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The 5 Lessons I Learned Last Year

“Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment.” -Anonymous

“Experience is the one thing you can never have until just after you need it.” – Anonymous

Every year, I like to take a few minutes to review the things from the prior 12 months that went well, the things that went not-so-well and the things that I pray lack photographic evidence. That way I can both learn from the bad stuff and work to repeat the good. Here are a handful of life lessons that I’ve learned (or re-learned) over the last year that you might find useful, too:

  1. Do what only you can do. As a leader[*], there are some things that only you can do. Tasks that other people can do should be left to those people, even if they’re not as good at those things as you are. You provide the greatest value to your organization when you put your time into those things that only you can do.
  2. Don’t kid yourself about what “only you” can do. You’d be amazed at how successful others can be at tasks you like to do, if you let them. And, even if they’re not so successful today, they’ll never get any better without the opportunity.
  3. You’re allowed to ask for help. Are you starting to sense a theme here? Remember, the smartest person in the room is usually the one who asks, “I don’t know. What do you think?”
  4. Avoid the guy who says “Ha! Your end of the boat is sinking.” And don’t be afraid to throw him overboard. Spend your time with the people genuinely committed to making a difference. The folks who rush to grab an oar (or, when necessary, a bailing bucket), are the ones that make every day worthwhile.
  5. The most successful people worry more about others’ success than their own. I’m immensely grateful for the folks in my life who worry more about me than themselves. You know who you are. I aspire to follow that example with the people around me.

If you’re like me, I suspect this year had both triumphs and trials. You’ve learned the lessons and likely paid a price to gain them. Call it tuition. Just learn well. Oh, and hope nobody had a camera handy.

What lessons meant the most to you? What did you learn (or re-learn) last year? I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line or add a comment and let me know what you learned last year.

* A “leader” in this context, doesn’t just mean a manager or an executive. It’s anyone who takes ownership for their results. You’re a leader even if the only person you lead is yourself.


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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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