What I Learned in 2021
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

If you have been following my emails for any length of time, you know that the week between Christmas and the New Year is my reflection time. I purposefully schedule time off so that I can disconnect from my work, take a deep dive into the year that has passed, and plan for an amazing year ahead. You’re probably wondering how I already know the new year will be amazing. The answer is quite simple; I will make it an amazing year. While there is a lot about 2022 that I can’t change, there is plenty that I can change, and by focusing on what is important to me, I can make it an amazing year. Let me explain.

I took the time to review all of my reflections for 2021. I went through each day and looked at my answers to my seven daily questions:

  1. What attitude am I choosing today, and why?
  2. What am I feeling right now?
  3. What went well?
  4. What didn’t go well?
  5. What did I learn?
  6. What will I change?
  7. What was the highlight of my day?

Despite 2021 being another year of COVID, reflecting on the year was a wonderful experience. What made the year amazing and wonderful were the experiences I had along the way. The lessons that I learned. The people I enjoyed life with. The comments people made to me that moved me and will shape my life going forward. My daily reflections allowed me to take experiences and convert them into learnings and memories. Even the rough days became sweeter as I was able to take a lesson from them and make tomorrow better.

Here are a some of my takeaways from 2021:

When your dreams and goals have laser focus and are most important to you, they become greater than your distractions. Welcome to the 1% club. This was a learning that really spoke to me. It revealed that if I am distracted, I have lost focus and forgotten why I am pursuing the goal or dream. Only one percent of people can achieve this degree of focus and clarity.

I spoke way too much while I was recording the podcast. On this day, we had just finished recording the podcast, and it hit me that it was more like a lecture than a conversation between two professionals. Nobody wants to only hear me when they can listen to Marisa as well. Her perspective is such an important balance.

I assumed too much at ___________ and didn’t wait to ask more questions. I had just visited a member company and was reflecting on how the meeting went. During my reflection, I realized that I had made many assumptions before the visit. My assumptions were way off base, so my comments in the meeting pushed the conversation off course. If I had started with questions, I would have been learning what they needed rather than trying to sell them what I thought they wanted. I still haven’t been able to realize that opportunity.

Only people who can see the invisible can do the impossible. I collected about 10 great quotes from 2021. This quote is so challenging for me. It challenges me to see more, look deeper, spend more time exploring, and spend less time talking. When I do, I will see opportunities that others are missing.

These are just a few items from about 12 pages of reflections. I just love reading through the list and reliving the experiences. Yes, those that went wrong still sting, and I am glad they do because that will drive the change I need in my life.

If you would like to hear more about what I learned and what I will change in 2022, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 239 of The Next Page podcast. I hope you will join us.

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