Lessons Learned in 2018

By Ryan Burke

2018 presented many learning opportunities. Here are a few lessons learned….

Simplify. Last year felt, at times, challenging and complicated. However, the lesson I learned is that life is only as complicated as I make it. I have the power to complicate my life, and conversely, simplify it. When life got challenging, I focused on simplifying my life by maintaining a positive perspective, avoiding overscheduling and completing my days one task, one hour at a time.

Avoid speaking in terms of “have to’s” and “should’s.” I used these phrases in my language far too often, and I realized it’s a sign that my life is spiraling out of control. For example, I used to tell myself the following statements:

  • “I have to start eating better.”
  • “I should be working right now.”
  • “I have to do everything in my power to meet our business objectives.”

This negative self-talk definitely decreases my motivation. It’s counterproductive. Instead, I am changing my language to speak in terms of “wants.” I WANT to eat better because it enhances my energy and self-esteem. I WANT to work hard because I enjoy the gratification that comes from doing quality work. Along these same lines, I DON’T “have to” do anything!

A final point… Choosing these words carefully is especially important when guiding others to change their behaviors/habits. It’s almost never appropriate to advise someone by telling them they “have to” or “should” behave a certain way.

The concept of moral authority resonates with me. At all times, I want to have the moral authority to guide others and hold them accountable. It wouldn’t feel good, nor would it be powerful to ask another person to practice anything that I don’t own myself. This concept has recently generated substantial personal growth and impacted my ability to lead.

Strive for excellence. Taking the necessary steps to do excellent work is laborious and challenging; it’s also super gratifying! To see people benefiting from our collective hard work feeds more hard work, creativity, and teamwork. This upward spiral starts with an unwavering dedication to consistently meet a high standard of excellence. It’s an imperfect, but wonderful process.

Pick the “low hanging fruit.” This was one of our guiding business concepts in 2018. With countless ideas and strategies, how do we decide what initiative is best for our business? Our approach was to choose items that are realistic, high-leverage, and relatively easy to implement. It’s amazing how effective this simple concept has been. It creates greater focus, and more importantly, allows you to say “no” to the countless ideas that could be good, but create a host of challenges.

To conclude, I will share a personal point of focus in 2019. It is my goal to simply enjoy the process of life one day at a time. 2019 will present opportunities, hardships, challenges, and victories, and I must remind myself that regardless of circumstances, I will stay present and remain grateful.

I look forward to another fun and successful year!