A few weeks ago for the first time in my life I took the time to write out the lessons that the previous twelve months had taught me.
However, once I was finished it dawned on me that I would have learned much more if I had taken the time in the beginning of 2017 to write down what lessons I needed to put myself in a position to better learn.
Originally I thought that I would remember 2017 as the year I finally began to write, but after some thought, 2017 marked the year I finally began to learn — and I better keep moving forward if I want 2018 to be as great as 2017.
1. Focus more on the “why” behind what I am doing “right now”:
This past week I have been switching out my big office with my 3 year olds little bedroom and I have hated every second of it. However, when I was finished my wife lead my little man into his new room and said, “Your Papa made this for you” and he ran over and hugged me and said “Gràcies Papa.”
I had a choice this past week and instead of framing the work I had to do around, “Making a room for my son and his soon to arrive little brother,” I decided to complain and be miserable.
2. Don’t stop doing the things that work:
For the first few years of our marriage whenever I left the house without my wife I would leave her a funny note telling her how hot she was. Recently I have stopped doing this and I need to make complimenting her a daily habit again if I hope to not only keep her, but keep her smiling.
3. Focus more on inspiring instead of being inspired:
This past year I have focused too much on surrounding myself with people who lift me up instead of being the type of person whose name shows up time and time again when others are asked about who inspires them.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in my life came when a man (who I know had better things to do) said yes to meeting me. However, in 2017, I said “no” more than “yes” to others who wanted to get to know me because I thought that my time was more valuable than theirs. I hate that I did this.
4. Read more books from people I do not understand:
Recently I called my dad eager to discuss a book I had just read. However, before I could get more than a few words out he stopped me and said, “Good. Now go read the counter-argument.” End of discussion. This may have pissed me off at the time, however, he was exactly right. I read way too much from people who share the same world view as I do and if I want to continue growing this needs to change.
5. Ask more uncomfortable questions to people who make me uncomfortable:
Speaking of someone I read too much — in the book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss, said that “Success can usually be measured by how many uncomfortable conversations someone is willing to have.”
I need to get a better handle on the reality of how other people see me so it falls in better line with how I see myself.
6. Give my work more time to breathe:
Every single one of my articles that has done well in 2017 has come as a result of writing it out and then sitting on it for a few days or even weeks — giving my thoughts time to breathe and better connect. One would think that I would have learned my lesson by now but I still rush to prematurely publish something instead of listening to my wife when she says, “Will this be worse if you wait until tomorrow?”
7. Ask myself more positive questions, more often:
Last year I was told that the best way to have a positive conversation was to switch the default setting of “What’s Up?” to something along the lines of “What’s going well?” I did a pretty good job of doing this in 2017 with others, but I did a piss poor job with myself.
8. Introduce more people:
The underlying theme that runs consistent with my “happy” friends is that they are all proactive with introducing others who may benefit from a handshake. This past year I got so caught up in reaching my own goals that at times I forgot that the best way to reach them was by making sure others were reaching theirs.
9. Get back to work:
Yesterday I realized that I had not looked at an article I had published on Thought Catalog and when I opened the page I was shocked to see it closing in on the 10,000 view mark. This feeling was much better than constantly checking Medium to see how my articles were doing.
10. Surprise my son more:
Last year I told my wife that before the year ended one day I was going to take our son out of school and take him to the zoo. I hate that I never did this.
11. Stop worrying about width and get back to focusing on depth:
Every single breakthrough I have ever had that has resulted in growing in width has come from going deep with someone or something. Yet despite this I still prioritise contacts over connections and the number of likes over the number of comments.
12. Eat better:
I never understood on pizza night why my dad would fill up on salad before having a slice or two max. As I edge closer to 40 I completely understand this now and need to move the understanding into action and say no after the pizza void is filled but I am not full.
13. Tell people what they mean to me in the mornings:
Last year I was working with a client and we found that the best way for him to start his day with less stress was by sending a nice short message to someone he cared about. This little 2 minute action got him out of his own head and put into perspective what is really important to him. Yet when stress hit me in the mornings I did not follow my own advice. Sometimes as a coach I feel like a fraud and I need to do a better job of walking the walk.
14. Get better at knowing what to say “yes” to:
The past two years the dots that I have collected have begun to connect and I am finally doing work that allows me to come home to my wife and son smiling every night. However, the biggest challenge I have had with this is balancing what got me here — saying “yes” to everything and trying new things — with correctly identifying what to say “no” to so that I am still growing but not spread too thin.
15. Take the stairs to my apartment after running:
Kind of a no-brainer.
16. Step away when I get stuck:
I have never worked through a problem by starring at my computer, yet I still do it way too often. In 2018 I am going to get up and go do something constructive besides work.
17. Try to enjoy my birthday — aka embrace getting older:
I was once told that we spend the first 20 years of our lives trying to look older and the last 80 trying to look younger. No one is cooler than the wise old man, yet I still get depressed when my birthday rolls around. This year I am going to have a party and actually smile and say thank you when people say Happy Birthday.
18. Stutter more:
I grew up with a speech impediment and still stutter today when I get scared or nervous. In 2017 I did not stutter enough. This needs to change.
What are you hoping to learn in 2018?
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