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[Motivational Speaker] Top 10 Lessons I Learned in 2020

Top 10 Lessons I Learned in 2020

2020 was quite an adventure for many of us. The global Covid-19 pandemic happened. As I look back at how 2020 unfolded, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned during this year.

Let me share the 10 lessons I learned in 2020.

Lesson #1: Listen to God and be quick to obey Him.

In Feb 2018, I rented a beautiful office in Wack-Wack Twin Towers, Mandaluyong. I loved our office — I had my own private room where I could write and nap after lunch. It also had a spacious room for my team to work. Plus, it was in a well-maintained building with a nice pool and lush garden.

And then one day, I heard God say, “Sha, close the office.”

From a business perspective, it was illogical to close the office. It was my team’s headquarters and it made us productive and efficient.

But I felt I heard God right and that He really wanted me to close the office. So when the lease was about to end in Feb 2020, I decided to not renew it and close the office. Effective March 1, my team and I transitioned to working from home full time. Two weeks later, the Philippine government declared a lockdown because of the pandemic.

It really, really pays to listen to God and to be quick in obeying Him. I could have told God, “God, can You give me one year to decide?” That would have been too late.

Maybe you’re asking… But how do you listen to God? Through silence. Through prayer. Through involving Him in everything you do. As you keep praying, you’ll get sensitive to His voice and you can listen. He is always communicating with us. We just need to be quiet and really listen.

Lesson #2: Relax.

It is okay and it is necessary to relax. If you’re doing something you love to do, it is quite a challenge to relax because you just want to keep on working and keep being productive. That’s me! This 2020, I learned that sometimes, the best use of your time is to be still, have fun, and be at peace with it. You don’t always have to be productive.

My work involves a lot of creativity. During the times I needed to be creative, you’d see me dancing Zumba, watching the clouds, walking in my little balcony, exercising, playing with my pet birds, or doing some gardening. You’d see me do all sorts of things except being in my laptop and in my phone. That’s my way of relaxing and giving my mind space to be creative.

Speaking of relaxing, RELAX is my word for 2020. I transformed my Scandinavian-inspired condo into a relaxing abode. I have pet birds, 200+ plants, man-made water falls in the balcony, water curtain in the sala, and mini-water fountain in my bedroom. From March to December, I stayed home 99% of the time. I only went out about 8 times in 9 months!

Lesson #3: It’s okay to set boundaries.

This 2020, I learned to set boundaries especially around my personal space and peace. I unfollowed some people and friends on social media whose values were not aligned with mine.

I also protected my inner circle and carefully chose who I wanted to be part of my inner circle. I let go of some relationships that robbed me of my joy and peace. And yep, I loved a lot of friends from afar.

I also set boundaries around my working hours. As much as I could, I only worked from Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. I only worked on Sat/Sun if I have important meetings or speaking engagements.

Lesson #4: It’s okay to lean into whatever you are feeling.

Dr. Peggy Delong, one of the speakers in our World Gratitude Summit, said that there are no negative emotions, only uncomfortable ones. I learned to allow myself to feel whatever I was feeling — love, joy, peace, sadness, anger, disappointment, pain, gratitude, etc.— and breathe through it. It’s okay.

This 2020, I learned not to suppress my feelings. If I felt like crying, I allowed myself to cry and I did my best to not judge my emotions. It felt so liberating!

Lesson #5: Every great person I wanted to connect with is within my reach.

I learned this in the process of organizing our online summits and working with people. I had a chance to interview Jack Canfield, Dr. John Demartini, Andrew Matthews, etc. and my team and I had a chance to partner with the organizers of events that featured Brian Tracy and Robert Kiyosaki.

Every great person I want to meet is within my reach. Well noted! I’ll bring this lesson with me especially in the love life department. Haha!

Lesson #6: Always make time to make the child in you happy.

I love to check in on my family and friends and ask how they are. I learned to do the same with the most important person in my life — myself. Many times a day, I’d check in with the child in me and ask how I am and what would make me happy. It felt weird in the beginning. But I got the hang of it and now I really enjoy it. Do it, too! It’s fun!

Lesson #7: Make time for your family and friends.

In 2020, I had weekly Sundates with my brother. We took turns hosting each other for lunch. I enjoyed those Sundates with my brother.

Everyday, I also messaged my Papa and we exchanged ‘I love you’ daily.

Then I formed 3 mastermind groups with my friends and met had our weekly and monthly virtual dates. It was our support group.

