Birthday Reflections 2020 – Lessons, Victories, and Future Improvements

Birthday Reflections 2020 – Lessons, Victories, and Future Improvements

Today is my birthday. Last year I wrote a birthday post, so I figured I would do it again and take the time to reflect on this milestone of the year. And what a year it has been! Like last year, I’ll organize my thoughts into three areas – Lessons Learned, Victories Accomplished, and Future Improvements to Work On.

Lessons Learned

Wow, I have learned a LOT this year. Some lessons have been intentional, and some have been thrust upon me with the realities of life. Here are a few things I’ve been learning:

  1. Be a giver first in relationships. I have been blessed to connect with and meet hundreds of wonderful people this last year. Some have become new friends, collaborators, and clients. Yet in all cases, the relationships that have been built the strongest were those where I simply sought to contribute to the relationship first. Help and serve with no pretext of getting something out of them. When I did this well, good things happened. Besides, nobody likes a “taker.” 
  2. I can do hard things! It’s been over a year and my business, More Than Engineering, is still going! The creation and growth of it all has been one of the most difficult challenges of my life. All amidst many other challenges and life curve balls that were thrown in 2020! But I truly believe I’m better because of it, and am stronger to do more hard things!
  3. Surrender is a sign of strength. The principle of surrender is one I’ve been working on embracing. Letting go of things I can’t control doesn’t mean I am weak. Quite the opposite. Surrendering is often one of the hardest things for me to do. To be vulnerable with other people, to acknowledge a lack of control, or to feel incapable at times. There is power in bringing these things to light, sharing them with others, and giving them to God rather than holding the pain and struggle inside alone. 

Victories Accomplished

There have been a lot of wins this last year, for which I am very grateful. It’s nice to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come sometimes.

  1. Completed my MBA degree. Taking on an additional 15+ hours/week on top of full-time work, family, and community responsibilities seemed like a tall order. Certainly my wife shouldered much of the burden as well in our household, but worked hard, came closer together, and with the help of many others I did it! And, I was blessed to graduate with Honors! 
  2. Along with my lovely wife, we welcomed a son into our family. I’ve been a proud “girl dad” of two energetic girls, but it’s exciting to have a son as well. In the weeks and months before and after he was born, I’ve spent a lot of time considering the type of dad I want to be for him. While I have dreams of what kind of things he can do, my main goal is to be the loving support for him to chart his own course. 
  3. I have turned More Than Engineering into something of worth (I think) and created The Engineering Career Accelerator program. It’s been a dream of mine to compile together many things I’ve learned into an online course, and I finally did it. And it’s already been a helpful resource to many clients this year! I will continue to refine it to help as many people as possible make a career transition they are happy with. 

Future Improvements to Work On

Well, this list could easily be the longest section, as I have many things I need to work on. But you don’t want to spend all day reading about my weaknesses, so here’s a bit more:

  1. Find and stick with a consistent goal setting approach. I have been kind of all over the place with goal setting. Setting many goals, setting just one to focus on, writing them down every day, only looking at the week, setting 3 year goals, setting quarterly goals, and on and on… But none of the efforts have been consistent. I’m committed to working on a clear goal setting/achieving plan this year. 
  2. Be more consistent with my sleep. I look at it as a pillar of physical and mental health when I can sleep well. I’d like to dial it in so I get to bed within the same half-hour block almost every night so my body can get that optimum daily recharge. 
  3. Increase resilience. Sometimes challenges and setbacks can really get me down. I want to work on getting better at reframing them as opportunities for me to learn and grow. Continuing to improve my “growth mindset” in this way can have great dividends. It starts with acknowledging what I’m experiencing, and asking questions to learn from it all. 

Well, it has certainly been “a year” – and one that none of us were expecting. With all of the ups and downs of the roller coaster of life, I am very grateful for it all. We can’t know the joy without the sorrow and the pain. 

Here’s to another great year!