Best Laid Plans

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Happy New Year!


Early last year I was planning a live workshop to help nonprofits understand upcoming changes to Chicago’s lobbyist laws. It was my way to give back to the nonprofit community. There were new regulations in the works that at first glance could have required nonprofits to implement structural and procedural changes or potentially incur fines for simple tasks like reaching out to an elected official for help. I ultimately hosted an event for about 25 people with representatives from the Chicago Board of Ethics in partnership with Providence Bank. Participants left informed and looking forward to future sessions exploring final regulations. I also had a preliminary schedule of events for the rest of the year. There was a plan. Little did I know the plan would experience a seismic shift and that live event would be my last one for the rest of the year.

2020 ended up filled with constant efforts to regroup, understand, and act. It was exhausting, yet empowering. I realized just how resilient I and countless other business owners really are. I embraced the unknown and kept moving. After making it to December 2020, I planned to kick off the new year with a hearty HAPPY NEW YEAR! Well, that didn’t happen.

Instead, the beginning of 2021 yet again upended my best-laid plans, leaving me faced with an ever-changing news cycle that pulled me in, diverted my focus, and completely overwhelmed my thoughts. Now it’s February and I’m finally writing my first message of the year. I’m still regrouping while helping others do the same and figuring out the most flexible path forward. My well wishes are no less heartfelt, just delayed a bit.

I learned many lessons, and I am still learning. A lesson of note is despite beginning with the end in mind, strategically navigating toward my desired outcomes, when my best-laid plans were completely and totally upended, I had two choices; give up or breathe, regroup and define an alternative path. I chose the latter and every day I am choosing to breathe and figure it out. I’ve realized that the alternative path will probably be shorter and less linear than my original one, but it still allows me to move forward. And move forward we must.

Wishing you a new year of resilience, determination, and progression.
Mekeda & The team at MJ Design and Company

P.S. Spend some time with history and honor the contributions of African Americans during Black History Month through this virtual tour of Cultural Expressions at the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
P.P.S. We all need a little happiness right now. Check out the February calendar from Action for Happiness.