I’ve previously written about important life lessons, but in 2021 there were specific lessons I learned.
Happiness isn’t derived from work, but if your job isn’t on your terms, you aren’t going to be truly happy. In 2021, I found myself in an earnest job search for the first time in a very long time. With my skillset and experience, I know that the job I would ultimately choose would be one that met most if not all of my criteria. In the end, I chose the right company, and I’ve been extremely happy. And a huge part of this is that my boss treats me like a professional and values and respects my contributions.
Good enough is the goal. In 2021, I allowed myself to let go of my internal “to do” list. I designated evenings and weekends for downtime–meaning, I had no expectations that I would accomplish something, such as cleaning, practicing, or reading. If I felt well enough to tackle some tasks, it was a bonus to be proud of.
Leadership means learning to let go. In 2021, I learned the value of delegating work even though I could just as easily do it myself. I’ve had plenty of micromanagers, so I’ve seen firsthand just how damaging it can be to morale. I took on a leadership role and had to give up the urge to do things myself, instead giving the task to the proper person. This accomplishes two things: 1) You show that person that you have confidence in them to do their job. 2) You take a huge number of things off your own plate.
Learn something from everything you undertake. In 2021, I raised my hand to do things I had no experience doing, simply because I thought they were a good idea or because no one else was willing to do them. As with most things in life, results were mixed. But I developed the habit of honestly evaluating the project when it was done to see what I could learn–not just from what went well but also from what didn’t go so well. No project is a failure if you learned something from it.
If someone brings more pain to your life than joy, it’s okay to cut them loose. In 2021, I allowed myself to let go of the people who caused me grief, anger, or resentment, and focus on the people who enrich my life. Hopefully, you can see the positives as well as the negatives in each person, but you don’t have to put them before your own well-being. Some people can be kept at a distance.