My clients never cease to inspire me – and each year, as the year draws to an end, I reflect on the lessons they have taught me. Here is what I learned in 2010:

Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself – because if you don’t, you have nothing to give. Without the rest, exercise, space, reflection, food…whatever it is that fuels you, you are not able to lead, or take care of, others. As they say, “put your own oxygen mask on first.”

 It’s nearly always better to have the conversation – rather than avoid the topic and/or the person. Have it out, as respectfully and clearly as you can, but don’t leave it to fester. Take your time to think through what you really need to say and how to say it so it can be heard…and say it.

Get a reality check – when the squirrely thoughts start in your mind, the negative self-talk that can cut you to pieces and tell you what an IDIOT you are, check in with someone else you trust to see what, if anything, is truth. Deal with the truth, and then move on.

Envision the end result – sometimes the task ahead is too big, or to onerous, and there is no other way to gather up the strength to jump in than to remember how good it will feel on the other side. When the clutter pile is cleared, the weight is lost, the degree is earned. See your end result as a goal and move towards it.

Give yourself handy little reminders – it is simply too easy to get caught in the hectic day-to-day to-do list and to forget the big and little things we say we want to do, or do differently. That’s what sticky-notes are for. Put one on your computer monitor as a reminder. On your mirror at home. Near the phone so that you remember the phone call you need to make or what you have to say. Remember that life is too busy, especially at the end of the year, and make it easier for yourself by giving yourself little reminders where you can and will see them.

What are your top lessons?
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