2018 is here and we are full of excitement about the future. This is a good time to reflect on the last few months. In the day to day running of things, it can be easy to let things pass us by. It’s only when we stop and take notice that we realise what has changed, what has gone well, and what we’ve learned. Here are five things, from different aspects of my life, that I have learned in 2017.
1) We have done well so far.
When I look at my daughters I can’t avoid but feel pride. Of course, my wife and I disagree, but despite this, we have managed to have a very few but fundamental ideas to rule our parenting. We have both used them as our guide, taking turns in implementing, sharing and embracing them with our daughters. Our three key words are respect, fun, and self-reliance. We don’t fully practice them every day. Sometimes we get them totally wrong. But what is important is the intention. We try to implement these words in everything we do.
2) Things change
As our daughters grow (Sofia is almost 13 and Ana is 11), the conversations are very different. They are changing, and, like it or not, we need to change with them. The conversations are deeper and more challenging. We are constantly reminding ourselves of what is right or wrong. We have to consider when to say yes and when to say no. We have to trust them to make their own decisions. My role as a dad has fundamentally changed and I have to find my new role in a way that satisfies their needs and mine, as well as our concept of family.
3) Take care of the small stuff
On September 24th I collapsed 100 metres from the end of the Ealing Half Marathon. I spent thirty minutes out and then the best part of three hours in pain and cold. And, if I’m being honest, I was very worried. Although I think Silvia (my wife) was much more worried than me. I had trained for almost four months but the days before the event, I totally forgot to think about my nutrition. Work and life took over and I completely forgot to eat properly. I was running on empty. I’d been training hard, but forgotten to eat. I forgot the small stuff. This is a lesson I take not only for future runs, but for my life as a person, a family man and a professional.
4) I know what I am talking about and I am not afraid of saying so.
Throughout the year I had the opportunity to talk with teachers, parents, mentors and educators. I have things to share with them. I am knowledgeable. And I’m confident that I can help people. I love when parents tell me: “I never thought about that, and it makes sense” or “We have tried what you told us and it’s working.” It proves that I know what I am doing. After five years studying for my degree and 18 years of corporate work, I don’t think I ever said that. Now I am proud of doing so.
5- Learning comes in all shapes, forms and moments. Just keep an eye for it.
Some of the biggest discoveries I have had have happened when I’ve been trying to help someone and managed to explain what they might be experiencing in a way that makes sense (I will leave the Dead Rat analogy for another time). When it happens, it’s magic. Every one of those situations helped me and helped a lot of other people understand what they are experiencing, and articulate it in a way that helps them. As my business grows, I am conscious I will have to make significant changes and I will learn new things. I have no idea what they are, when I will find them or if they will work. I just know that they will happen.