My 3 most impactful lessons from 2021
I don’t much like the turn of a New Year. I am privileged that I haven’t experienced anything traumatic that I feel the need to compartmentalize and close off in the former year, moving forward to brighter times the next day. My spouse has certainly imparted a degree of realism into me — an otherwise rose-tinted glasses kind of person.
I don’t look forward to summarizing the happenings of the former year or looking back on achievements, usually because my focus is too forward. I seek to learn from others, taking in more knowledge for ways to improve, things to do that would help me accelerate my development. But taking the time to sit down and write this, I acknowledge that the most effective lessons are those I have lived — even if I haven’t realized it at the time.
Looking back on the former year is a practice that we mostly see plastered across social media, but we rarely take the time to meaningfully connect with ourselves and others. Here are 3 of the most impactful lessons I have learned in the last year:
Say what you mean, honestly and say it when you feel it
I am the furthest from impulsive when it comes to communication, which is much to my detriment in some respects and necessary in others. I have to be borderline political with my communications to prevent myself from oversharing or overcommitting. However, in those close relationships that matter, I have learned that being honest and open — especially with the good stuff — is vital to authenticity and pushes relationships to new levels.
I have always been that person who is too afraid to say what’s real whether it be good or bad. Most of the people I have met aren’t afraid to say the bad or have confrontation, but it is a hell of a lot less common to meet people who are unafraid to share the good. We are born into awkwardness, closeted emotions and embarrassment for telling people how we really feel about them. Don’t be embarrassed. Sure, people may find it a bit hippy or woke, but to the person receiving it, if they really hear the message, it will be one of the most important messages they ever hear. Say it when you feel it — don’t leave any room for regrets.
Letting go helps you to grow
Pardon the Dr. Seuss-age with this lesson. I hate being micromanaged, but I discovered a propensity for micromanaging in myself. I love being analytical, thinking through multitudes of outcomes, processes and systems. However, there is a line that must be drawn between laying the foundations for others and conducting the work of others. I had to recognize areas in my own day that were held up by tasks I could otherwise delegate and trust others to run with. Like a bonsai tree, if we continue to trim the same branches, there is no growth.
Self-talk is champion
I am a huge proponent of self-talk, working through problems and scenarios by talking them through. I prepare for many training sessions in the car on the way to deliver them. I factor in the tone of delivery, setting the scene for players and how I might communicate particular coaching points. Similarly, I work through presentations multiple times with myself. I focus on way in which I can engage people more emotionally, make things more relevant to them. For me, it is not enough to simply imagine or draw something, but rather I have to live it in order to prepare for the best performance possible.
I hope these lessons resonate and follow me into the New Year at the forefront of my mind so I may be able to continue learning and growing.
All the best