It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m sitting in my grandma’s house in Omaha. She’s a cute 88 year old lady who always inspires me to be a better version of myself. She never complains, and simply continues to take care of herself and focus on what she can change for the better.
We’ve never been a “New Year’s resolution” family. That said, I like to use the upcoming year as a way to calibrate where I need to improve my habits and behavior. Habits and behavior are the foundation to long term success or failure, and it’s easy to slip into not-so-desirable defaults.
Here are some areas I think I can improve upon in 2019.
- Leadership and setting the example – Whether I like it or not, people look to me for direction and setting the tone. Everything I say and what/how/when/why I do things sets an example for others. When I say things will get done, they’re not just done. They’re done against an extremely high standard. On time. On track. With a purpose.
- Ruthlessly prioritize – With a million things to do, it’s easy to get sucked into mistaking activity for effectiveness. Thankfully, I’ve established a true north, both for my life and for Ternary Data. A true north is great in theory, but it’s of little use if you’re not moving in that direction. A million tiny temptations will make you walk in circles instead. While I’m known to be pretty ruthless in saying ‘no’, I need to be even better. Time is the most precious asset of all. Following Warren Buffett’s “Avoid At All Costs” list is good instruction for ruthlessly prioritizing the handful of things that will genuinely move the needle.
- Shut up and listen – I’m a nerd. Nerds tend to blurt, interrupt, and generally spray information in every direction. Most people – including other nerds – can’t stand it. Instead of endlessly talking, I need to shut up and let the other person do 80%+ of the talking. Sometimes the best communicator is the one who says the least and listens the most. Understand what the other person is trying to say. Be able to summarize those key things back to the other person in one or two sentences.
- Live in the present – My mind tends to reside in the future. I’m always planning and charting course for a yet-to-be-arrived at destination. This is great for running a business, where thinking ahead is part of the job. But it’s terrible for relationships, especially when I’m at events like kid’s birthday parties, friend’s dinners, etc. My mind is mostly in the future, and it causes me to seem aloof. Some people say that I come across as rude. But most importantly, it makes me not appreciate the precious moments right in front of me.
- Write more – Writing is one of the best ways to clarify one’s thinking. And given the amount of stuff on my mind, writing is the only way I’ll work my way through the noise.
Improving habits and behaviors is incredibly fun, and insanely difficult., I’m sure I’ll make a lot of mistakes in 2019. That’s how it goes. Have a great 2019 and beyond.