Lessons Learned In 2021 – Part 2

Last week I shared with you the first two of my Lessons Learned in 2021. It was great to hear from some of you about how you are doing pulling together your own list, so keep it up (and please keep sharing!).

Here are this week’s installment from my own list:

Lesson 3:Make time for the things that fuel your soul – I find that so often when we set goals and aspirations for ourselves, we can do so by forgetting about the other “stuff”. We grind and work and burn the candle at both ends and obsess over monetizing things and hack at ourselves with productivity hack after hack.

But, my dear readers, there is more to life than doing, doing, doing all the time. And it’s okay to do things for their own sake. Just because you love them. And just for the joy they fill you with.

Earlier this year, when I was planning my “income and impact” goals, I consciously chose to NOT monetize everything I was doing. Sure, the money is important (especially after the smackdown COVID laid on most of our businesses!), but so are things other than money (duh!).

So I gave myself permission to speak and do workshops just because I love doing them. Without an “upsell”. Without an agenda. Without any metrics or targets or KPIs to guide them. I love sharing what I learn and I love connecting with people. So I did over 24 (!) different workshops just for the fun of it and totally for free.

And I loved every minute. I loved preparing, and executing, and fielding questions, and meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. And I let myself enjoy what I enjoy without saddling the joy with justification. Doing what I love and helping other people was justification enough.

So think about where you can add more joy into your life. Just because. It doesn’t have to become your full time job, but do make time for it. After all, how we spend our days, is how we spend our lives.

Lesson 4: Learn how to be content without being complacent – If the past two years have taught me anything it is this. Sh*t happens. Sometimes really big, bad sh*t happens. But even amidst all of that horrible, stinky, mess, there are so many things to be content about. 

And the “secret sauce”, I think, to sustainable careers and sane lives is to find a way to be content with where we are and what we have while still maintaining the drive to strive and do more (if we want to!).

It’s not easy, but this year in particular, I have started to give myself talking-tos any time I start going down a woe-is-me spiral. Sure, I have had some really tough times and really stressful times and really anxiety-filled times this year. But instead of stewing, I remind (read: force!) myself to think about all the great things going on in my life. 

And then I remind myself that even though I want to do better, or build more, or have a bigger impact, I have enough now, too. Content, not complacent. It’s a skill worth working on or we will drive ourselves into the ground with frustration and unhappiness.

See you again next week!

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About Me
Rupal Patel logo
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rupal is a born-and-bred New Yorker now living near London. Her high-octane career as a CIA officer turned serial entrepreneur has taken her from military briefing rooms in jungles and war zones to corporate boardrooms and international stages.

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