I used to write every year my reflections on the year like a whole lot of people. It was my bow I tied on the season as I packaged it up and moved into the next. Time passed and I dropped this habit, this year though I feel the need to in a little way close what has been quite a year.
I don’t want to go act by act through what happened this year, instead I want to share some lessons it’s taught me. This is me writing them down as reminders to a future self.
You only have one head so don’t balance too many hats on it
This is a really deep lesson I learnt this year. I am incredibly lucky to not have never had burnout but I think this year was closest I came to it. It’s not something I want to try to achieve and usually have strong practices in place to ensure it doesn’t. In trying to do a lot of things both in work and life, I managed to spend some of this year in a bit of daze. With the ending of one project and move to a more focused role, I can start this New Year defining my boundaries again.
Assuming positive intent is essential
Beyond just assuming positive intent, giving myself time to not just react to any interaction is crucial. It is incredibly easy to just assumption yourself into a corner, but taking time means you can see the human over simply react.
Everyone is a work in progress
This relates a little to the above lesson. Accepting that nobody is set in stone and ‘done’. This both means most are open to change and learning, but also that you can’t be so hard on yourself if you stumble. Giving anyone time to just make mistakes means an opportunity to learn. Apologies exist in language so you can use them if you truly mean them and have learnt from the mistake made.
Goals free you to grow
For a long time I’ve had an awkward acceptance of being someone that felt they could always do better, driven themselves incredibly hard to achieve. This came after spending far too long rejecting I ever had any ambitions of any form. Whilst I still firmly believe in taking life as it flows, I close out the year with probably the clearest professional goals I’ve had in a long time. This is empowering and is already helping me dial out the noise, focus on what really matters to getting me there. I am still open for course changes, but having as a North Star frees me to follow it or take a detour, it’s my choice.
Coaching provides clarity
This year coaching really helped me focus and context a lot that went on. It’s something if you have the opportunity to do I would highly encourage. Through coaching I have come to realise what is important to me and focus on achieving that. I was also able to reflect on my interactions and look to grow.
Passion projects are to be embraced
As the year progressed I stopped working on any of my passion projects. It was probably inevitable due to the pace of the project I was focusing on, yet it meant I wasn’t recharging as much creativity as usual. I grew to miss those things I just did over the things I needed to do.
Meditation is always helping, even if you don’t see it
This year was one where I really focused on meditating every day outside of the meditation I do within my yoga practice. This had a powerful impact on my mental state when I really needed it. I admit I didn’t always do every day, however, those were rare and really noticed, which made me want to experience them even less.
As the year closes I know in 2019 I will learn more lessons and have others underlined I already knew. The end of this year has been a lot to handle but I close it out knowing there’s a strength to be gained from everything I experience. Sometimes I have to really look deep into that event to find it, but it is there. I am grateful for every single person I got to meet, continue to hang out with and collaborate with this year.