Leadership Blog

3 Guiding Lessons for 2023

Around this time each year, I find myself reflecting on the events of the last twelve months. In some ways, it seems like it was only yesterday when we were ringing in the new year. Where did the time go? How is it December again? In other ways, January 2022 feels like a distant memory.

Regardless, every December I’m reminded of a quote by Soren Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood by looking backward; but it must be lived looking forward.”

2022 has been a transformational year. Looking back over the events of this year, I’ve come to a few realizations:

  1.  Less is more. When I think about all of things I set out to do in a day—let alone in a year—it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of trying to do a lot, I’ve learned that it’s more important to start by thinking about your desired impact. Your intention will clarify which tasks are worthy of your time. Once you know the impact you want to have, you should do only those things that will accomplish it.
  2. Thinking is productive. Most of us are taught that being productive means doing something—being busy, creating, producing and the like. I’ve learned that setting aside time to think is as important, if not more, than doing. The problem is thinking doesn’t look like doing. Therefore, it’s undervalued. The reality is that if you never have dedicated time to think, you are less productive, creative, or innovative—all the things that are necessary for sustainable success. So, don’t shortchange the thinking.
  3. Clarity brings peace of mind. Some degree of ambiguity is often unavoidable. Most things in life do not come with an instructional manual. That means it requires a lot of mental energy to make sense of things or see them clearly. When things aren’t clear we experience confusion, anxiety, and even fear. We all want to eliminate or avoid as much confusion as possible.

    When beginning a new project—or even course correcting at a midpoint—it is essential to devote a little extra time and energy to clearly define goals and markers of success. That can be especially challenging when we’re already pressed for time. But it’s a wise investment; ultimately, that clarity reduces stress and increases our peace of mind. It allows us to plan our next step. With increased clarity, we can let go of doubts about what we don’t know and focus on what we do.

It’s taken me a lot of headache and heartache to come to these realizations, but they will certainly help me in the year(s) to come. As we close out this year, I hope you will take a few moments to celebrate all you have accomplished this year and also to reflect on what you have learned.