Reflections, Lessons and Insights from 2017

Whilst I was completing my quarterly review a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much my life had changed in the space of a year, and consequently how different my goals are for this quarter and for 2018 overall. Let’s just say 2017 will be chalked up as a year of growth and learning for many reasons, not least of those being involved in the craziness of a start-up company in Europe, and eventually ending up living out of a suitcase for 6 months with various members of my family around the world. Needless to say, 2018 is looking decidedly more prosperous!

The reflections on last year also got me thinking about the richness of the lessons I’d learned both personally and professionally from such an experience, and which I had–thankfully–captured in my weekly journal. Another trip down self-reflection lane had me compiling these learnings into one document–29 pages worth!–many of which I still find very appropriate and applicable today. Although I am now in a much better place in my life, so many of these lessons are valuable enough to keep reminding myself of on a regular basis, in order to become the person I aspire to, create the life I envision, and achieve the career goals I’ve set for myself.

I am not one to set new year’s resolutions, instead I set intentions (which I have written about previously). Essentially, these are ways in which I wish to improve or modify my life, or myself, over the course of the year. This was a timely reminder that I have a list of insights and learnings, that are my very own and from my own experiences, that are still relevant now and many can be included in my next quarterly plan, in order to really assimilate them into my life daily – through my thoughts, actions and behaviours.

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Many of these learnings were quite universal and may be applicable to anyone, so I thought it might be worthwhile sharing some of them to the benefit of others. Don’t worry, I have whittled down the original list spanning 29 pages into a more concise list of 40 of the most pertinent lessons I learnt, in what has been one of the most interesting and challenging years of my life. I hope that they also can bring some insight into your own life and perhaps improve it for the greater good of your personal and professional growth. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. You can’t conquer your goals still attached to old habits; let go to continue evolving. The hardest habits to break are the ones that need to be broken the most.
  2. Our only limitation is ourselves. Our own beliefs about what we can and can’t do holds us back from committing 100% to the projects that matter and that will make an impact.
  3. Focusing on creating and providing value to others eliminates the fear surrounding the actions you need to take.
  4. Focus on what you want with positive intentions, and allow life to unfold.
  5. Assuming the outcome of situations closes you off to possibility. Asking questions opens up a host of opportunities.
  6. Starting each day early creates more time to do what really matters.
  7. Choose to reframe situations positively, to extract the most learning and enjoyment from it.
  8. Prepare for the future from the lessons learned in past experiences.
  9. Asking the right questions connects people and encourages them to talk. People open up when they know you care.
  10. Everyone has unique, special qualities to offer the world. Finding these first and making them a focus of appreciation allows you to be fully present in the interaction, and removes you from a place of judgement.
  11. Focusing on why we do certain tasks and the benefits it will bring allows us to complete tasks that we don’t enjoy. Find the connection and make it meaningful.
  12. Bold action is the way to make great leaps forward.
  13. Everyone who is successful has put themselves out there, shown their personality, taken risks, and expressed their beliefs and philosophies unashamedly to the world.
  14. The path towards our goals is rarely straight; be prepared to take the windy road to get there.
  15. Risk, by definition cannot be controlled; let go and embrace the experience.
  16. Stop striving for perfection; simply taking action makes greater leaps forward.
  17. Success is all about iterations. Rarely will we get everything right the first go, it takes feedback, testing and personal and professional growth, to make each iteration a success unto itself.
  18. People will always have opinions, but what they think is of no concern. Embrace your decisions, choices and beliefs in life and let go of the fear of judgement.
  19. Cultivate open-mindedness. Go to the opposition’s camp and take a look around, talk to them, listen to them, and experience their reality, in order to better understand their mindset and perspectives.
  20. Being a leader means you bring the energy, set the tone, and add the pragmatism that ensures smart decisions are made for ultimate success.
  21. Naivety is a good thing. We don’t always have to know everything all the time, and we don’t have to know everything to get started; we just have to take the first step and allow the journey to unfold.
  22. Be brave enough to make big changes in your life, shake it up, and experience the new reality. Get feedback and make another change. Evolve, daily.
  23. Your personal problems are reflected in your business; your business is a mirror.
  24. Focus on one task each day with 110% certainty that it will be done; achieve it, acknowledge the accomplishment, and then move on to the secondary task. Maintain positive momentum.
  25. Having a clear vision provides the goal posts to work towards, and is a great decision-making compass. You can’t say yes to everything.
  26. It’s not a mistake when you make it twice; that’s a choice.
  27. Indecision spins wheels, and keeps perpetuating the stagnant situation. Indecision is a decision.
  28. Everything in our physical life is an iteration of our thoughts. Control your mind, control your thoughts, control your life.
  29. Be insatiable for learning. Make your brain a weapon and your most valuable asset.
  30. Walk your talk. Always.
  31. We can’t control what people think of us, but we can choose how we interact with them; this is 100% in our control.
  32. Experience and a track record mean more than book smarts; being able to “do” is more important than being able to “tell”.
  33. Hope is the cornerstone from which optimism and positivity stem from. From hope comes knowing, confidence, and strength. No matter what is happening around us, we can always have hope.
  34. Take time out to refresh, reset and rejuvenate mentally and emotionally, to keep progressing and achieving our goals and living our purpose.
  35. Focus on solutions rather than on the detail of problems. Expand our awareness to a higher level and the solutions will start flowing.
  36. Let go of expectations about everything in life. Our preconceived notions only prevent us from finding true happiness and enjoying life in the present moment. Accept the events that unfold in front of us and make the most of the situation.
  37. Always look for the opportunity in every situation; find solutions rather than accepting defeat.
  38. Surround yourself with highly motivated and successful people that lift your motivation, inspiration, and enjoyment, in order to stay focused on your goals and achieve your vision.
  39. Happiness is a choice, freedom is a choice, suffering is a choice, negativity and pessimism is a choice, worry is a choice. We are able to make choices every day that determine the mental state we exist in. If we learn to take control over our thoughts we can change our emotions and our experience in the world.
  40. We are all just like onions. Throughout life, we continuously shed layers as we evolve, in response to new experiences, learnings, interactions and personal growth.

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