2017 reinforced for me so many lessons about business, life, people, leadership, managing relationships and so much more. Here are 10 lessons I learnt:
1. As a Leader You Must Have a Vision. You cannot lead if you lack vision. Without vision, getting people to buy into your philosophy, support you and follow through is simply impossible. Also, without vision, you cannot see the big picture or have the necessary drive to take you over that mountain, especially when the inevitable storms come your way. As a leader, your vision must be one that focuses not on you but on those you serve. Have a vision.
2. Say What You Say, Mean What You Say. People will not trust or support you if your words or commitment is not bankable. It holds true in every aspect of life. If you make a promise, follow through. Set the example so others can follow. Also, in the instance that you cannot follow through because life just happens and it is what it is, have the respect and professional courtesy for people’s time to let them know why. Being consistent, reliable and trustworthy will open doors and take you places you never imagined.
3. Fairness and Integrity Matters: Integrity of character, integrity of process, integrity, period, matters. In your business or professional life, you will encounter persons who may deem themselves more special than others and will want you to bend rules specifically for them, irrespective of the detrimental impact it may have on others. You have to have the guts to say “no,” even it ends up hurting people’s feelings and regardless of the positions/titles people hold. Do not let anyone intimidate you, and trust me, they will try. Stand your ground for what you know is right. Also, titles and positions don’t matter. I’ve always felt that way, irrespective of the fact that I do hold many titles and positions. They are simply meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Integrity trumps titles and positions.
4. Stay Focused. We live in a world that is simply full of distractions. You will get many distractions and at times, also have legitimate life issues that make it hard to focus. But, you just have to stay focused. In life, those that are rewarded with great success are those who have had the ability to stay focused and keep their eyes on the prize. Nothing you want in your personal life, right now, is out of reach. If you will discipline yourself, stay consistent, and stay focused on your goal, YOU WILL achieve it. It is a simple law of nature.
5. Have Your Support System. I am extremely fortunate to have a great support system in my family. In fact, without them, I honestly do not know what I would do or where I would be. Have your support system. Also, don’t just use your support system all the time without replenishing them, especially if they are family. Pour into them as much as they pour into you. Re-energize them, love them and appreciate them.
6. Create and Stay in Healthy Relationships. I can’t stress this enough. I believe personal and career success is directly linked to who you surround yourself with. Often, we feel stuck in relationships (romantic, friendship, business) because of guilt or twisted ideas of loyalty. This is dangerous. The litmus test for keeping people in your life has nothing to do with loyalty but whether their values and yours align. If they don’t, let go. Letting go doesn’t mean you can’t have cordial relationships, patronize people’s businesses or help when help is needed. It just means you do not have these persons in your inner circle because most likely than not, they are toxic to your health and everything else that flows from it.
7. Meet People Where They Are. Many times, we set ourselves up for unnecessary heartaches and headaches because we expect people to meet us where they simply cannot. If you are in any relationship and find that you do all the lifting, rather than get resentful about the one-sided relationship whose flames you have chosen to fan, you have a choice to end the relationship or meet the person where they can meet you. If where they can meet you does not align with what you want for your life at that moment, do yourself and them a favor, and let go of the relationship.
8. Forgive Quickly. Forgiving is not easy. But, if there is one thing 2017 really underscored for me, it was to forgive quickly and let go. We often act like we are in charge of our lives when truth be told, we are not. In a blink of an eye, life can just throw us one of those curveballs that simply halts everything and has our lives playback before us in slow motion. Those moments remind us that life is fragile, tomorrow is never promised and we must forgive quickly and let go. I had three personal losses (deaths) this year and the message of forgiving, letting go, and cherishing each day couldn’t be clearer.
9. Healing Takes Time and it’s Okay. You will experience sadness, loss, grief and pain, it is part of life. Just know that healing takes time and you are not on anyone’s timetable to heal the way others have. Take your time and let it come to you organically. Do surround yourself, again, with a great support system and ensure you take care of your health so you don’t stay in a permanent state of brokenness.
10. Don’t Dwell on Past Glories. Past glories are great to remind you where you have been, your capabilities, and what you can potentially achieve. But often, especially for overachievers like myself, past glories can also be a major stumbling block that prevents you from moving forward. When challenges hit, you spend too much time focused on where you have been and either try to repeat the same success or upstage yourself. When you don’t find yourself successful at both, you again have a hard time moving forward. Past glories are exactly that, the past. Grab a blank canvas and challenge yourself to create a new reality.
I hope the lessons that were reinforced for me in 2017, helps you in your own personal journey in 2018.
Wishing you much success in the new year.
Modified and republished for MsUduak.com
Photo description: St. Hope Gala 2017