As you prepare to usher in 2023, I invite you to reflect on the three questions I always ask myself at the end of the year:
- What did I create this year?
- What did I learn this year?
- How did I grow this year?
Tune in to the podcast to hear me explain each of the questions in more detail. Then grab your notebook and take some time to answer them for yourself.
Happy New Year!
EPISODE 191 TRANSCRIPTION
Hello, my darlings. Can you believe it, the end of the year is tomorrow? I can barely believe how fast this year has gone. And I wanted to share with you a little ritual that I take myself through every year, the three questions I ask myself at the end of every year.
So you might want to take out a journal or a piece of paper if you are able to do so wherever you are listening to this podcast and jot these things down and then give yourself some time over the next day or two. I find New Year's Eve or really New Year's Day is the day that I do that. And taking some time and just kind of really thinking about your previous year and the year to come. So I'm going to jump right in.
The first thing that I ask myself is, "What did I create?"
We often ask ourselves, "What did I accomplish?" And they can be similar, but I really believe that creating something is different than accomplishing something. You know that I looking up etymology, the meanings of words. And so, I looked up create. It means to bring into existence. Oh, I love that definition. And accomplish, on the other hand, means to achieve or complete. So maybe this past year you completed a marathon or achieved partnership, but I do believe that words make a difference.
One of my favorite books is Language and the Pursuit of Happiness, by Chalmers Brothers. Weird, both names, but like I can talk. And he really talks about in there about how words matter. And I always believe that, of how we talk about things shapes our experience.
And so, for me, the big difference between creating and accomplishing, or at least making the distinction of what you created versus what you accomplished is what is something that is uniquely yours. Because I know if you're anything like me, which I know you are like me, because that's how I know you so well. You're a high achiever, as I am. And you're going to achieve the rest of your life. But for me, I want to be curious about what I created because that's the important thing for me.
It's funny, I was looking at a list of my "accomplishments" or really my goals that I have had over the last 10, even 20, 30 years. And I came to this realization that I have achieved nearly all of them. There's a few left. And I was talking about this with a friend of mine. I say friend, we've never met, but we often email back and forth, and she's a fan of the podcast, and I always look forward to getting her emails. And she was talking about a recent podcast of mine and talking about how she'd taken a class at Yale on happiness, and how as humans, and I knew this research study, so I thought this was so interesting, we are really bad at predicting both how negative something's going to be or how positive. Meaning, how we're going to feel in the future.
We often think that, "Oh, if I get a new car, if I get a new house that's going to make me happy." Or "Oh, if I lose trial, that's going to destroy me." And then when those things actually happen, we are surprised to find out that it wasn't as bad as we thought. Or what we thought was going to be awesome and life changing actually didn't happen. We're terrible at predicting things.
And I thought about this when I was looking at my list of the things I've accomplished, and I have nearly everything that I've ever wanted. And yet, I also find that sometimes is empty because I don't feel that our happiness comes from the things that we've accomplished.
Creativity is so important because we're not just here to find ourselves. You hear that all the time, you got to find yourself. I really believe we are here to create ourselves. Creation is what we're bringing into the world.
So for example, some of the proudest things that I am thinking about, of what I've created in the last year is my community. This podcast community, the H2H community. Yes, I started that years ago, but it's really become a thriving community, especially my H2H crew. And I'm so proud of that.
I've created my brand and my new website this past year. I don't see those as an accomplishment of something that just happened that I, going back, completed or achieved, but it's really something I created along with this new marketing team that we brought in. We had so much fun doing that. And I created my new course, the H2H Fundamentals course. I created a schedule that worked for me. There's a lot of things that I create. I created space in my life.
So what did you create this past year in your life? And if you come up with nothing, "Wow, I didn't really create anything." Then I would ask you; what do you want to create? What's lacking in your life or your world or the world in general? What do you want to bring into existence? This is one of the questions that I often ask myself, especially at the end of the year.
The second question I ask myself is, "What did I learn this year?"
I'm a lifelong learner. I own more books than I can probably ever read in my lifetime. I constantly read. And years and years ago, when I was first starting my business, I had applied to get a master's in communication. I already had a master's in teaching. I wanted to get one in communication. And just like I was offered a graduate teaching assistantship for my master's in teaching, which meant I had to teach a class and then I would get my master's for free, I again was offered an assistantship for a master's in communication.
Let me tell you, that decision to turn that down was so difficult. I remember my business coach at the time saying, "Listen, you have one foot on the deck and one foot in the rowboat, and the rowboat is taking off. You cannot do both. Are you going to get in the rowboat and build your business? Or are you going to stay on shore and get more training and education?"
Oh man, that was such a hard decision because I'm such a student and I love learning and I love going to school and I love being with teachers and I love being a student. And I believe I made the right decision. Obviously, I didn't go and get that degree. I went and built my business and I've learned so much more, I think, real life experience having done that and having made that decision. But I am a learner. That's a huge value for me.
Why is learning so essential? Well, as you've heard me talk about before, I believe our primary learning is really around learning about ourselves. It seems weird to say, "Well, you need to learn about yourself," but most of us have no idea why we do the things that we do, which is why coaching is so important, because it helps you become a better observer, learner of yourself, so that you can make better decisions. This is why I'll always have a coach. This is why all of our coaches have coaches. That's why so many of you, after that Sari's Top 10 reached out and said, "I now want a coach." I'm so glad you did that. Wonderful. Because it's huge, when we know why we do things and we know ourselves intimately, we make such better decisions, which means we have better lives. Just follows, the better quality decisions you're making, the better lives you're going to have.
