Birthday Reflections 2021 – Lessons, Victories, and Future Improvements

Birthday Reflections 2021 – Lessons, Victories, and Future Improvements

It is my birthday once again, so I need to keep on with my tradition of writing a reflection post. Feel free to go check out my 2019 and 2020 posts.

Like many of you, 2021 has been a crazy year for me. So much to reflect on.

Per tradition, I’ll organize my thoughts into three areas – Lessons Learned, Victories Accomplished, and Future Improvements to Work On.

Lessons Learned

This has been perhaps my biggest personal growth year of my life. I hope I say that every year, but I’ve truly learned so much. Life can be quite a teacher if we let it. Here are a few things I’ve been learning:

  1. Challenges in life happen for me, not to me. I can’t tell you how many books and mentors have reminded me of this principle this year, and it’s something I am learning to embrace. I used to ask “why me?” a lot when things weren’t going my way. Now I try and ask, “what can I learn from this?” Looking back, it’s the hardest things that have helped me grow the most, so I can be grateful for those experiences.
  2. Hold close to those I love. Through the challenges we have all faced the last two years or so, it has become clear to me that we all need people in our lives. Emotional isolation is a recipe for disaster, even if we have to physically isolate at times. 2021 has been an opportunity for me to deepen some important relationships in my life that I have needed to lean on in order to push through challenges. Nothing in life should be done completely alone.
  3. It’s best to assume everyone is doing the best they can. This lesson came from Brene Brown in one of her books. I’ve also heard her talk about it on a podcast. There is so much that stands to divide us as a nation and as a human race these days. Yet when we can give people the benefit of the doubt, assume they are doing the best they can, and seek for a moment to understand them, then suddenly we have opportunities to learn from each other rather than attack each other over whatever thing we strongly disagree about. I keep working on this.

Victories Accomplished

I love reflecting on wins and growth. Measuring backward is the way to go, as it helps me see how far I’ve come.

  • Gave presentations to many groups! I enjoy speaking and sharing ideas and had many opportunities to do so this year. I spoke to universities, professional associations, companies, and as part of virtual summits/conferences. I was also a guest on many new podcasts this year. So much fun!
  1. I kept all my children alive. This isn’t meant to be trite – sometimes that feels like a true accomplishment. My wife is an amazing mom, and together we work hard to nurture and build up our 3 young children. I have a long way to go to become the dad I want to be, but those little moments where your kids genuinely want to be with you – that is a pretty awesome payoff.
  2. More Than Engineering turned 2 years old. Isn’t this some sort of big threshold about companies that make it two years? I’m not going to bother to look it up, but it feels like an accomplishment. Behind those 2 years are the many amazing clients I’ve been blessed to work with and learn from. Seeing their progress and transformations has been awesome. We had people landing opportunities after long periods of unemployment, getting $40k+ raises, huge promotions, new children in their families, and making amazing mindset shifts. It’s an honor to have a front-row seat to their success.

Future Improvements to Work On

There is a lot of growth and a lot of opportunity for improvement. I think I somewhat shifted my mindset about this this year – believing that the fact that I will NEVER be perfect is awesome – I will always have something to work on and shoot for! Cool! Here are a few:

  1. Don’t just read, make changes. I like to read and listen to a lot of books, but you could say I don’t really do anything about many of them except to consume them. I want to work on putting new ideas into practice from what I read this next year.
  2. Have a consistent morning routine. This is not easy for me, especially when you have babies who don’t stay asleep in the middle of the night. Who wants to get up early after that? Yet now that our youngest is older and sleeping better, I’m working on having a better morning routine, and it is awesome when I do it well.
  3. Measure backward. This idea comes from the book by Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan, The Gap and the Gain. I spend too much time in the “Gap” – wanting things to be different or better in some way. Measuring backward helps me be grateful for where I am now, see the progress I’ve already made, and get motivated for more changes to come. That’s living in the “Gain.”

I enjoy reflecting on these various topics. Taking this time is important to me to mark the milestones of life.

Thank you to all of those that have been with me on this journey – I learn so much from you and appreciate your support.

Here’s to another great year!