10 Life Lessons I Learned in 2022

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10 Life Lessons I Learned in 2022

By Jocelyn Little

Another year has come and gone. Time seems to be passing me by faster each year. As I reminisce of the past, loving memories bring a warm smile to my heart. Year by year, we go about our days as we always do; we face our challenges and adversity, we celebrate our wins and special occasions, and we prepare for another year to begin. If we aren't mindful, life will pass us by. Each year is filled with memories, and we become another year older, but have we become another year wiser?

If I look at this past year alone, it has been filled with amazing experiences, as well as mistakes, challenges, and things I wished I could change or remove completely. Such is life. I found myself asking, “what is life asking of me now?” quite often. Our mindfulness guru, davidji, once said that each moment is perfect, the good and the bad, because it is these moments that make us who we are meant to be. (He, of course, said it much more eloquently.) The great moments are the easier moments to accept and enjoy. The challenging ones are where we discover a lot about ourselves. I am grateful for all of these moments. Of course, in the moment of adversity, it was easy to lose myself in anger, fear, frustration, and/or negativity if I didn’t mindfully control these emotions. However, as I look back, it was in these moments that I saw how strong I can be, how courageous I can be, how creative I can be, how empathetic, or forgiving, or caring I can be. It was in these moments that the greatest growth and learning opportunities lie, if I was aware enough to see them. 

Some of the greatest learning comes from reflection. There were many lessons and reminders that I take with me into 2023. Here are my top 10:

  1. I must believe in myself as others believe in me. Leadership is hard. Being a mother is hard. Being a daughter, or significant other, or friend or team member can be hard. I am not perfect, but the people who care about me and are there for me — my family, my friends, my team — believe in me. I need to have the confidence to see what they see and believe in my endless possibilities. I won’t let them down, and I won’t let myself down.
  2. Love, humility, respect and empathy go a long way, especially when hard conversations are needed. I have had to have more hard conversations this year than I would have liked to. I’ve always considered myself as someone who isn’t good at those kinds of things. But as a leader, as a mother, as a friend and team member, I owe it to the people I care about to have the hard conversations. Are the conversations done perfectly? That’s a big NO! But, if done with respect, love, humility and empathy, the outcome is usually what it needs to be. And knowing about the person helps with how these conversations are conducted. 
  3. Courage doesn’t have to be a grand gesture but must be present in all that I do. Sometimes courage is quietly taking a step forward in the right direction, even if no else one notices. There were things I didn’t want to do, or was afraid of doing. There were things I dreaded and put off until I no longer could avoid it. In these moments I took a deep breath and just moved forward, even if it was a small step at a time. (And sometimes breaking the task at hand into small steps helped to move things along faster.)
  4. Sometimes saying nothing is saying a lot. I’ve heard this many times, as I’m sure we all have. Sometimes all we should do is listen. Whether it was a friend needing to vent or my son expressing his frustration, sometimes they didn’t need my advise. Sometimes they simply needed my support, to know I was there for them, and my comfort — not necessarily through words but through my undivided attention. 
  5. A positive shift in perspective can make a world of a difference. I have noticed my son always focusing on the negative side of things. In helping him to shift his focus has really shifted my focus. Every night we meditate, reflect on three things we are grateful for that happened that day, and discuss our “win” for the day. It has forced us to begin to see all the good in our day and while we don’t ignore the day’s challenges, we began to shift our focus from how the challenges negatively impacted us to what we can gain from them.
  6. It could always be worse. Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. When bad things happen, I have to remember that it could always be worse. For example, two days before Halloween, an Uber driver rear ended me at a red light and took off before I could get his information. I was so angry and began to get annoyed at the inconvenience I would now face of going to the police station to file a report, going through my insurance for repairs, getting my car repaired, and all the small things I now had to do that I didn’t have time for. However, no one was injured, my car wasn’t badly damaged, and I had good friends who were on scene to support me. It could have been worse!
  7. Productivity can be enhanced with the right systems in place — and can help with stress, feeling overwhelmed, and to increase accomplishments that matter. Our team went through the Baseline to Beyond course from the Flow Collective Research. One of the biggest takeaways for me is that simple systems (like scheduling even the smallest things or creating rules for yourself to minimize unnecessary decision making and brain power usage) can make a huge impact on our productivity and output. 
  8. Tomorrow is promised to no one. We all know this. But do we pay attention to it? We must make time to spend with those we care about before it’s too late. (Perhaps including it in a daily schedule can help!) My family is a pet-loving family. We love our pets like family members; our three dogs and guinea pig! Our dogs range from 16 years old to 2 years old, and we had our guinea pig for 3 years. This past summer, while we were focused on our elderly dog and his aging health, our guinea pig unexpectedly passed away. My son, who adorably said he was her papa, took it the hardest. He always struggled with giving her the attention she needed. No one expected her to die so young. He has stated that his biggest regret is not spending the time with her as he could have. His broken heart breaks mine. 
  9. Actions speak louder than words. Again, another one we all know but sometimes don’t give the attention it deserves. My mentor has more on his plate than he should…he often takes on the world so that the burden doesn’t fall on others. We always try to limit what we bring to him as to not add more to his plate, especially when we can figure things out on our own or schedule other perfectly capable team members. However, when I really do need him for guidance, coaching, advice, support, a shoulder to cry on, he never fails me. No matter how busy he is, his actions have shown that I can trust that he will be there. Leaders are not perfect, may make mistakes at times, but their actions always shows others what kind of leader they are.
  10. There is no such thing as perfect — therefore being perfect is merely striving to be as close to perfect as you can be. My mentor taught me that. I am a perfectionist. But sometimes trying to get things perfect ends up working against me rather than for me. When I took Seth Godin’s AltMBA course a few years ago, one of the biggest lessons I took away was that sometimes you just have to “ship it” — get it done — and then work on incremental tweaks along the way to make improvements. If I am so focused on making something perfect, how much am I missing out on because that unperfected thing isn’t in use? (As you can see, years later I am still learning and re-learning this one...)

My bonus lesson of 2022 (because "top 10" has a better ring to it than "top 11"): Letting go and forgiving myself and others is hard — but necessary. Take the lessons and let go of the past. Learn from the struggles and challenges, but let go of the rest. Focus on what is within your control, let go of what isn't. It’s much healthier that way, literally!

The end of the year always brings a feeling of nostalgia, but also hope, curiosity, and excitement for the new year. By reflecting on the past year, I am able to carry my learning into the next year and ensure that I become a year wiser if I intentionally apply my learning. I hope you take some time to reflect on your top lessons and reminders from 2022 so that you can carry them with you into the new year. 2023 will be an epic adventure, and I cannot wait to explore its possibilities! I trust you will, too!

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