I seem to always be asking my students "What did you learn today?" I will apply this as I think about this past year...what did I learn?
2011 was the year of frustrations. I attempted to work on five very difficult and time consuming projects only to see all but two of them fail. It is humbling to invest hundreds of hours in something and then be unsuccessful. With each failure I have had to refocus and think about why I was attempting the project in the first place and if I should invest in redoing the elements that did not work.
The specifics about the projects are unimportant, but the lesson to never give up is what I am taking from it. 2012 will see me attempting to retry two of my projects. I still might not see success with them, but I wouldn't be happy with myself if I didn't try it again.
2011 allowed me to exercise some much needed courage muscles. While traveling in India this past summer my passport was stolen and I had to navigate the tricky burueacracy to get a police report, a new passport and an exit visa. I am often passive in situations where I am completely outside of my comfort zone. I was fortunate to be traveling with my brother and his family and they were extraordinarily helpful, but ultimately it was up to me to solve my problem. To my surprise everything went smoother than I had been envisioning and most of that had to do with me not backing down. I was assertive and a little pushy when I needed to be and it has given me more confidence should a similar situation present itself.
The last major lesson I learned this year is to take action. I have been talking about creating this blog for almost two years. I had so many questions that I couldn't answer, logisitics to be planned and design choices to make that it was paralyzing me from starting. It is easy to plan and plan and then never execute. I knew that I would regret it if I never just started. This website is definitely still in its infancy, but I am excited to be working on it. I know with all of life's major choices and actions there will be setbacks along the way--the real issue is to not allow the setbacks to completely stop you.
I hope you will take a few minutes and look back on 2011. What did you learn? How will you grow from those lessons? I would love for you to share some of your lessons below.