Each January, we take a collective breath and reset ourselves. As we throw away old calendars and box up holiday decorations for another year, we often experience a feeling of renewal. A new year offers a blank slate; a fresh start.
And considering the way 2016 went, I think most of us welcome the change. As the year drew to a close, social media was flooded with posts and articles debating where 2016 ranks among the worst years of all time. Why? Political acrimony fueled by the presidential election and Brexit, the deaths of beloved celebrities including David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee and Muhammad Ali, ongoing mass shootings, record-high global temperatures and much more. If you have the stomach for it, type #worstyearever on Twitter and browse for a few minutes. It won’t take long to see plenty of evidence for why 2016 will go down as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
That said, it’s always important to reflect on the past before overreacting. Consider 1348, when the Black Death wiped out at least one-third of the population of Europe; or 1919, which saw an influenza epidemic that killed half a million Americans and brutal race riots in cities across the U.S. And let’s not forget 1943, when the atrocities of the Holocaust neared their peak and famine impacted much of the globe. Yes, perspective is extremely important.
Still, we can agree that 2016 was rough. In fact, our industry has been going through a pretty bumpy stretch for quite some time now. Undoubtedly, 2017 will continue to include a healthy helping of uncertainty and confusion for the benefits world. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to get discouraged while slogging through a steady stream of regulatory updates or unending reports on rising health care costs; but I always feel better when I talk directly to industry professionals.
Speaking of which, we recently launched “The Face of Change,” a new BenefitsPRO magazine column in partnership with NAHU’s Vanguard Council. This series will shine a spotlight on industry professionals who are making a difference and driving the industry forward through innovative strategies and technology. This month, I interviewed Jonathan Reaves, a partner at the Dallas-based Reaves Agency. Be sure to read what he has to say about exciting developments he sees in the industry and the ways his company is attracting young talent. And if you know someone who deserves to be highlighted in the coming months, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking for more inspiration heading into 2017, be sure to keep an eye out in the coming days for our wish lists from industry professionals, as well as our annual 100 sales and marketing tips.
I think you’ll find plenty to feel good about.