It’s almost the end of the year (maybe even the end of the world, if you’re a Mayan). I’m desperately craving a creative spark to generate some creative writing skills (and if you’re reading this, you probably are too), but as I’m in the midst of last-minute shopping, high-caliber proposal drafting, new company scheming and dreaming, and trying to complete the to-do list on my desk before I’m outta here for a week, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. So instead, I figure I might as well copy what every one else does this time of year: put together a list. Here goes:

Five things I learned in 2012.

1. Good doesn’t always will out, but when it does, it’s tremendously reassuring.

Not to get all political or anything, but the truth is I want an intelligent president. Not just someone who’s willing to be “the decider”. Not just a guy who wants the job, but someone who wants to lead in a way that considers the will of the people with an objective eye to what’s in the best interest for them. This year, that happened. It might have come closer than we would have hoped, but it did, and in my opinion that’s a good thing. Especially in light of all that’s happened in the tail end of this year.

2. The only way to get comfortable is by being uncomfortable.

We live in uncertain times. I work in an industry that is changing by leaps and bounds on a monthly (if not weekly) basis. My children, my spouse and I all continue to get older. And no one knows what tomorrow brings. That said, the only constant is change. You can spend a lot of wasted energy fighting it or trying to master every single little detail, only to have them be irrelevant in a week. I’ve decided it’s a hell of a lot easier, and way more fun, to embrace the change. Learn to be more flexible. Embrace continual learning. Train yourself to fly by the seat of your pants. Just enjoy being part of it.

3. Life is good. Definitely much better than it’s been.

Seems to me as people get older, their nostalgia for youth and relevance clouds their judgement of just how good things were “in the old days.” As bad as things seem today, I have to believe they are better than they have been. Women and minorities have a right to vote. Small groups of people have more tools than ever to create radical change. Obesity, not starvation or cholera or polio, is one of the biggest health problems in the US. And the youth of today volunteer more than the generations before them. Yes, the economy is still poor. There are too many people who struggle every day. But don’t let the challenges of today get in the way of seeing all we have accomplished.

4. The heart wants what it wants.

I’m a pretty predictable person and I know what I value and what I want. That’s why it’s hard for me to understand when people don’t want the same things I do – whether it’s who they love or how they love them. As I get older, I’m softening on this view. Look, I want a dependable partner who not only loves me, but looks out for me and helps me. Not everyone wants this. And you know what, as long as that person is truly happy, it doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s different from me, but not worse. I suspect this learning will go a long way as my critters get older and start creating their relationships.

5. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

2012 has been what I call a “stretch” year. I’ve learned a tremendous amount (of really boring stuff that I won’t recite here, but all insanely important for my professional career). There’s no way I could have gotten through it without the commitment of a great team of smart and dedicated colleagues who support me, work hard, and share my common goal of doing the very best work. I’ve been very lucky to have found them and continued to grow with them. They help me do great work because they are great people.

So there you have it – five things. It’s really just a smattering of what I’ve learned, because it’s been a devil of a year, but nonetheless it’s been a good one. And I’m looking forward to an even better one in 2013 (assuming the Mayans were incorrect, of course).


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