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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lofshult

2021 in Review

I find it useful at the end of the year to take a look back at the past 12 months to take stock of where I've been and what I've learned. It's a useful practice from positive psychology to celebrate the victories and identify the lessons learned from the previous year.

So with that said, here we go.

What went well in 2021:

  • I completed a twelve month long coaching program through the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). As I reflect back, I realize that beyond the material I learned in class, which was substantial, I also met a lot of amazing coaches with whom I've built relationships that will last long beyond the coaching program. Coaching has become a calling for me and I'm finding tremendous satisfaction as I work with others and get to witness to positive strides they make in their own lives and careers. And with every coaching engagement, I learn from my clients something, too.

  • I ran my first marathon. This is something that had been on my bucket list for many years and I decided this would be the year to make it happen. As it worked out, the race also coincided with the two year anniversary of lung surgery in which I'd had one lobe of my lungs removed. There were a few days when I didn't find the time to train, but those were few and far between. And the longer I trained, the more I enjoyed it. The long weekend runs initially intimidated me, but I came to enjoy the hours long runs that allowed me to finish several books on Audible. Race day turned out to be beautiful - the first time in several years it hadn't rained, according to the race coordinators - and I finished the race in my goal time. I certainly didn't set any records, but I did what I'd set out to do and that itself was a win.

  • I was invited by some of my UTD coaching peers to join Fortune 100 Coaches, a coaching business they were kicking off to help democratize coaching for business professionals. So often, coaching in organizations is reserved for the top executives. However, everyone can benefit from coaching, but not everyone has the opportunity. Now, Fortune 100 Coaches seeks to change that by working with organizations to bring coaching to leaders who want it. I'm very excited about being apart of this organization and contributing to its mission.

What lessons did I learn in 2021

  • The importance of celebrating little victories on your journey. Don't wait until you reach your goal. For me, getting out and doing the long, grueling runs as part of my marathon training were not fun and were sometimes physically painful, but each time I completed a training session, it was a win for me. I was able to celebrate each one and in the end, completing the race was a victory, but it was also just one more step along the journey to celebrate.

  • The power of coaching. As I've worked with clients during 2021 and as I've received coaching myself, I've had the opportunity to witness the strides people can make forward in their lives as they figure out what's really important to them, setting goals to get there, identifying the obstacles in the way, and creating plans to deal with those obstacles when they're encountered. I've seen clients make decisions they've been stuck on for months, others make changes in their behavior to become more effective at work, and still others who were able to realign with their life vision and start taking steps toward making it real.

  • The value of savoring life experiences. One of the findings of positive psychology researchers is the impact on well-being of savoring experiences in our life; that is taking a little time to be mindful of good experiences in our lives rather than letting them pass by in the moment as we move on to the next thing. In my life, one of those experiences was the family vacation we took to Estes Park this summer. This was the second summer in a row we went to the same cabin, which my whole family absolutely loved. In the past, I would have focused on getting activities planned and keeping busy, and would find myself getting frustrated when the kids fought or weren't having a good time. However, this year I took time each day to instead reflect on the experiences we had that day and to focus on the fun we had each day. This made the experience deeper and more meaningful for me. And it was more fun! It won't be long before it will be difficult to have family vacations like this, as the kids start getting married and having families of their own, so I want to make the most of it while it lasts.

I'm excited to continue my exploration of positive psychology to apply to my leadership and to my coaching practice to help other leaders in 2022. And I look forward to sharing all of what I learn with each and every one of you.

I wish you each a very Happy New Year and I hope the new year brings you all the happiness and success you desire.

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