As 2021 draws to a close, it’s helpful to reflect on the year that has passed: the good, the bad, the ugly – and the lessons learned.
Those of you who’ve followed my journey for a while know that I have a fondness for Germany, having spent a year there in 1989. The Germans have a nice, poetic word called “besinnlich,” which is often used around this time of year to wish friends and family a “besinnliche Zeit,” or “happy time of contemplation.” It’s normally accompanied by some warm Glühwein and a family trip to the Christmas market.
In that spirit of reflection, I thought I’d take this opportunity to go back through the top six blogs of 2021 and share some of the most thought-provoking lessons.
One of my observations from coaching executives is that most people believe they’re a good listener. About 96% of professionals, in fact, according to research by Accenture.
But a more sober look at the evidence reveals that many people could stand to improve their listening skills. And in this article, I share what my coach training taught me about the different levels of listening:
- Level 1 listening is a focus on self. You’re hearing what the other person is saying, but you’re so focused on your own experiences and thoughts that you’re not actually listening that deeply.
- Level 2 listening is a focus on the person speaking. You’re concentrating on every word they’re saying, perhaps summarizing their thoughts in your own words as a way to clarify your understanding.
- Level 3 listening is a focus on the energy in the room. You’re paying attention intuitively to the non-verbal information around you: both from the other person and from the emotional field in the room as a whole.
It’s so tempting to believe that we’re a prisoner of our emotions.
If someone stands you up for an important meeting, it’s likely you’ll feel annoyed. If another less-than-ideal event happens, such as your dog pooping on the carpet, then you can rest assured it’s now officially a “bad day” – leading to feelings of grumpiness and repeated complaints to understanding friends.
I’m not saying you can always control your mood. Sometimes life happens, and we just have to deal with it.
But we do have more of an impact on our mood than we think we do. We can always choose how we respond; the Thoughtfully Fit Core Workout framework is a phenomenal tool for bringing awareness to our responses.
And, with a little self-awareness, we can also learn what things influence our moods positively – and do more of those.
This article is a great primer on how to balance your needs with those of the person you’re speaking to. To make these concepts easier to remember, I like to think of them as the three C’s:
- The Courage to be direct and speak your truth, especially when it’s hard.
- The Compassion to express yourself sensitively and in a manner that treats the other person with kindness.
- The Curiosity to ask open-ended questions, go deep, and not believe you have all the answers.
Note that because tone is so hard to pick up on from writing, it’s easy to feel like someone is missing one or more of the three C’s in an email. And, of course, it’s tempting to react in kind!
By keeping the three C’s in mind, you’re more likely to respond thoughtfully, and less likely to lash out emotionally.
I’d been having persistent pain in my butt (yes, really), and felt relief after my physical therapist was able to name the problem I was experiencing.
In the same vein, you can feel relief from your people problems if you’re able to name them explicitly. Some of the common problems I discuss in this article include:
- Triangulation: when you’re having a conversation about another person with a third party, instead of with the other person directly.
- Vulnerability hangover: the feeling of regret after over-sharing with someone you don’t trust fully.
- Negativity bias: if you have a negative opinion of someone in the present, you’re likely to assume the worst from their future behavior as well.
In this article, I describe my punishing Ironman training regime, complete with “brick workouts,” so-called because you stack multiple disciplines on top of each other and your legs feel like bricks afterwards!
Regardless of how hard you train, you will have thoughts during your race of “I can’t do this anymore.” It happens to the best of us – that’s just human nature. The same applies to working towards any challenging goal, such as starting a business.
It’s smart to expect hurdles and have a plan to overcome them when they inevitably show up. For triathlons, that means wearing the right shoes, hydrating properly and getting good nutrition before the race. Together with my training regime, these things help me endure when I want to quit.
Ryan Reynolds’ movie Free Guy, which sees an average Joe in a video game discover his own sense of courage, got me thinking about the value of the everyday hero. Not flashy heroes like Superman, but the average person who stands up courageously to do what’s right.
This article tells the story of Mia, who discovered her own heroic side in an unexpected way. Mia was struggling with balancing work, pandemic life, four kids and three dogs. Rather than pretend that everything was ok, she had the courage to admit she was frustrated and ask for support.
As a result, she felt like more of a leader than the times when she‘d previously tried to put a brave face on it all.
What was your favorite?
So, I’m curious what your favorite blog article was this past year. Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, it only remains for me – and the whole team at Darcy Luoma Coaching & Consulting – to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year! We’re so grateful to be on this journey of self discovery and growth with you.
Here’s to more training together in 2022 to get Thoughtfully Fit!