2023 in Rearview: The Lessons That Shaped My Year


Do you ever feel like you are starting from scratch time and time again?  In the past, my focus at this time of year would have been fixated on future goals and ambitions, neglecting the lessons and growth waiting in the rearview. No wonder every year felt like I was starting from scratch.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Taking a moment to evaluate what worked well and what I want to carry into 2024 has become my new ritual, leaving me with a sense of clarity and quiet confidence as I enjoy the final weeks of 2023. Here are the questions I posed to myself, shaping a foundation for stepping into the new year with purpose.


1. What did I learn about myself?

In the past, I would have confined my self-reflection to structured analyses like SWOT. However, I’ve realised that the opportunities for personal development lie beyond time-boxed assessments. Embracing personal growth as a lifelong journey, I now ask, “What did I learn?”

In 2023, I learned that decisions driven by ego often resulted in short-term gains that were misaligned with other essential areas of life. An example is my marathon training, where my ego demanded a time of 4.5 hours. Considering I had not run before, this would have meant many hours of training, more time than I had available to spend. The first few months were difficult as I was regularly disappointed by my lack of progress despite being out running or walking a few times every week.

When I shifted gears in April to “run like no one is watching”, it brought about a transformative marathon experience. I slowed down, did my best and completed the marathon with a smile.

As I navigate 2024, a recurring question will be whether my decisions are ego-driven and their impact on various aspects of life.


2. What did I learn about others?

I firmly believe that success is linked to our relationship with others. No matter how organised and focused a person may be, without support and collaboration, the journey is limited.

Recognising this, I was keen to understand better those around me—colleagues, friends, and family. A paradox surfaced: people yearn for personal space, yet they also crave genuine connections and mutual support.

For example, I met with a peer weekly to discuss our work. Over the year, these conversations shifted into autopilot, and there was very little value. We were both busy and rushed to and from this calendar appointment. We decided to change it to a monthly catch-up but to leave the time blocked in our calendars as white space. Space for “I don’t know what yet”.  I expected the value of our meetings to improve, which it did. What surprised me was how much more we helped each other throughout the month. We could better support each other because we had more room in the week.


3. What did I learn about the world of work?

As my work revolves around how people work, exploring the dynamics of the evolving workplace was inevitable. In the tech-centric landscape of 2023, a theme that echoed was the need for balance. Amidst the advancement and complexity of technology, the desire to keep work simple emerged.

A client’s venture into new tools for scaling the business highlighted this.  The team wanted an easy way to see how everything came together. I recommended a RACI map (responsible, accountable, consulted and informed), which included the team members and the names of the new tools.

This concise overview of responsibilities proved instrumental. The streamlined communication ensured the team confidently invested time where it mattered. As we approach 2024, simplifying communication methods becomes paramount for effective collaboration.


What questions will guide your reflections as we raise a glass to another year? Take a moment to integrate your learnings into your goals and plans for the year ahead, stepping into 2024 with newfound wisdom and purpose.