2023 has been a big year for me full of growth and change. I merged my digital agency, we doubled our revenue, I launched a mastermind, started house sitting full time, and completed a 12 month leadership and training program.
Through the changes, I made a lot of mistakes and learned many lessons.
The below lessons are some of the most impactful ones that I learned throughout 2023. I hope they’re useful for you too.
Co-creation creates magic
The idea of co-creating is that anything we do that involves other people is being co-created. This idea shifted my mind from thinking I needed to be the one with the answers and skills, to seeing opportunities to create something new and unique by collaborating with others who have additional knowledge and skills.
This idea of creating with other people led to a lot of growth for me this year. In particular, partnering with James at SGD to merge our agencies, launching Leverage Mastermind with Brook McCarthy, and running our digital strategy workshops at SGD.
By co-creating, I get to work in partnership with more awesome people and it makes the work we do together even better.
Practice beats perfection
This was the theme for me for 2023. I love being good at things and I don’t so much like to be a beginner (which is a bit of a fixed mindset, but I won’t get into that right now).
I used the theme of practice as a reminder that you don’t become good at something without practice. You don’t learn without practice.
With practice you can learn any skill.
Instead of thinking about getting things perfect, I started thinking of things as practice. Every time I would have a sales call or go skating I would think of it as practice. Every repetition was practice and I knew it would help me develop my skills.
If there’s anything you want to get good at or you think you might be deficient with, then start practicing. It doesn’t matter if you suck at it – start practicing and start getting feedback.
You learn so much more by doing than you do by reading and thinking about it.
Work your ass off
This comes straight from reading Arnold Swartznegger’s book, “Be Useful: Seven tools for life”.
Work your ass off. Love the work. Work work work.
A memorable part of the book was when Arnold says something along the lines of “I hear people say; but what about rest and relaxation? Well, rest is for babies and relaxation is for retirees. If you’re one of those, then fine. If not, then get to work.”
The time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well love the work as much as you love the result that you want it to get for you.
This goes for lifting weights, making sales calls, public speaking, writing articles, and anything you want to grow.
What you want isn’t going to make itself happen by sitting around and thinking about it.
Even if you don’t know exactly what to do, it’s easier to start steering once you get yourself in motion.
Get in there and get to it. Work work work.
Take action fast
Similar to the above, but this isn’t just about work, this is about anything. Don’t wait for the right time. Don’t put everything on a list. Get on top and stay on top by taking action quickly.
Learn to rest and recover
I was burnt out a few times this year, needing some days completely alone to recover. I don’t think this is from working too hard, but from what I’m thinking about myself and my abilities while I’m working (not good enough, this is no good, etc).
Thankfully, my ability to bounce back and recover has increased significantly this year through the work I did with Amy Bell, my own mindset practices and improving my physical fitness routine.
Learning to rest and recover is just as much of an important skill as working hard.
Commitment beats indecision
If you’re going to do something, go all in. There’s an enourmous amount of energy and momentum that releases when we go from maybe or not sure to 100% let’s do it.
To borrow a metaphor from Dan Sullivan, if you’re going to go sailing and you have one foot on the pier and one foot on the boat, it’s going to be an uncomfortable experience. Once you commit and jump on the boat, then you’re sailing and you can focus 100% on it.
Read and listen to books
I love reading. I love borrowing other people’s thoughts. The books I read are my own private curriculum of growth.
I don’t hesitate to buy recommended books on Audible and Kindle and I jump straight in, typically with 3-4 books on the go at once. Running and listening to key principles of business and life is something that fuels me in a big way.
Implement books, don’t just read them
Taking action and having lived experience is more powerful than knowing things and being able to recite them. Lived lessons beats knowing theory.
The lessons and guidance is there, but it’s not going to sink in and give you the result if you don’t try it out and see what happens.
One rad thing each month
This concept comes from my good mate Gerard Ahrens when I asked him about how he manages to do so much travel and rad things. He said “as long as I’m doing one rad thing per month, then I’m good. Something to look back on and something to look forward to.”
I now have this as a monthly reminder in my phone. It helps remind me of something awesome I’ve done in the last month and make sure I have something in the future too. This takes 2 minutes and is a really enjoyable practice.
Principles simplify learning
These are the essentials parts of something. Principles are what make it work. The “rules of thumb”. For example, one of the principles of web design is to design for your target audience. One of the principles of weight loss is burn more calories than you consume.
Principles help to keep things simple. They are easier to remember than lot’s of steps.
My mind typically leans towards complexity and lot’s of little chunks, which can be overwhelming and make things hard to remember. I’m going to continue to practice principles to help accelerate my learning and improve my memory.
Constraints simplify action
Constraints are a good thing. We all have 24 hours in a day, there’s no way around that. It’s how we use this constraint that matters.
There was a belief I had where I didn’t want to be constrained, I wanted more flexibility as I thought that meant more freedom. But constraints help to put something in a manageable box.
As an example, I’m limiting myself to 1 hour to write this article. Without that constraint, it could just go on and on. I then need to be creative and focused within that time if I ever want to get it published.
Will it be perfect? Not likely. But it’s going to be done and that’s better than it not happening which is the risk without constraints.
Get out of the gap and into the gain
This concept was the most impactful for me for this year.
From the book The Gap And The Gain, it’s about two ways you can look at yourself and your results:
1. “The gap” is comparing yourself from where you are not to your ideals.
2. “The gain” is comparing where you are now, to where you’ve come from.
The former puts you in a feeling of lack, while the latter builds momentum. It’s a powerful concept that I can’t do justice in these few words, but it completely changed the way I look at myself, my future and my past. I highly recommend reading the book “The Gap and The Gain”
These have been my most impactful lessons of the year, I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did reviewing and writing them.
What have been your most impactful lessons? I highly recommend taking 30 minutes to write them out, even if you never share them. It can help to crystallise them in your mind so you can bring the lessons into 2024.