2013 was an unforgettable year.
It was a year filled with extreme highs & lows and twists & turns. I can’t quite remember another year like it. There were moments when I felt that everything I set my heart to was coming to life and other moments when I felt totally crushed by the circumstances. I have never laughed and cried so much in my life. Thankfully, through it all, I think it’s made me a better person.
The following is a list of my top 5 life-shaping takeaways/lessons from 2013:
- Pain realigns life to the priorities that ultimately make it meaningful. My mother experienced a severe stroke last month. While the pain of this experience is still fresh to our family, it’s taught me (or forced me in a good way) to revisit my priorities of things that ultimately matter in my life. It’s been humbling to come to realize that I am not able to change or “fix” the situation. Learning how to be present in the moment hasn’t been easy, but definitely good for my soul.
- Asking others for help is not a burden-creator, but an opportunity to live in the way we were designed to live. I’ve spent the majority of my adulthood helping others and figuring out ways to support their respective efforts (e.g., non-profit endeavors, business growth, etc.). My mother modeled for me what it meant to live sacrificially for others. The dark side of this kind of lifestyle is that I’ve never been good at asking for help from others in times of need, especially when it includes financial support. Given my mother’s current inability to raise funding for the orphanage in China (Sarang House) she started in 2002, I’ve put myself in a place to ask friends and family for help. I’m totally uncomfortable with this, but I know it’s important. Still learning.
- Hard work and an unwavering commitment on quality changes everything. We’ve worked really hard as a company for the past 4 years of existence. All of the hard work in developing great services is really starting to pay off. More than just the increase of clients and profitability, I’m most proud of the fact that what we create is top-notch quality. It feels wonderful to be able to engage conversations or walk into a room knowing that what we offer is not only legitimate, but remarkable. While this pursuit of improving our work will never cease, it’s been good to taste some of the fruit of our labor over the years. I’m thoroughly looking forward to what an unwavering commitment to quality will produce in 2014.
- Some people may disappoint, but that’s no reason not to trust them. I’ve had some acute relational disappointments this year. Regardless of motive, things don’t always turn out the way you or the other person plans. It’s never easy. Nevertheless, I’m learning to trust people despite disappointment. Life is too short not to trust people. The truth is that I disappoint others as well. While trust is earned, access to re-gaining trust must become a norm in my life.
- Never take time with family for granted. I traveled a lot throughout 2013 for business. Time away from home was never easy. One thing I did well this year that I’m most proud of is that I intentionally made significant time for my family. Looking back, I’m so glad I did. There wasn’t a moment I regretted in doing this. I’m confident that if you were to ask my wife or my kids about whether they felt I was present with them (both physically and mentally) that they would say yes (at least for the majority of the year). I feel closer to my wife than ever before and I love being in my kids’ lives. I would hate to accomplish something significant in life and have no one at home to celebrate with.
What are some life-shaping takeaways for you from 2013?