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Sunday January 1, 2023
What I learned this year | A review
Thanks so much for your support in 2022.
I started this newsletter to push myself to create. No thinking... I’d summarize what I learned each week and share one thing others might find helpful. It materialized differently every week. I missed weeks, overthought things, and even as the subscriber count grew, questioned whether it was good.
The newsletter is a microcosm for the rest of my life. On paper, I had a great year. My company grew, I made more money, and I moved to Miami. Yet I spent the last two weeks feeling like I needed to do more, despite the facts - like subscriber growth and revenue.
This isn’t a sob story. The past two weeks have been a candid reminder that my life’s content doesn’t determine quality. It’s the context that matters. As we reflect on 2022 and plan the year, maybe there’s a learning here for all of us. That one, plus another two, and a yearend review structure follows.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. Cheers to more learning in 2023 🥂.
🥂 What I learned this year
Energy first. 2022 taught me that the road to learning could be paved two ways. To use product lingo, there are happy and unhappy paths in life. I spent a lot of time on the unhappy path without knowing it, trying to fix situations, fix myself, and improve things. I could work harder, become smarter, listen more, act differently, learn new skills, and more. And if I did all this, I could handle things better. I didn’t see that it was all from survival and not abundance. I now understand that both roads lead to the place.
There’s nothing wrong with learning new skills or self-improvement. But why would you stay in a friction-filled lane when you can swerve? Don’t like the music? Change the station. Leave the party.
We’re too often taught that the best things in life happen by “sticking it out” and working harder. This is bullshit. There’s a happy path where life’s lessons are enjoyable, and this may be the cosmic joke and the biggest lesson of all. Real responsibility, sometimes, looks like walking away. Focus on maintaining high energy, and the rest will fall into place.
Commitment is a way of listening. I believe that whatever we’re committed to happens. The problem is we can be unclear about what we’re committed to or subconsciously committed to some survival-based thing.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re outwardly committed to raising money for your startup. However, internally, you have a subconscious fear of rejection. I say, then, that you’re not committed to raising money. What you’re *actually* committed to proving or disproving your fear of rejection. So in every investor meeting, you’re listening to the person across the table from your commitment level: “Will you reject me or not?”
Fearing rejection is entirely normal, but there’s an easier way to commit. The good news is that all we have to do is uncover what we’re secretly committed to and recommit to what we want. I never looked at commitment this way until recently. Tldr, there were some things I thought I was committed to this past year that I wasn’t—more on that in a future newsletter. For now, you can use the fact vs. interpretation framework below to find out what you’re committed to and go after that shit in 2023.
Context over the content. I’ve found that my story about a thing matters more than the thing itself. The context determines the quality of life, not the content. What I mean by the story is my perception or interpretation of it—how I hear it, see it, and act. I return to this straightforward concept a lot because it works. Our Head of People & Operations at Huddle taught our team the following fact vs. interpretation framework this year.
Here’s what to do:
First, write your story about a problem. Stories include your opinions, thoughts, and how you feel. Next, write down the facts. Facts include numbers, things that happened in physical reality, and words spoken. Once the two are separated, you’ll see where you’re spinning a story, and you can start creating a new one.
This year as you’re setting goals and being intentional about all the things, consider the story and who you want to be, not just the goals.
🧰 Try this on
The Ultimate Annual Review is a free actionable blueprint for conducting a self-paced annual life review. Steve Schlafman created it, a prior investor turned CEO coach. I’ve used it three years in a row. It’s time-consuming, so I usually edit it a little bit at a time during January.