Today is the last day of 2017. Despite all the ups and downs of this year, I had a great year. I had successes and setbacks. At the end of the year, I sit and reflect on the last 365 days. I record my big wins as well as the challenges that I faced and the setbacks that I had. But more importantly, I record some of the important lessons that I have learned. On this last day of the year, I’d like to share 10 lessons that I learned during 2017. I hope that some of these lessons can resonate with you and help you make some positive changes in your life.
1. Take time to reflect, rest, and recharge for better results and faster growth
I used to work on the business over 30 hours per week in addition to my day to day job. I worked evenings, Saturdays and Sundays without spending much time with my family. I did not take enough rest. I had little sleep and was always worried that I did not have much time to complete the tasks that I had planned for myself! I had to change this bad habit. So, at the beginning of 2017, I decided to lighten my workload. I decided to keep my Sundays fully open so I can be with the family, do something fun, take rest, and recharge my inner batteries. This new habit helped me create more balance in my life so I could enjoy spending more quality time with my family and prepare myself mentally and spiritually for the week ahead. This was such a great lesson for me that I have decided to reduce the number of hours I spend on the business in 2018 and beyond.
Lesson: It is important to allocate some time during the week (and especially during the weekend) to reflect on the past week, take some physical and mental rest, and recharge your batteries for the days and weeks ahead.
2. Action is not enough for success!
I bet you have heard that no success can be achieved without taking action. That is right. But I have learned that taking action is a necessary condition for ultimate success but it is not enough! If you take action without the belief that you will achieve success, you will not succeed. If you take action without the commitment to success, you will not succeed. And if you take action without discipline and consistency, you will not succeed. Action, Belief, Commitment, and Discipline are necessary components of the ultimate success formula. They are the ABCD of success.
Lesson: If you want to achieve success fast, take the right action with the belief that you will get what you want, commit to achieving success no matter how hard the situation may be, and develop the discipline to get there.
3. Communication has to be a 2-way road
Communication with people without listening to them and getting their feedback would result in misunderstanding and eventually separation. I noticed that during this year whenever I communicated with honesty and asked for response or feedback from those whom I was talking to, I got a good response back. And whenever my communication was one way or sounded like I took only my own benefits into consideration, I did not get what I expected. My aim is to enhance my communication with those I serve, listen to their needs, build trust and relationships, get feedback, and provide solutions that resolve their issues.
Lesson: Working toward developing a 2-way communication with people is a wonderful strategy for building unbreakable relationships.
4. Creating new habits or upgrading your current habits matter
As it is often said, we are creatures of habits. The problem is that developing bad and unhealthy habits is much easier than developing good and healthy ones! In 2017, one of my goals was to develop some new habits for living a healthier life. However, I did not succeed because I did not make developing these good habits a priority. I focused on other areas and told myself that I would work on developing these habits later. After some time, procrastination took over and I could not accomplish this goal. I learned that procrastination itself is a bad habit that needs to be replaced with the good habit of prompt and consistent action. Since we do most of the things based on our habits, it is critical to develop some new and positive habits or upgrade some of our old habits if we want to take our personal and professional life to the next level of success. I decided to have the same habits that I wanted to develop in 2017 and focus on developing and upgrading them in 2018 so they help me become more successful and live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Lesson: Write down your bad habits and decide to replace them one by one with good and positive habits. For more information, read this blog post. You may also download a copy of my Habit Makeover Workbook.
5. Focusing on your top goals is a must
When I set a goal for myself and focus on accomplishing it, I can achieve it fast. However, when I set several goals without truly focusing on the one with the highest priority, I may end up achieving none! Sometimes, I have the tendency of starting several new and exciting things at the same time. Other times, I have the tendency of leaving something unfinished and then jumping to another branch to start something more exciting. This, in turn, would result in less efficiency and therefore the chance of success would reduce dramatically.
Lesson: It is a good practice to forget multitasking and focus only on the highest priority goal first. Once this top goal is accomplished, we can then move to the next top goal and so on. This is one of the habits of highly successful people in the world.
6. Stop energy drainers
There are many energy drainers out there including situations (challenges, economy, failed attempts), people (friends, parents, partners, clients, employers), and tools (TV, smartphones, social media, negative news) that can result in negative emotions and lead to stress. If we don’t take responsibility and stop these energy drainers, they may take over and control us. One of the lessons I learned in 2017 was that I need to be in charge. I need to sit in the driver’s seat and lead my life to where I want it to be. I am the ultimate decision maker that has the ability and power to prevent me from draining my energy because of negative situations, negative people, and addictive tools.
