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By Sanjay Khatnani, Managing Partner, J2 Solutions

As Thanksgiving approaches during this uncertain time, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a message of positivity and thanks. This year has been rough—and I won’t be sorry to see it go in six short (but all too long) weeks. Like millions Giving thanks during a time of crisisof people worldwide, I will happily bid the year farewell as I welcome a (hopefully) brighter 2021. With that said, I’d like to acknowledge some pretty amazing things that have come out of this year and offer a special thanks to our customers, partners and consultants.

In August, I pointed out five accidental benefits of COVID—or, more specifically, all the plusses of operating with a remote workforce. But beyond mere business benefits, I’ve been witness to something even more profound: the power of relationships.

The truth is, I’ve never seen a sense of community like that of the past eight months. An example of this occurred in my hometown, where a group of families, ours included, came together to solve a common challenge: the difficulties our children were facing with the at-home learning model. These families, all in the same “bubble,” formed a learning pod, whereby our children came together in small, in-person groups for an enhanced learning experience. As a result of these pods, our new little community of parents was able to give the children the structure they so desperately craved and the camaraderie they so profoundly missed in a relatively low-risk educational setting.

The more I look around, the more I see it—people helping each other, offering support and guidance, holding one another up as we make our way towards a finish line we hope to cross soon. You—our partners, our customers and our consultants—have all played a notable role in this sense of community. You’ve helped to make this difficult year a bit better. At J2, we’ve built our business on three core pillars: relationships, service and expertise. And while we strive to deliver that every day in every way, I, too, have been the beneficiary of those attributes in others’ behaviors towards me.

I was recently on a call with a professional colleague who had reached out to me for career guidance, which I was more than happy to offer. The next day she called me back simply to ask if I was okay. It seems she had detected a note of distress in my voice when we had last spoken and wanted to offer an ear and a shoulder—not colleague to colleague, but person to person. We spoke for 20 minutes—or rather, I spoke. I shared what was on my mind, and she listened. After we hung up, I not only felt better emotionally, I was profoundly reminded that the human spirit is alive and well at a time when we all need it the most.

As we approach a new (hopefully much brighter) year, the team at J2 has a renewed sense of commitment to what matters most. This year has served as a profound reminder that community matters, partnership matters and relationships matter. They are foundational to our emotional survival and overall wellbeing—because, without that, what do we have?

Today I challenge you to reach out, pick up the phone and give me a call. Let’s share a virtual cup of coffee and talk about, well, anything. I’d even be up for hearing a bad joke or two!

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