Year End AuditDec 24, 2022
December 24, 2022
Read time: 3 minutes
An Audit of 2022
David Sedaris, one of my favorite authors, tells the story of his sister when asked, "if she found herself naked and only had a washcloth, which would she cover, her top or her bottom?
And she proudly answered: "I'd cover my face."
What a great answer; as long as you don't know who I am, then nothing else matters.
As we close out 2022, it got me thinking. What were the things I did or words I wish I didn’t say in the last year? What would make me put a washcloth over my face to conceal my identity?
Well, lucky for you, dear reader, I ask myself most mornings in my journal, What did I do yesterday that I wouldn’t do again? And I am going to share them with you below.
I asked a friend of mine this same question recently, and he responded:
“I wouldn’t do anything differently because I don’t believe in regrets. There is always something that I can learn even from less-than-ideal situations.”
When he completed the defense of his rationale, I called BS on him. I knew that he had done some things that he regretted (or at least should have regretted), and I tried to decipher if he was in denial or had a poor memory.
Was I being a bad friend by challenging him? Not in the least.
He and I had committed to telling the truth, and this was an opportunity to do so.
As it turns out, he regretted several issues that we processed together. And as the truth spilled out of him, so did years of repressed feelings.
Tears are the way the body tells the truth when we can’t.
So without further ado, I present to you the summary of the list of things I wouldn’t do again if given the chance:
What wouldn’t I do again?
Most of my top answers for 2022 revolved around the following:
- Unkind words (This mainly happened when I was tired and to those, I love the most. I always regretted my unkind words the next day.)
- Consumption of social media (If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product)
- Eating too much (Using food as a feeling as opposed to fuel for my body)
- Alcohol consumption (affecting my sleep, which flowed into the next day, which affected my productivity, and on and on)
- Too many back-to-back calls (making me less present as a coach, the ultimate no-no)
- Not journaling (I feel this deeply when my thoughts accumulate in my head as opposed to letting them out onto paper)
- Rushing a conversation (Because I have something else to get to)
- Not exercising (my goal is to be able to ski black diamonds at 80, so exercising six days a week is mandatory)
- Telling my kids “no” when they want to play a game (I will regret this when I am older and they are not living in my house)
- No hot tub (I love reading in my hot tub because it is distraction-free and I am outdoors, two of my favorite things.)
What would I do again?
I also ask myself, What did I do yesterday that I would do again?
My summary of this list is as follows:
- Calls with entrepreneurs (I had dozens of calls with stuck entrepreneurs, and I love getting in the muck with them to help)
- No alcohol (I never regretted not having alcohol. Not once.)
- Waking up early (My best work is done between 5 and 7 am, and I often get more created in those two hours than the rest of the day)
- Early to bed (The side effect of waking up early is that you go to bed earlier and fall asleep instantly. It had been nearly a decade since I slept deeply, regularly.)
- Learning; books, Youtube, podcasts, and long-form article consumption. (I am at my healthiest when I am learning.)
- Ending my day with an empty inbox (This little action allowed me to shut down and prepare for the next day)
- Creating the Nick Operating System (My second brain allows me to compartmentalize my life)
- Saying no (to anything that did not directly align with my calling; To conceive experiences that lead to breakthroughs and offer freedom for billionaires, prisoners, and everyone in between.)
- Read longer (I can’t remember ever wishing that I read less)
- Walking (When I am firmly ensconced in my house, a walk seems like a burden, but five steps out the door, I am happy, especially if I am with my wife)
- Laughing (Whether with family or friends, I laughed a ton in 2022)
- Talks with my son, man to man (Because he is a man. He is changing, and so is our relationship)
- Built out my platform, wrote content, created a newsletter, built out courses, and got my book published (I was significantly more prolific in 2022, and the end result was hundreds of constructive conversations.)
- Travel with my family (my family rocks, and travel kills ignorance deftly)
- Late and long lunches with close friends (my happy place)
The body keeps score
You may be wondering why I am sharing this with you. Why do I think that this is important enough to share with thousands of people?
Well, because taking the time to process allows us to fully integrate these truths into our lives and ultimately help us transform into a better version of ourselves.
In The Body Keeps The Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, who spent 30 years researching the connection between our emotions and physiology, describes the complex and beautiful way that our bodies are directly connected to our emotions. Among other things that came out of the landmark study, Van Der Kolk clearly articulates how our bodies have the capability to tell us what we are feeling before we even know it.
Van Der Kolk writes: "The emotional brain is at the heart of the central nervous system, and its key task is to look out for your welfare. If it detects danger or a special opportunity — such as a promising partner — it alerts you by releasing a squirt of hormones… Even at their most subtle, these sensations have a huge influence on the small and large decisions we make throughout our lives: what we choose to eat, where we like to sleep and with whom, what music we prefer, whether we like to garden or sing in a choir, and whom we befriend and whom we detest."
I have no doubt that some of the items I wrote down connected with you on a deeper level. If you felt shame when you read my regret of consuming too much alcohol, that is your body's way of saying, let’s work on managing this habit. It is a gentle nudge to make the unconscious conscious before you call it fate.
And if your body felt joy when you read about my transitioning relationship with my son, that is probably because someone if your life did that well with you, or you look forward to doing that well with your own child.
Your job as a human is simple. Become quiet enough to hear what your body is trying to tell you.
Journaling consistently is the most efficient way to do so.
If you are in the habit of journaling and collecting answers to questions like these, now is the time to reflect on your answers.
And if you don’t yet journal, begin today so that this time next year, you have a gift to unwrap from yourself next year.
I wrote a brief synopsis of journaling if you need a little help getting started.
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