The Final Two! – Lessons Learned In 2021

Here are my final two Lessons Learned in 2021. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing their lessons with me these past few weeks, and here’s to all of us never viewing another year (or day or week or month) as a “waste”… it’s only wasted if you let it be.

Lesson 7: Good health makes all the difference – Now I have a confession to make. Whenever life gets busy or stressful, my fitness is the first thing I drop. I stop working out, I start eating Hula Hoops, and I wake up later than I want to.

And for the past two years – full of COVID upheaval and having a new baby – my life has been very busy and very stressful. So my fitness slipped. And every day I would feel it in my body. Every day I would feel slightly “gross”. Every day I would feel this untapped well of energy 
desperate to burst forth through some form of physical exertion, and every day, it would wither and die for waiting.

It was getting out of hand. And I know that how I feel IN my body (not ABOUT my body) has a huge impact on my performance. So at some point in the summer, I gave myself a kick up the a$$ and made a plan to get back to myself. 

I started doing the Couch to 5k program. I signed up for online ballet and yoga classes. And I made a schedule of workout times that I protected from work or other tasks.

And a few days into my new routine things started to fall back into place. I was eating better. I was sleeping better. I felt better. And I was performing better. (I was also being nicer to the people I love.)

You guys, it’s a cliche and often-said for a reason: health is wealth. And when we are on top of our health, it has trickle down effects on EVERY aspect of our lives. So whatever you do in 2022 and beyond, find a way to invest in your health. Whatever that means to you. And see the positive difference it makes.

Lesson 8: Say yes to (some) opportunities that come your way – Now this lesson comes with a caveat. I am the first to remind anyone who will listen that “no” is one of the most important words we can master. BUT, what you say no to is less of a science and more of an art. And sometimes we have to keep our eyes open for opportunities that would be easy to say “no” to – because we don’t view them for what they are – but that we should say “yes” to.

Earlier this year, I joined an author’s forum. I had bought a ticket for an event where literary agents go to find new talent, but then a friend of a friend kindly offered me her place at the same event two months sooner. It meant that I would have to get my submission materials together that much faster, but also that I would get to meet agents that much sooner. 

So I said yes.

And that was the event where I met my now-agent who got me my now-book deal.

It would have been easy to say “no” to that friend of a friend. I could have told myself that I needed more time to put my materials together. That I was too busy. That my newborn was too new for me to make time. And a whole litany of other excuses.

But I didn’t. I said yes. And then I found a way to make things happen.

And that’s how it is for so much of life. When we say yes to something, we find a way to make it happen. We have to. So we do. 

And that’s why we need to keep an eye out for the opportunities that may not look like obvious opportunities. And we have to be willing to take a chance even if we don’t realize it’s a chance worth taking.

This is a tricky one to give a concrete lesson about. As I said, seeing and taking opportunities is more art than science. But if you start practicing, you’ll get better. And you’ll see which chances are worth taking and which are worth passing on. 

Remember, some opportunities may never come back to you. So be careful and selective. And be ready for magic to happen. 

I would love to hear from even more of you about your Lessons Learned in 2021, so please do get in touch! With Christmas just around the corner, here’s to a great end to 2021 and bring on 2022!

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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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