What I learnt in 2012...AND what I'm going to do about it in 2013

by Karen Adamedes

Just before Christmas I came across a quote by the late Randy Pausch, an American Professor and this kind of sums up my thoughts about 2012:

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted"


Reflecting on the year that just was - what I did get was some learnings and reminders about what's important to me. To make, let's call it a tricky year, meaningful - I want to take these learnings and make sure I actually  use them...take actions and develop plans not think "That's true" but then not do anything about it. 

So before I dust off 2012 and put it in the 'done' draw I've been reflecting on what I have learnt AND how I am going to try and apply this in 2013.

Priorities Change

The phone rang many times in 2012 but three times were priority changing (to say the least). My mother, "I've found a lump", My sister, "The police are at Mum's to take her to the hospital. Her husband has been in a car accident", and my sister again (at one stage I was thinking of barring her calls) "I have a tumor on my pituitary gland".

I am grateful to report that Mum's breast cancer has been removed, radiotherapy is finished, she is, as one of my friends described her on a Facebook pic I posted on New Years Eve, looking foxy.

'Foxy' Mum and me

Her hubbie finally escaped from hospital after a long 12 weeks and is recovering with the addition of a titanium rod in his leg - which should make the next clearance through airport security interesting.

And as I write this my sister (minus the removed non cancerous tumor)  is out shopping with her kids and preparing to celebrate my nephews birthday.

We have been lucky. Very lucky. And I am very grateful.

But gee it was tough going for a while there. Worried. Fearful. Feeling out of control.

And also feeling that nothing else much mattered. But it did. The issue was that with the ring of the phone, the ding of a text or even an email...priorities can change very quickly.

In 2013 ...

I'm going to (try) and make sure I focus on what is important and do that stuff first. Use my best energy, the best part of the day, my best me for what is important to me. Whatever it is at the time. If it's important to me then I'm not going to regret how I spend my time when priorities change. And I know that what is important to me can change in an instant. 

(I'm thinking this may require the removal of a few distracting apps from my iPad - but I'll see how my willpower goes first!)

Learning new stuff is hard

After a minor shoulder injury that took too long to recover I decided that enough was enough and I needed to get actually learn how to use the machines in the gym I had been going to for the last four years and get healthy and fit (and to be perfectly honest lose some weight too).

With some reluctance I realized I needed expert help. 

My previous theory was that I knew how to use the bike and treadmill and I know how to eat so if I just go to the gym more often and stick to the diet, I should be able to figure it out and achieve my goals. Turns out this theory was about as accurate as the one about the world being flat.

So I signed up with a personal trainer. When I found out the sessions were an hour long and that this did not include a workout and time for a coffee I realized that I had committed to something a little bit more than I bargained for.

The first few weeks were especially tough. I felt like an idiot. My trainer (who does not seem to register my fact based comments like "my legs hurt") would show me how to do simple exercises that used my core and I just could not get them! "I've never done anything like this before" I thought. "I have no point of reference, no past experience to draw on to figure this out. I started writing my next book so that I would be spending more time on an activity that I felt competent at.

I can leg press 120 lb / 55 kg now!

Over the coming weeks as I got a little fitter and had a bit of practice I realized I have actually being walking and leaning and standing my whole life so I did have some experience to draw from...but at the time, man, I felt like I was in a whole new world.(I'm quite sure the trainer has a few more tricks up his sleeve and I will feel that way again!)

Fourteen weeks on and I feel stronger, I've lost a little weight - and am pleased that I have stuck it out so far. 

I probably will always remember my "Turkey moment" at Thanksgiving (we don't normally celebrate this holiday in Australia - but I love it!) when I called my husband to lift the heavy bird into the oven and realized I had been lifting heavier weights over my head for the last few weeks so I didn't need any help.  I didn't actually power lift the turkey, stuffing and veg through the air...but they did make it into the oven with no problem!

Learning new stuff is hard but there is real joy when it starts to kick in. The turkey was pretty good too!

The turkey made it in and out of the oven!

In 2013 ...

Stick with training...I have more gains in 27 sessions with my trainer than the other 350 sessions at the gym I had done on my own over the last 4 years. I value the expertise that a coach brings to me. I still have a looong way to go on achieving my goals and a lot more to learn. But I know that I need the support that a coach provides. (Let's kill it in 2013 JP!) 

Apply my insights into my own work as a business coach and mentor; I really understand that learning new stuff is hard! I want to work with my clients to achieve their 'turkey moments'. They keep you going when the going gets hard (again!)

Learn some more new things...if I can squat wearing a weight vest I am pretty sure I can tackle a few new challenges!

It's what you do that counts

This lesson came from my brother and his gorgeous wife and family. Not by anything they said but the fact that they flew across the world, and organised their whole year around being in Australia for my birthday celebration. 

"I told you" he said "Tell us where you are going to be celebrating and we will be there"

Having been a little recalcitrant about celebrating this particular birthday, no plans were made until they announced they were turning up in my home town; regardless. And turn up they did.  

It turned out to be a happy occasion and a high point of the year. Made possible because of the effort that many of my family and friends made to be in the one place at the the same time.

Some of my favorite people celebrated with me!

In 2013 ...

I'm not just going to talk about what I want to do. I am going to do it! 

From the people I'd like to see, the trips I'd like to take and even the type of businesses I work with. Write my blogs not just read about writing blogs etc. etc. 

2013 is about action not reaction!

Action can make good things happen (like the photo above!) 

I love what I do

Work is not who I am. But it is what you do. 

And that's important. 

If you're going to spend your life doing something...I figure it's much more fun if you enjoy it. Writing, speaking, mentoring, data analysis, presentations, strategies and action plans...it's what I do and I am energized when I do these things (maybe sometimes not so much the data analysis...but it has its moments!).

Strategic assignments, speaking engagements, facilitating change and client mentoring - l have really enjoyed my work this year. The knowledge, skills and experience I have gained throughout my career (so far) give me the opportunity, the choice, to do what I love. That is a good thing!

Out and about at a book signing!

In 2013 ...

Build on what I do - publish a new book (maybe two?), new business ventures, more clients! Work with people who stimulate my thinking and creativity and who let me do the same for them.

Doesn't seem too much to ask does it?

2013 is full of possibilities

The trick is to take the actions that make possible what any of us want to achieve. 

For me, applying just some of the learnings from last year - focusing on priorities, learning new things, taking action and pursuing the things that I love to do seems like a pretty good framework to approach the year with...

Would love to hear what your learnings were from 2012 and more importantly, what you are going to do about them in 2013?

Thanks for the chat!


PS to all those who matter (you know who you are!) and who were part of 2012 - thank you!

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