Life lessons taught by COVID-19

Does anyone else feel like 2020 has been an uphill battle? We have been climbing mountains for what seems to be an eternity with no end in sight. But the good news is — there will be an end and what’s waiting for you at the top of that mountain will be worth the struggle. 

During our 15th Co-lab Better Together Mastermind Meeting, we didn’t have anyone sign up for the hot seat so instead we asked our group of small business owners to tell us this:

What have you learned from 2020 and what is your #1 goal going into 2021?

Editor’s note: Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Lessons learned

“How to pivot. We have to change, adapt, and conquer!” – Frank Castiglione, Digital Architects

“How to practice resilience. It feels like a superpower now. It’s been my overriding practice.” – Isabelle Baker, Isabelle Media

“Don’t take anything for granted.” – Nate Kendrick, The Kendrick Company

“I don’t have to say yes to everything. By me saying yes, I may be taking another person’s opportunity to say yes.” – Tiffany Anderson, Project Bridge through Eckerd Connect

“Not everything is going to be perfect. Perfection is not as important as beginning the journey.” – Annie Ulle, Maximize Digital Media | BRIDGE Local

“Be flexible. I tend to be rigid but 2020 taught me the need to be flexible and flow with the moment.” – Clarke Freed, Mulberry Chamber of Commerce | Freed & Associates

“You can start a brand new business right at the beginning of a pandemic and still do well. What’s going to stop me other than my own limiting beliefs?” – Lisa Welch, Vitality Farms

“It took me until the end of April to fulfill my purpose outside of my home. We got turned down for loans for a restaurant in February. You have to start somewhere.Karyn Johnson, Ekim’s Place

“Appreciate what you have.” – Tonya Tucker, BRIDGE Local | Maximize Digital Media

Don’t let challenges detract from your day. Believe that you can and then do.” – Chrissanne Long, BRIDGE Local | Maximize Digital Media

“You might not have forever to figure out what matters to you so FIGURE IT OUT!” – Dianne Kaplan, 1st Priority Staffing

Goals in 2021

“Narrowing down my customer avatar (aka customer demographic, for those of you who may not know what a customer avatar is).” – Frank Castiglione, Digital Architects

“To be more of myself. Embrace what I do well. To start saying no more often and saying yes to the right things. To meet Chrissanne in real life.” – Isabelle Baker, Isabelle Media

“Being optimistic and realistic as well.” – Nate Kendrick, The Kendrick Company

 “Stay excited about this new change and keep the optimism rolling.” – Tiffany Anderson, Project Bridge through Eckerd Connect

Trust God more & trust myself more. Trust everything more instead of being skeptical.” – Annie Ulle, Maximize Digital Media | BRIDGE Local

“Help each one of my clients to frame, understand, to articulate, then to accomplish their goals.” –  Clarke Freed, Mulberry Chamber of Commerce | Freed & Associates

“To be a successful business and to have our [business] name known.” – Karyn Johnson, Ekim’s Place

“To build my relationship with God and hopefully everything else will fall into place.” – Tonya Tucker, BRIDGE Local | Maximize Digital Media

To advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Polk County. I’m reading a book called “The Startup Community Way” by Brad Feld. We all need the ecosystem to be healthy and fertile.” – Chrissanne Long, BRIDGE Local | Maximize Digital Media

“To get a well-building certification that I can implement as a service with my business.” – Dianne Kaplan, 1st Priority Staffing 

Before we wrapped up this meeting, we wanted to give a special shout out to some people in our audience: 

Karyn Johnson just launched a new business called Ekim’s Place that is an online platform for local businesses.  Customers will be able to find local businesses through their platform, as well as find information about local events. Check out Ekim Place’s website here: 

Tiffany Anderson is with Project Bridge at Eckerd, an organization designed to help at-risk kids who are coming out of juvenile justice programs. She is involved with employment services, however they have a mentoring component and education component, as well. She’s hoping to use some of her BRIDGE Local connections as mentors for the youth. For more information, visit 

Save these dates for our upcoming events! 

December 17 – BRIDGE Local 2020 Holiday Party

December 18 – BRIDGE Local 2020 White Elephant Gift Exchange

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