As we conclude 2020 and begin 2021, below are 12 thoughts that have resonated with me throughout the course of the year, three questions to ponder, and one word I will try to live by.
- The Fine Print. People who you once trusted will turn their back on you. Your best efforts won’t always be rewarded. The best version of yourself won’t always show up. You will be negatively impacted by things you cannot control. The good news is overcoming and embracing the fine print of your dreams will give you the character you need to sustain your dream when you achieve it.
- Be Present. The only thing we have is the present. Focus on the things in front of you and only the things in front of you. Others should not pay the price because you lack the discipline to be where you need to be and when you need to be there.
- Seek people different than you. Don’t sit in the comfort of your own habits and thoughts. It is narcissistic to expect people to think, act, and find productivity exactly the way that you do. The thoughts, routines, and methods of people unlike you will challenge your perspective on how you do things. This is where growth occurs.
- Perspective: The art of being objective. Things are never as bad or as good as what they seem. Don’t think of what it should be or what it ought to be. See it for what it is and figure out how you can use it to make you better.
- Know when to stop. Do not mistake activity for achievement. There is a time to go on and a time to slow down. Recognize when you are not producing meaningful work and find ways to recharge so you can get back to it.
- Ask questions. Find gaps in your understanding and craft questions so you can resolve them. If you haven’t found something you don’t quite understand, you’re not actively listening and grappling with the ideas of someone else. Interesting people are interested. We all have something to learn from everyone.
- Learn to self-evaluate. Not recognizing your weaknesses will prevent you from improving on them. Great coaches are great self-evaluators. They know who they are, where they fall short, and what they’re willing to stand for. A career of service must start with awareness.
- If you work, inspiration will come. If you wait, inspiration will wait. Show up. Do the work.
- Provide value to get value. Don’t just be a taker. Leverage your strengths, create something useful, or help someone else solve a problem. In the words of John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
- Keep shooting. Everyone’s first drafts stink. The more you create, the better your work will become. What you see as an overnight success was really the accumulation of years of work that compounded over time. Perfect is the enemy of good. Get things on paper before you worry about them being perfect.
- The things that are most obvious are often the most elusive. Bring to life what most people do not notice. Everything you need is already here right in front of you.
- Seek meaningful work with meaningful people. Work never feels like work when both of these are met. Careers need purpose. This starts with the people you surround yourself with and the depth of the mission you seek to achieve.
Three Questions (all from James Clear’s weekly newsletter):
- What is a mistake I seem to repeat every year? How can I avoid that this year?
- What is the one thing you could accomplish today that would make today a success?
- How long will you put off what you are capable of doing just to continue what you are comfortable doing?
Talent needs trauma. Don’t just seek uncomfortable moments. Crave them.
Let’s kick some ass in 2021.