Just like many of you, 2020 was a challenging and at the same time, a transformative year for me. I had the opportunity to step back and take a look at my life and make some much needed changes, some that I did not even realize was needed due to the rapid pace at which I have been living in the past. I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on some of these changes and lessons.
Regular Self Assessment Is Key To Leading A Value Centric Life
Most of us don’t lead a balanced life. We’d like to believe we do and when asked about how we spend time, we paint this picture of a balanced life focused on our core values. However in reality, there is a huge disconnect between what we say and what we do. And to fix this disconnect, self assessment is a critical component. It starts by really honing in on what we consider our core value buckets, documenting these value buckets and then being honest with ourselves and constantly assessing how we are faring against our value buckets. Evaluating whether we are spending our time in a manner that aligns with our values and priorities. Thanks to some of the down time this year, I realized that I certainly was not leading a balanced life and needed to make some much needed changes.
Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Sleep and Exercise
In prior years, I averaged between 4-6 hours of sleep most nights. I thought 4 hours was generally enough for my body, catching up on the third or fourth night. All the travel did not help the cause either. In 2020, I made a conscious effort to average 6-7 hours every night. I also exercised at least three times a week (treadmill mostly). What a difference its made! As a diabetic, I have struggled in the past to keep my A1C in check, and these two changes have helped me reduce my values. I feel a lot better in general.
Don’t Take Your Family For Granted. Be PRESENT
While I knew, that my kids were not fans of me travelling, I didn’t quite comprehend how much it impacted them. Even when I was home, I was not always truly present. I was distracted lost in my world and did not realize that my kids noticed it and how perceptive they really are. This year, I got to spend quality time with my family, and that perhaps was the best aspect of 2020. While I still am distracted often, I am trying to get better at making my time with my family meaningful and being truly present. While we did not go on fancy vacations or road trips, we watched movies together, played Wii, went on walks, drove around etc., and that meant the world to them. I realized that it doesn’t take a lot to please them. In my busy life, it’s sometimes easy to forget that without the support of my family, especially my wife, I am nothing. Time passes by quickly and I don’t want to regret not being present in the important moments.
Less TV, More Books
You never realize how much time goes by binge watching shows, till you stop! This year, we got rid of our Netflix subscription. The net result was more time spent reading books. I was never much of a reader (other than tech journals, magazines and current affairs). So to have read 20+ books this year was quite an achievement for me. Initially, I had to force myself to stick to it and get through books, but once I got the hang of it, I constantly felt the urge to read. The key to keep things interesting is to mix things up as much as possible and then try to apply what you’ve read in your daily lives . Goodreads ended up being a motivating factor as well as I had set a goal for myself that I wanted to achieve. I hope to read 25 books next year and build on this momentum. Wish me luck!
Out Of My Comfort Zone
When it comes to my career, tech has always been my comfort zone. It comes naturally to me. However, I realized the need to step out of my comfort zone and explore other areas. Normally I sign up for tech certifications, but this year I decided to shake things up and do my MBA (thankful to my wife for persuading me). This was something I had been contemplating for many years, but the pandemic ended up being the trigger event that got me to finally commit, and what a rewarding experience it has been so far! I also completed a couple of other online courses and in the process, got to interact with people from all over the world in various fields including the arts, finance, music etc. This has helped me broaden my world view, collaborate on new ideas and take a more holistic multi dimensional approach towards problem solving. So while it seemed daunting, taking the leap of faith and stepping out of my comfort zone was a great decision!
Rededicating My Life To God
2020 was also a year of spiritual revival for me. I’ve had a couple of experiences over the years when I have truly surrendered my life to Christ. I had such an experience this year and it was one of my highlights. It was once again a reminder to me that this life of mine on earth is just a transitionary phase that I’m supposed to spend learning more about him, and sharing God’s love with others in whatever way I can. I realized that I could be doing so much more with my God given talents to serve those around me. I am praying that God uses me more and more to further His kingdom.
2020 once again taught me that amongst all the hardships, God has a purpose. He wanted me to slow down a little and focus on what really matters: my family, my friends, my relationship with Him, my health and my community. I thank God for 2020 and look forward to 2021. Wish you all a blessed New Year!