Alright, so it’s that reflection time of year again, where I have to figure out what I learned this year and then impart that knowledge to you all here. 🙂 Okay, so this year was definitely filled with its own special brand of challenges, setbacks and disappointments. However, this year was also filled with its own unique opportunities, triumphs and gifts from the universe/divine inspiration and intervention that somehow managed to help mostly keep me on the straight and narrow (hey, a saint I am definitely NOT). Anyway, what I think I really actualized and thus learned to fully embrace during the course of this year the most is that all the obstacles that crop up along our life paths are not merely inconveniences to be endured until we can get back to our regularly scheduled good lives.
Rather, those very struggles and how we choose to handle them are also a part of our lives, not separate from them. In that way, those crises are really not unexpected. In fact, they’re also sometimes the things that shape who each of us truly are as individuals and then sets us apart in a significant way from other people. Taking the high road sure isn’t easy, and sometimes it isn’t fun either, but for me, I’ve sometimes found that it’s the only choice that I could live with making, no matter how inconvenient or long term the consequences. So even when life is full of dilemmas, that’s the time to live our convictions the most and walk the walk along with talking the talk.
Which brings me to another point about this year in review. This life is also whatever we make it. Our lives have meaning because we create that purpose ourselves, and then live on purpose. Sure things may not turn out 100% like the grand master plan some of us had stuck inside of our minds, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be happy. To me, more so than reputation, which so many people spend so much of their time bullshitting to build, when it’s meaningless and is really only a hallow shell and more like a façade than who they really are as people, I’ve decided to focus more on my character.
Basically, I really came to understand that character is who we really are, but reputation is who people think we are. I learned that what I want to do is align both of these elements in my life, but who I am and who I believe myself to be is what I want to focus on. That means that my personal integrity and living each day accordingly, maybe not perfectly, but certainly in doing my own very best each and every day, no matter what that may be, is a hell of a lot more important to me. I feel like I’m finally really figuring it all out. What I want, need, am willing and have to do.
This year, I also started to focus a lot more on paying it forward, to reach out and help other people, even when it meant pain in the short term to tell myself and then other people the truth so I could help in areas where we really needed it. It meant mending, or at least beginning to mend fences, having some uncomfortable conversations, but keeping in mind how to build people up. That means, when I had to give feedback on something that may not have gone well for someone, I tried to do it in a way that was constructive and will ultimately help me and the other person grow.
In that same vein, I worked on building stronger relationships with people around me who are the most important in my life, and being around more people that share my same convictions. I worked hard on self-improvement too so that I could know what my core beliefs really are. That way I know what direction I want to take next in my life and how else to give other people good advice and other things they need and want from me too. I thought much more about what it is I want to teach my son as he continues to grow up and why. Also how to leave my mark in terms of legacy while I’m still here, which helps me with continuing to live each of my days to the very fullest.
In a nutshell, I would say this year’s key learning takeaways had to do with general empowerment, understanding myself in terms of my skills, weaknesses, strengths, executive skills/how my brain functions and just general self-awareness. My focus on general self-improvement also led me to specifically improving my know hows and emotional intelligence, including how to best take constructive criticism myself. So this year really culminated in me really striving each day to live my truth and being successful on my own terms. I’m grateful to God that while I don’t quite feel like I’ve “arrived” yet, I definitely feel like I’m on my way and that I’ll be able to help get other people there too.
All in all, I have to say that I’m proud of myself with all of the endeavors I embarked upon this year. I gave it my all and everything turned out pretty well. There’s still way more to do as I have a long, far way to go with lots more hard work before I get to where I want to be. Also, I can’t say it enough – thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that supported me and helped to make stronger during this incredible journey and I can hardly wait for us all to have an amazing and prosperous 2014!
Happy holidays and cheers!