As this year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what I’ve learned or what lessons have been reinforced for me this year. While I acknowledge that this post is largely self-serving and reflective, I’m posting it as a way to “share my work” with you so that you can take from it what you’d like (or ignore it entirely).
I think that from a learning perspective, this may have been one of my most successful years of my professional life. I have taken risks, a lot of risks, and some have paid off while others have not. Within all of these risks, I’ve learned a lot about myself and have extracted a lot of lessons that I think will fuel my success in the future.
Here’s a list of the things that stand out on my list of lessons learned:
- Collaboration is the killer app. I love working with and collaborating with others. It is more fun to create collaboratively than by yourself. And, you almost always come up with a better product when you put a lot of smart heads together than if you work alone. It can be messy and crazy at times, but the work product is almost always better.
- Focus is critical to accomplishing big goals. And, focus is hard. It requires a level of discipline that is not natural to me.
- Social media is a great tool, but you have to be incredibly intentional about how you use it in context of business. Because social media is fun and rewarding through immediate feedback, it can start to feel like it’s productive work while it’s distracting you from doing the things you really should be doing instead. Letting go of my compulsion to blog and be constantly engaged in the social media frenzy was one of the best things I did this year.
- Speaking our truth is the most important thing we can do. Even when you are afraid and even when you aren’t sure what will happen after you speak it, the truth will set you free. I forget this once in a while, but it has always proved to be true in my life on every level, personal to professional.
- Being all in on anything without a safety net is both scary and liberating. It’s like the old story about the leader who burned the boats his army rode in on so that they had not option but to win the battle before them. It took me a while to realize that I had not only one boat but a few boats docked in my harbor. I’ve been in the process of setting fire to them, one by one. In 2013, there will be no boats left. I will fight my battle all in. Succeed or fail, no hedges, no back up plan. (This is closely related to the bullet about focus.)
- Advising others is far easier than knowing your own path. It is a gift to have mentors and advisers in my life who continue to shepherd and guide me through what has proven to be a crazy and winding journey. I’m not sure what I would do without their wisdom and kindness.
- Relationships matter. This shouldn’t be a surprise that I say this because I co-wrote a book about it. But even I continue to be amazed by the power of relationships in my life. I have come to know a lot of really amazing people who continue to be amazingly generous and supportive. It is a blessing.
That’s a wrap for 2012. I hope that you’ve all been blessed with learning and opportunity in 2012. Let’s go make some magic happen in 2013.
Happy New Year!