the same place for 12 years.
So my big takeaway – hang out with your family and friends – give them your time – they are more than worth it!
And family doesn’t just mean blood and marriage. I’m also extremely grateful for the wonderful work family I have, a great team who look out for each other, work FOR and WITH each other and truly believe we are making a difference. Like all good families, we each play a role, but I’ll leave that up to you, good reader, to decide who is who!
At Cogniom, like most, we had one of our most challenging years. Everything changed in an instant and agility became our new super power. We had to let go of what we thought we would achieve in 2020 and repave our path forward as we travelled along it.
Startup life is never dull, but lucky for us we love a good rollercoaster!
We still managed to achieve such great things this year and we are just as grateful for all those highs as we are for the lessons than came from the lows.
Our grateful hearts also lay with our Cogniom client family, our friends and family, cheerleaders, investors and network of incredible people. Thank you for all your support and encouragement especially through this year.
If 2020 has taught us anything its that time is incredibly precious, we are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for and we are capable of greatness even in the face of adversity.
It wasn’t the year any of us expected but before we go looking for a refund, or the nearest exit, ask yourself…
“What am I grateful for today?