Career Development

What I learned in 2018

This is going to be a quick post on the key lessons I’ve learnt in 2018. I hope in sharing these that you can take something from them and maybe learn something new in 2019.

I know nothing really and that’s ok

An eternal theme for me really in 2018. I’ve been continually cultivating a mindset of always learning and being the student in all walks of life. It’s always reassuring as you age that you begin to realise more often that no one has ‘it’ figured out and they never will.

We are all just doing the best we can and figuring this out as we go along. Let no one fool you that they have it all figured out, they don’t and really we know nothing but that’s ok and 2018 has been a better year for me to find peace/acceptance in this.


If you always care what others think, you’ll never do anything

I’ve been telling this to myself for years, yet 2018 was the first time I decided to ignore that worried voice in my head.

Everyone has an opinion and they love to tell you why you should or shouldn’t do this or that, but at the end of the day it’s your life and your choice. In 2018 I decided to free myself from the thoughts and opinions of others. It led me to do many cool things and build something that I’m really proud of but was always hesitant to do due to the fear of what others would say.

The lessons here is that you have one life, you’re the CEO of it and as long as you’re not hurting others – do whatever you want.

Take risks, fail, learn and live!


The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude about the problem

Stolen straight from the philosophy of Captain Jack Sparrow and a sentence I regularly visit.

We all have challenges and pressures in life that we can allow to get on top of us and feel like we have no way out. I sometimes allow myself to be driven by anxiety, so over worrying and doomsday scenarios are a daily normality for me. The ability to take a step back and re-frame what’s actually in front of me in the present has been a powerful tool and most of the time I find that the problem is not the real problem.


I am not my thoughts

I write that sentence in my journal and various note books often. That little voice in our heads can be a real bitch sometimes, yet I know now more than ever that I’m not my thoughts.

We have 15,000 thoughts flying in and out of our head everyday. Very few of these have anything to do with me, who I am and what I’m actually like and I’m learning to accept this.

Don’t let that voice of distraction get you down, make friends with it and look to accept that you’re much more than those thoughts.


Take time to review where life is going

It’s just like Ronan Keating said, life is like a roller coaster, but you gotta know where the hell it’s going, why you’re going there and if you really want it to go wherever there is.

This is where scheduling regular ‘life reviews’ can be useful. I’ve used 2018 to host a number of these short sessions that entail regular 3-4 month pauses to reflect and review on what I’m doing with my life. I’ve spoken about this process before and you can find a framework I use throughout the year here and a more detailed one for a full year review here.

The most important metrics are always focused on if the direction I’m taking and activities I’m doing are making me happy, healthy and serving to help others too.


The work to keep one’s shit together is never ending

As mentioned earlier, I find as I get older that I’m realising no-one has a definitive grasp on what the fuck is going on in life all the time and that’s ok.

Although intelligent marketing and soppy films will try to convince you that once you do x or find x that you can settle down, be happy and will have to do nothing ever again to lead a life you want, I’m afraid this isn’t reality. What I’ve come to find from my own experiences this year is that the task to keep yourself going through the good and bad time takes hard work and it will never end.

Don’t take this as a negative because really it’s a positive as the hard work is where all the fun and learning takes place. Anything worth having requires work, whether that is in securing your dream career, mastering your mental health or keeping in peak physical condition.


I can write, like a lot.

2018 marked the year where I knuckled down on my writing even more and made it my mission to share my knowledge with as many people as possible who might find use in my experiences.

I don’t have the answers to everything or anything really, yet if someone can learn from something I’ve already done or a challenge I’ve overcome through the content I share, then I can sleep that little better at night. On quick review, I’ve written roughly 60 – 70 articles this year, totalling around 100,00 words and I hope they at least helped one person.

For those interested, here’s my shameless plug to where you can find everything that I write and share on planet earth –

I regularly publish content on learning, personal development and mental health as often as possible. I do it because I love it, all the content is free for everyone and if you’re super keen, you can subscribe to my newsletter where once a week I’ll dazzle you with 3 pieces of content to make life that bit more awesome.

Main message here – if I can do something like this then any of you can do it too. Apply your mind and you might be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve.


Share, share and share

If you’ve read this far, you’ll have figured out that I’m giving out free stuff all over the place and I do this because of 3 reasons:

  1. I love it
  2. Nothing will change if you don’t share what you know
  3. There are no secrets in this world

I never got into this writing business of sharing my experiences to make money and I’m still not. Don’t get me wrong it would be great if someone wanted to pay me for being a wordsmith of some sort, but that’s not why I do all of this stuff.

I built a website, newsletter, write several articles a week and share my content across Linkedin and Medium because I want people to learn, educate, and inform themselves from not only my successes, but also my failures. Whether it’s talking about how therapy makes me a better human, developing your career, building a learning programme or switching off the anxious mind just to get a few hours of sleep, we all have something to share that others can learn from.

So if you have something to share, then share it, do it for free if you can but just share it. I think you’d be surprised at just how many people are willing to share their experiences and help you.


Be grateful and appreciate it all because this ride will end

Sad but true, life is a one way ticket and we all reach the finish line eventually.

It’s always easier said than done, yet this year I learned one of the most valuable lessons in being grateful and appreciating all the madness that comes with this ride. Whether good or bad, everything comes and goes, so stepping back from time to time, being grateful for what you do have and appreciating that can be such a powerful source of happiness.


Before you go…

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can subscribe to my weekly “Steal these thoughts” newsletter here.

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