And One to Grow On

“Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology, and presided over passages, doors, gates and endings, as well as in transitional periods such as from war to peace.”

I woke up inspired this morning.

In these waning days of 2021, I mentally reviewed this past year.

What went right?

What went wrong?

What could I have done better?

Then, the most important question in my mind, what can I do better in 2022?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayna

Feeling emboldened to make a difference, I sent this message to the group of women I mentor through the CyberGirls group of Nigeria’s CyberSafe Foundation:

I originally typed for them to also list three things they want to learn next year. But then, I thought of the phrase, “…and one to grow on” and went back to change that three to a four. I feel like that’s just simple math. You get more by doing more. Only having three lessons learned and three things to learn gives you net-zero growth.

“I really enjoy being judged. I believe I hold up very well to even severe scrutiny.” — “Angela Martin” from “The Office”

This is essentially the dreaded self-evaluation most have to write for work, to be added to their files and allegedly used for consideration for raises and promotions.

I can’t recall ever meeting someone who likes performance reviews and this exercise of self-evaluation.

Fictional characters aside, this is an exercise that I personally strive to get better at. I don’t know if I will ever fully embrace it to the point of enjoying it. However, I can attempt to make progress in at least making an effort.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” — Aristotle

> So, what three things went right for me in 2021?

  • I summoned the strength and courage to leave a bad work situation that was chipping away at my confidence. I could have stayed and remained convinced that I was the problem, when in actuality I wasn’t the villain in that drama — despite attempts to make me one.
  • I rediscovered my professional network of intelligent, caring, and resourceful people whose time and generosity in helping me when I needed assistance -for myself or others- was humbling.
  • I realized that, despite my internal mental sabotaging to the contrary, I do have wisdom to share. I do know things. I can impart advice and insight into situations and make a positive difference.

> OK, then, what three things went wrong for me in 2021?

  • A job that I initially loved, and one that I thought would be my “forever job,” became a health liability due to the toxicity of it all. I had to say goodbye to the things I liked about that place, because the negatives far outweighed the positives. That was a serious bummer.
  • My beloved boy pup crossed the Rainbow Bridge in September. We rescued him from a bad situation about eight years ago, and gave him the best life we could. When he was diagnosed with a heart condition, we sought out the best veterinary cardiologist around. When the time had come for us to say goodbye, his doctor reached out to say that as “pet parents” we did absolutely everything we could have for him, but it was his time.
  • I didn’t keep the promises I made to myself about getting professional certifications this year. I took a CISSP training course in the summer and swore that I would sit for it by the end of the year. I also had some other certifications in mind to get done, if only to have them checked off on my mental list of accomplishments. I only have excuses for why I didn’t follow through with this. Busy. Tired. Emotional. A lot happened this year, and trying to focus on certifications was just not something that I was able to stay true to myself about.

> What four things do I wish to learn in 2022?

  • More technical things. (This is purposely vague for professional OpSec reasons. You understand.) I don’t just mean certifications. Even just acquiring the skills to proficiently do more technical tasks is what I will consider a win, with or without a certification acknowledgement. Knowledge is power; a certification is a piece of paper you paid for.
  • Better self-care management. “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.
  • More knitting techniques. For real. I love knitting but even I’m kind of tired of just making scarves and blankets. Although I have made hats, mittens, and socks before, I haven’t done that regularly and need to reclaim those skills.
  • Improve my communications skills. Express thoughts more succinctly. Speak up for what I believe in, even more than before. Have confidence in my speech when I’m describing my skills or what I know — or even what I don’t know. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” — David Sedaris

How about you?
Which three things went well for you in 2021?
Which three things went poorly for you in 2021?
What four things are you going to do about it in 2022?

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise I won’t bore you.” — David Bowie

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