Lesson #8: Speak up and speak to the right people.

I live in a beautiful condo beside a noisy factory. This factory has been in operation for 60 years and my neighbors already resigned to the fact that we can’t do anything about it.

After 7 months of 24/7 exposure, I began to have palpitations. That’s when I knew enough is enough. So I did some research as regards laws on noise pollution, health implications of noise, and some techie stuff on how to reduce noise. I also talked to the concerned parties and authorities and really followed through via calls and emails. The result? The factory has finally acquired machines to reduce the noise they are producing. Praise God!

Speak up and speak to the right people when necessary instead of ranting on social media or ranting to your friends. Talk to the concerned authorities and the decision makers. Talk to the corporations no matter how big they are. Your feedback is a gift to them, 🙂

Lesson #9: Gratitude is the key to be happy!

Gratitude is one of my favorite topics to speak on. I really believe that gratitude is the key to be really, really happy! As a gratitude speaker, I live and breathe gratitude. ‘Thank you’ is my most used words on any given day. This 2020, my gratitude even deepened. There are absolutely so many things to be grateful for.

I also finally understood what Dr. Robert Emmons meant when he said that “Gratitude makes you see the truth.”

My understanding came during one of my FB LIVEs when someone asked me what’s the difference between gratitude and toxic positivity.

Here’s my answer.

Toxic positivity means suppressing your uncomfortable emotions and denying the absence of problems. For example, when you’re feeling sad and angry, you tell yourself, “Don’t be sad and angry. You should be happy because…” That’s toxic positivity.

Gratitude, on the other hand, means seeing the truth. For example, when you’re feeling sad and angry, you tell yourself, “I understand that you are sad and angry. It’s okay to be sad and angry. I love you anyway.”

Feel your emotions first. Acknowledge them. And then you see the truth that yes, you have problems and yes you feel sad and angry. And yes, you are also so blessed.

You can see, you can smell, you can feel, you have a roof over your head, you are alive, you are healthy, and the list goes on. Then you begin to see the truth that your problems represent maybe 1% or your life and 99% are blessings.

Through gratitude, my team and I were able to launch the HR Summit Global with 10,000+ participants from 32 countries and World Gratitude Summit with 15,000+ participants from 49 countries/ Amazing what gratitude can do.

More than that, gratitude helped me feel at peace and content. I spent Christmas in a hotel quarantine facility, devoid of any Christmas festivities, yet I felt a deep sense of joy and peace knowing that I am very much celebrating Christmas. Gratitude helped me see that Christmas is not about the colorful decorations or the loud festivities, but it’s about knowing how blessed you are to be surrounded by love — love from Jesus, love from yourself, love from your family, love from your friends, etc.

Lesson #10: Launch. Launch. Launch.

I love launching new products and ideas. I get so excited and I feel so alive every time there’s a new idea I wanted to launch.

In 2020, we launched the ff:

1. To the First Woman Who Loved Me (book)

2. The Author’s Voice Podcast and Joy and Peace Podcast for Catholic Singles

3. 3 Online Summits: Write a Book Summit, HR Summit Global, World Gratitude Summit

4. Father’s Day Concert

5. Book Launch of the Graduates of The 90-Day Book Writing Challenge during the Manila International Book Fair, etc.

6. My first onine membership called Thrive University


Launch. Launch. Launch. Don’t aim for perfection. Instead, aim for excellence, launch and tweak along the way.

There. Those are my top 10 lessons from 2020. I am grateful to God for how He has blessed me in 2020. May these lessons bless you as well.

How about you? What were your top lessons in 2020? Feel free to share in the comments.

I wish you love, joy, and peace today and everyday!


Sha Nacino

Gratitude Speaker

Host, Joy & Peace Podcast for Catholic Singles

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Sha Nacino is a motivational speaker, TEDx speaker, author, and adjunct faculty at the Asian Institute of Management. For speaking invitations, visit or email us at

Sha Nacino

Sha Nacino is a motivational speaker, author of 15 books, and adjunct faculty at the Asian Institute of Management. She is on a mission to inspire fearless possibilities by helping leaders and companies build a culture where everyone feels safe, seen, and appreciated.

Sha finished her B.S. in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines - Diliman and holds a Certificate in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

She was awarded the Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 by the United Nations Global Entrepreneur Council and Inspiring Humanitarian Award by the World Humanitarian Drive.

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