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Having a positive outlook in 2021

Denise Ziemba spending time with her grandchildren. 

As 2020 draws to a close, I thought I would take this time to share how we as a firm are moving forward into the new year during these unprecedented times. This past year undoubtedly has been challenging for all of us as we have learned to adjust to a “new (socially distant) normal” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessed the fallout surrounding police brutality and systemic racial inequity in this country, and come to terms with what many consider the most divisive Presidential election in U.S. history. We understand that it has also been a difficult year for everyone across the globe, so I hope you find this message helpful as we share our experience and methods which have allowed us to continue working as a unified community, albeit separated from each other. 

We, like you, have all felt the absence of spending quality time with one another, catching up and checking in. In order to retain a feeling of community among our attorneys and staff, the firm has been doing everything in its power to make sure we have stayed connected during this time. We hold Zoom social gatherings and virtual town halls discussing the status of firm operations, recognize anniversaries within the firm, send weekly emails on behalf of our human resources department providing attorneys and staff with tools and resources to aid in ensuring their physical and mental well-being, assembled a Readiness Task Force that communicates regularly with personnel about the status of the firm and COVID-19 in Illinois, and confirm that the various practice groups and departments continue to stay in close contact with each other.

However, the best bright spot we have been able to enjoy is Positive Quote Friday, which was started by Denise Ziemba, our accounts payable clerk and one of our Fun, Fitness & Filanthropy (FFF) committee members. Denise took the initiative early in the pandemic to send out a quote each Friday morning she felt was uplifting and optimistic as a way to stay in touch with all of us and keep our spirits high. Although she initially planned to do it only for the first few weeks of lockdown and was happy if it made a difference for just one person, the responses from our attorneys and staff were overwhelmingly positive. People who would not normally engage in such emails shared how they were feeling or what they were going through at the time, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone felt a little more connected to one another despite our physical separation.

As a result of our encouragement, Denise has continued to send out a positive quote each Friday and for many of us, it is a highlight at the end of our workweek. I would like to share with you a few of my favorite quotes she has sent throughout these past months:
"The best holiday gift is to realize how much you already have."
“I choose happiness. Not because everything is good, but because I try to see the good side in everything.”
“When this is over, may we never again take for granted:
  • A handshake with a stranger;
  • Full shelves at the store;
  • Conversations with neighbors;
  • A crowded theater;
  • Friday night out;
  • The taste of communion;
  • A routine checkup;
  • The school rush each morning;
  • Coffee with a friend;
  • The stadium roaring;
  • Each deep breath;
  • A boring Tuesday; and
  • Life itself.
When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be and may we stay that way — better for each other because of the worst.”
“Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.”

With a mix of sadness and joy, Denise announced during our virtual holiday party that in 2021 she wants to “pass the torch” of Positive Quote Friday along so others may have a chance to express themselves to everyone in the firm, much like they have been expressing themselves to Denise. Even though we will miss her unique, personal touch that she brought to each message she sent, she was able to get more than enough volunteers to sign up, keeping this tradition alive and strong in the new year—giving us all an opportunity to share in the gifts of others.

While we remain optimistic that the next year will not only bring us back to the office, but move us closer to resuming our typical ways of life, I personally hope Positive Quote Friday continues well beyond that point in time because it is a weekly reminder for us to stay upbeat regardless of what obstacles are in our way and to be grateful for whatever we have. I would encourage all of you, if you have not already done so, to start your own Positive Quote Friday or a similar form of expression with your colleagues, friends or family.

In closing, I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy new year and to let you know that like always, we at Chuhak & Tecson are right there with you.

Mitchell D. Weinstein (312 855 4608), President, Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.
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