We cannot but enter the year ahead without abundant hope in our hearts and minds. Hope that there will be better days, that we will overcome all challenges, and we will create new powerful dimensions of success.


Nearing the end of 2020, one cannot help but notice that for many professionals, it has been a year of unimaginable consequences. Some have suffered salary cuts. Others have faced deferments of their bonuses. And tragically, thousands have had to deal with the rude blow of a job loss. It has been estimated by CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) that after the lockdown (which was initiated in March), around 19 million salaried, formal economy jobs have been lost in India. Do note that, these are only some of the tangible economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that arrived sneakily towards the start of the year. Beyond this, there has been a significant measure of the psychological impact as well, that has led to distress and anxiety.


Together, the economic and psychological challenges can double up to cause the mightiest amongst us to fold up. To give in. To throw our hands up. And therefore, at such a crossroad, it will help to be reminded of some critical ingredients that can provide the much-needed boost to lift our spirits. Let us see what these are–




More than anything, the constricted lifestyle of the virus-impacted new normal has reminded us that our health supersedes all the other luxuries that we may aspire for. Restricted from the open outdoors by being cocooned within our matchbox-style apartments in the city centre, many amongst us felt trapped. Unable to attend our Zumba classes, others felt lethargic to go it alone. With the authorities-led restrictions on movement and the fear of catching infections, many people even avoided going to the hospitals for their critical and mandatory health check-ups.


To add to the woes, gradual dissatisfaction has seeped in with regards to the ‘work-from-home’ model over the last few months. The initial euphoria driven largely by the realised benefit of avoiding traffic jams has been short-lived indeed. Boundaries between work hours and personal time have been blurred by managers, keen to maximise productivity and to show that they are still delivering.


Because of this, professionals have realised that a healthy life is paramount. Taking adequate steps to ensure that one is fit, physically as well as psychologically, is extremely critical. From exercise to therapy to mindfulness meditation, the options are plentiful, and the only requirement is to understand this truth and prioritise the same. Which, in effect, means that one needs to block some daily time towards this and ensure one follows the chosen practice to build a healthy lifestyle.




There is a shift that is playing out, on the sturdy backs of the monster known as ‘technology’. Seemingly, nothing can stand in its wake and it has (quite like the virus), spread far and deep.


CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) are of the unanimous opinion that the pace of technology adoption has been unprecedented in these times. Business and functional teams that were struggling to get budgets approved for the deployment of technology solutions have found, their purchase orders fast-tracked by the procurement team.


In many cases, however, there has been a tectonic shift. The travel and hospitality sector has been decimated. Retail commerce has moved from the offline space to the online world. People have been forced to ditch public transport in favour of personal mobility. It is easy to get dejected when one hears of these disruptions, especially when those close to us are impacted. While some of the losses will, in due course be recouped, customers will choose to adopt many new practices as they move forward.


What is evident is that the opportunities that this disrupted ecosystem will provide will be varied. There will be opportunities that are gig-oriented which allow professionals to move from one project to the next. There will also be unique opportunities that aim to combine diverse skills such as coding and creating musical symphonies. Professionals will need to be optimistic and open-minded to opt for those options that are aligned with their unique personalities and meet their financial goals, albeit partly.




In many ways, the global reset has given one strong message to humanity – that we must live a passionate life. In a very heartbreaking manner, we have lost people close to us, to this virus. Talented people who had so much to give to others. And many amongst them had put their passions aside in the race for surviving in a hyper-competitive world. In some cases, in the conquest of economic riches, their congruency of livelihood and passion had even been reduced to nothing.


As authors, Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia, outline in their bestseller, ‘Ikigai’, “essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” Without this heady mix, it appears that many have lived only to feed their stomachs and egos.


With the transition towards a ‘passion economy’, professionals should take guidance from the world of art, where individuals have monetised their areas of passion. No longer does one have to be even tethered to an organisation to make one’s talent visible to the world. Leveraging the digital world for showcasing one’s talent(s), can help one build a strong and sustainable future.




Last, but not the least, one must put in the effort. Picking up the pieces. Charting a new path. These are not activities for the faint hearted. They need resolve and a hands-on effort to drive through to success. Thought in your mind and plans on paper mean nothing unless steps are taken to execute.


What is required to ensure that the effort is in place, is strict discipline and self-monitoring. A planner helps to a great extent with clear, time-bound goals or targets. It keeps one aligned to the North Star and just in case, one has a few, less productive days, it can help bring one back to the track.


Along with the planner, one needs the will to put in the effort. To keep grinding the axe. To keep chiselling away at the dream to transform it into your reality.


So, this sums up the additives that one must ingest to enter 2021 on a positive note – Health, Opportunities, Passion and Effort. Combine the first letters of these four life-changing ingredients and you get the magical potion – HOPE.


Yes, we cannot but enter the year ahead without abundant hope in our hearts and minds. It is the hope that there will be better days, hope that we will overcome all challenges and the hope that we will create new powerful dimensions of success, that will give us the resolve to forge ahead.


This hope will also need one additional crucial element to ensure that one is able to transcend the interim period. This all-important catalyst in the mix is ‘togetherness’. If people work together and support each other, no mountain is insurmountable. After all, if we have managed to transition from the era of the caveman and can conceptualise sending a human to the planet Mars, there is an intrinsic strength within us, not only individually, but collectively.


As and this time, therefore, we must take cognisance of a powerful saying by St. Francis of Assisi – “To give is to receive”. We must understand that most critical right now is to ensure that, in the spirit of brotherhood, we hold hands and stand beside each other in these challenging times. There is strength in unity. There is compassion in togetherness.


With this noble objective in our hearts, as we step forward to guide ourselves and others through the maze that our corporate careers have become, we will not only hope that 2021 will be a great year for all of us, we will make sure it is so.



Vikas Dua is an accomplished HR and recruitment professional, a TEDx speaker, and a Vlogger and Blogger on HR practices. With over 15 years of high-quality experience in the field of IT and ITES, he has worked with both start-ups and large corporations like Wipro and Concentrix. Currently, he is Chief HR Mentor at Attayn, an HR-tech platform focused on democratising knowledge in the academic space. He is also an Advisor to the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Young Leaders Program.


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