It's almost a tradition now, this idea of writing a letter to myself as a way to reflect on the year!
LEAVE IT IN 2019
I'll admit it, I have been in the red when it comes to work stress too much last year. We had a bit of a capacity issue in my team, so when my work is very hard to transfer and I see colleagues equally busy all I could do was work harder and grit my teeth. I've always wanted to be the kind of person people can trust, can fall back on, so I do whatever it takes to succeed in what I commit to. But when taken to an extreme that means I work too much and don't ask for help. I hope last year I've learned my lesson.
A bunch of things have fallen to the wayside last year. I haven't read as much as I'd like. I haven't excercised much. I was very slow to make progress on my academic paper; I spent half the amount of time in 2019 on it as I did in 2018. Gonna put more effort into that this year.
Another realization is that I judge my actions on their consequences and never on my intentions, and that that's hurting me more than I thought. If the result of my work is that people are happy with it, I'm happy with it as well. But if they're not, I am very quick to judge myself for it. If I hit all my goals for the day, I'm happy with it even if it cost me a tremendous amount of effort. If I don't hit my goals, even though I had a great workday, I still feel bad. Behind this fallacy? of mine is that results are controllable, and that results are all that matter. Which is not true - if I do my best, and the result doesn't work out, I still did my best.
Finally, I really want to cut down even more on meetings. For my yearly review I was scolling back through my calendar and was a bit surprised at the number of meetings that ended up not really mattering. There were many meetings I went to because I was invited, not because it was necessary for me to be there. I also want to create more breathing space for impromptu conversations and room to follow my curiosity.
BRING IT IN 2020
I feel like I've made a lot of progress this year as a person. 2019 was the year that I finally feel like a proper adult, instead of just a college student. It's a sense of responsibility but also of being able to fully support myself and the people I care about that I find freeing. I also feel like I'm much more comfortable being myself all the time. That I'm more confident, more true to my values, less hesitant to say or do what I want. As far as I'm concerned, my girlfriend is the kindest soul I know, and the way that rubs off on me is that I'm also more kind to myself.
Professionally I also made a leaps ahead. I feel like I can work much better with people now. I know my shit, and know when to call out other people's BS. I've given a bunch of talks in front of large (international) audiences which even a few years ago I would find incredibly challenging to even consider.
I have also started to break out of the expectation that I have to solve everything by myself all the time. My gf mentioned the other day that we've been conditioned for our entire lives in the school system to fix almost everything ourself and never ask for help, because that's cheating/plagiarizing. But now that I'm part of a company surrounded by smart and capable people, I would be foolish not to ask for help regularly. Last year I started which is why I want to continue to remind myself that not everything on my plate is mine to eat, that I can and should make things easier for myself by reaching for the resources that are all around me.
Because I worked a bit too much in 2019, I have a lot of paid off-days this year (almost fifty, actually). I'm looking forward to using the hell out of that to be more creative, do more fun stuff and travel some more this year.