But life is also all about change. That's why our saboteurs always get activated, because things are constantly changing in this fast paced world that we live in. And being a learner means that you can adapt and change with the world, instead of being stuck.
Someone was asking, this was years ago, about what they should study in college. And they were just very, very concerned about this. And I've talked to parents who are very concerned about this, "My kid wants to go and get a music degree and my kid wants to go study philosophy and they're never going to get a job."
I say, "Listen." Now, this may not be true, but it's going to be true in my mind and this is how I'm going to raise my kid. College is not for jobs. College is to learn how to learn. If you know how to learn, you can do anything. I am a living embodiment of that. I don't have a degree in communications. I do not have a degree in the law. But I knew how to learn and I got the training I needed. I did the studying that I needed to do. And I have learned consistently throughout the entire process. If you know how to learn, you can do anything.
So I'm constantly asking myself, and especially at the end of the year, "What have I learned?" This year was particularly fun because I got to learn all about our avatar when we went into marketing and I learned a lot about marketing. But I know y'all really well, but what the marketing team was able to help me do is really define who our avatar is, we named him Joe, which is so funny because we have so many clients that are named Joe or Joey. So they nailed that one. And really, really learned how to speak to y'all. And that was super fun to learn. I learned about my personal trauma, which is something that coaching couldn't touch and that I've been working through with my therapist. That's really helping me make better decisions as well. I learned about boundaries and how to put myself first. I learned a lot about business stuff, the marketing.
You and I learned a lot about myself this year. So what did you learn this past year? When you sit down to do your journaling, I want you to ask yourself that question.
The third question that I ask is, "How did I grow this year? What stretched me? What challenged me?"
It was so funny, at the beginning of the year, I was having a session with my coach and she and I determined my word for the year, and the word was leap. And so, that made total sense back in January. It was like leap, make these big moves in your life. And so, when we tend to think of that word, leap, we're leaping forward. We're doing something big. And yes, there was a lot of big things that happened in my life. I took a huge leap when I named our new website, sariswears.com, because some people are not liking that. I took a lot of leaps by hiring this marketing team, that is really expensive, but worth every penny. They're amazing. I took a lot of leaps that way.
But I think the biggest thing when I was thinking about this idea of a leap, that I didn't see coming back in January was the biggest leap I made was to pull back. So funny to think about that as a leap, but for me, that was a huge leap. To realize my limits and that I had to take care of me. I had to refund some clients that were waiting to work with me for two years, because I recognized that was old energy I was pulling into the next year. It was old for me, it was old for them. My needs physically had changed and that I could no longer sustain some of the things that I had planned back in 2020 in 2023, no longer made sense. That getting healthy once and for all was going to take a huge leap, meaning a big change, but not in the way we normally tend to look at that word, leap. It was something I had to pull back, work less, make some major changes, hire some more people, so I could do less and focus on my health once and for all.
If you listened to the What If? Podcast a couple weeks ago, I had that big cancer scare. All weekend, I was kept thinking, I was doing that bargaining phase, "Listen, if it comes back negative, I promise I'm going to focus on my health. I promise I'll actually do it this time." And of course it came back negative and I got to keep that promise to myself.
So that leap for me, that growth for me was recognizing that sometimes a leap means taking big action but not always forward. I don't think I'm going backwards, that's not what I mean. But when we think of leaping, we think of, "Ooh, what else can I achieve? What else can I do?" And the leap for me, and maybe for some of you is, "How can I pull back? How can I get refocused? How can I put myself first?"
What did you create? What did you learn? And how did you grow?
These are the three questions. And as I look at those questions, I recognize that those are some of my top values. I love creating, I love writing, I love teaching, I love creating courses, I love learning, I love reading and attending classes and doing all the things there. And I believe that we are here to grow. So maybe you take my three questions and you run with them this Sunday, on New Year's Day, and take some time and answer those questions. Or maybe you look at your top three values and see if you honored those this last year.
Whatever you do, I think it's important that you reflect back, because then, once you reflect, you can use these three things, whether they're mine or yours, and ask yourself the same questions, but for the upcoming year, "What do I want to create?" So you can now be proactive. "What do I want to learn?" And, "How do I want to grow? How do I want to stretch?"
Now, life will have its own thoughts about that. And so, a year from now you may look back and go, "Wow, these are the things I wanted to do. And some of them I did." I knew I wanted to rebrand and have a new website, and I totally did that. I created that, along with the help of my brand-new marketing team. But some of the things like the leap and what I thought that meant actually ended up meaning the opposite. Doesn't mean it's not worth our time to put our intentions out there. The universe, God, whatever, knew what I meant when I said leap. It knew what I needed, but I set the intention that I needed to take big action, and I did take big action. It just wasn't the way that I thought it would look.
So I hope this is helpful. I hope you take some time for yourself on Sunday. If you're listening to this podcast after the new year, Happy New Year. You can still do this anytime of the year. You can do it on your birthday, you could do it on a Tuesday in March, doesn't matter. The point is to be intentional with our lives, both in reflecting and what we want to bring forward.
All right, I've loved spending this year with you. I can't wait for the next year. There's many things that I dropped this year, but this podcast was not one of them and it won't be one of them, I can't always say, but I love talking to you; my friends, my fans, my colleagues. So here's to 2022. Let's make 2023 a great one. All right, bye-bye.
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