The Top 5 Things I Learned in 2022
I know . It seems as though everyone did the mad dash and posted their reflections on 2022 last week. In all fairness, I learned quite a bit last year and it took me just a little longer to narrow it down to a short list of 5. Besides, if I had posted last week, it probably would have gotten lost in the crowd. I hate crowds. So here goes.
1. Personal alignment is so important.
Sometimes that malaise you feel on a daily basis, or on Sunday evenings before work the next day, or when thinking about your career next steps, is tied to being out of alignment with yourself. What does that mean? Well it could mean a few things, but generally speaking you're not living in accordance with your personal values or goals, and are making your dreams take a back seat because of anxiety or fear of the change needed to regain alignment. The long term consequences of caving to that fear and anxiety are stunted personal and/or professional growth, missed opportunities, stress, more anxiety, and often depression. In 2023, do more things that scare you, fill your cup, and resonate with you. Hint: Excitement and the sense of relief from dread are key indicators you're on track to personal realignment.
2. There's nothing wrong with going solo or small.
The game plan for me was always to build big. But I now recognize that big can equate complex, and complex can be entirely too stressful and unnecessary. I can still achieve big things through smart, strategic collaborations and partnerships, all while keeping things simple.
3. Stop sweating most people, because most people don't sweat you.
This is a blunt way of saying that the people in your life whom you have determined may like or even love you, aren't necessarily interested in you. That dissonance can be painful to come to grips with, but once you do, you're able to move forward with finding your tribe that is interested in you. You can tell they are interested by how you hold their attention, how they seek out and value your opinions, follow your lead, seek to partner with you, and how they make reciprocative investments in you and your well being. Too often we can get hung up trying to make people interested in us, even loved ones, and the energy involved in that drains, causing discouragement and frustration. Acknowledgment of this subtle gap in caring about you vs being interested in you allows for a refocused energy devoted to finding your people.
4. Take good notes.
Taking good notes is an underrated skill, period. However, it's not just jotting down all things. It's about building systems that make those notes have value, both near and long term. The growing field of personal knowledge management is centered around these crucial systems for capturing, organizing, and retrieving information at the right times, to tackle creative projects, and to synthesize new ideas by connecting the proverbial dots in the information age where we're faced with information tsunamis daily as knowledge workers. Having a good, personalized note taking system can help tackle the burnout caused by information overload.
5. Anxiety: Drown out the bad voices with good voices.
Anxiety sucks. For some it's chronic, and for others, it strikes suddenly and they lack the tools to cope. While plenty has been discussed and published on this topic, the one thing I found that started working for me in 2022, was drowning out the negative thoughts with positive ones. I mean this in the literal sense by having made a return to audiobooks, which I hadn't listened to in quite some time. When I'm up at 4 or 5am and the valueless thoughts rush in, I reach right over to my nightstand, grab my noise cancelling headphones, and start listening to audiobooks intended to teach, inspire, and basically refocus my mind on improvement and generating healthy ideas. It's been a great way to start any given day.
As I mentioned at the top, the list of lessons was considerably longer and covered a wide range of topics. In "agile speak" these reflections are called retrospectives or retros, and are done on a more regular cadence so you're not scrambling at the end to recall all the things you've learned. So that's my plan for 2023. Every now and then I'll post a retro on something I found valuable and hopefully will be valuable to you in some way.
With that said, wishing you and yours a 2023 filled with health, prosperity, wisdom, peace, happiness, and of course value.