Lesson: Be in charge and dump all the energy drainers from our life with the right attitude and strategy. In the second chapter of my best-selling and award-winning book, Leadership Soup, I talk in details about energy and how it makes a differece not only in your life but also the life of others.
7. Connect with God for true happiness and peace
Most people look for happiness and peace outside. They think that if they had more money, better house, different job, nicer car, or more loving relationships, they would be happy and peaceful. However, the true happiness and peace are not outside of us. They reside inside and the only way we can experience more happiness and peace is to remove the rust from our consciousness. In order to remove the rust, we need to connect with the source of happiness, peace, love, and all the GOOD. This source is God, the Higher Power, the Light, the Source. When we are connected with this true Source, we will be able to draw all other good things and people into our lives with no struggle. Although I knew this, I had forgotten about that to some extent.
Lesson: It’s really important to allocate some time to meditation and silence in order to be with God so we can experience true happiness and peace.
8. Investment for your future financial freedom is essential
I used to disregard saving and investment. However, when I turned 40 in 2013, I became more aware of the importance of saving and investment. Still, I did not want to take any risky investment. I sufficed to retirement saving and let financial advisors manage my retirement savings and let them take any fee they wanted to! After reading Tony Robbins’ book, Money: Master the Game I learned that if I want to be financially free I need to be in control of my investments. I made myself more educated on the stock market, bonds, and other types of investment. Recently, I learned a very volatile and risky but highly rewarding market; that is the Cryptocurrency market. I took the risk and invested some of my income in Bitcoin and other coins by following an advisor who is well known in this market. I am very glad that I did because I have been able to gain 500% on my investment since April 2017. The Crypto market is in its early stage and will grow even more in the next 2 to 3 years. If you want to invest a portion of your money in this market but you don’t know how to let me know. I’d be able to help.
Lesson: Take control of your finances. Take some risk with a portion of your investment which may result in very high returns in a short period of time. It’s essential for your financial freedom. Download a copy of my Financial Success Cheat Sheet for more tips.
9. Don’t forget about your health
In 2017, I have become sick few times mainly due to flu. Every time, I get sick I appreciate how valuable being healthy is. During my sickness period, I could not do much. My throat was sore, my muscles were in pain, my body did not have much energy, and my mind could not focus. I remembered my doctor’s advice during my annual physical check. She suggested more exercise (running and weight lifting) and taking multivitamins. I remembered I admitted that I needed to have more consistent exercise and decided to create the habit of physical exercise but after a while, I stopped.
Lesson: Having a balanced healthy lifestyle is essential for ultimate success. Take this lesson to heart and develop healthier habits that will benefit you not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
10. Never give up!
To be honest, I did not some of my important goals in 2017 from the financial goals that I had for my business to the positive habits that I wanted to develop for myself. At one point, I was about to give up. I did not see any point moving forward. However, when I reflected back on my life, all the achievements that I have had over the past several years, and the reasons behind starting the business back in 2009, I realized that I cannot quit. I noticed that my WHY is much stronger than the temporary setback that I have faced. I noticed that I have had lots of great achievements compared to the number of so-called “failures”. Once again, I decided not to give up. I decided to move on. I decided to serve and add value. I am pretty sure that the universe pays back in other ways. Through reflection, I noticed that the Universe has already paid me back multifold through the right investment that I had this year (refer to point 8).
Lesson: Never ever give up on your positive and valuable dreams. Know that as long as you do your best the universe will reward you for your efforts down the road in one way or another. Get your copy of my book, Get What You Want, to learn strategies for how to overcome your challenges and get what you want fast.
And here is my advice for 2018: In this fast-paced world that is full of change you need to be in control of what is going on. You need to plan ahead for your success. You cannot and should not rely on government, economy, or your job for your success. Plan properly for your success and implement your plan to move toward what you want to achieve. If you do not know how I highly recommend that you register for Dream On and Get What You Want training program.
Please leave a comment below and let me know the most important lessons you learned in 2017. This way I can learn from you. Let’s make 2018 our best year ever.
Happy New Year!
Kamran Akbarzadeh, PhD
Founder of Dream Achievers Academy