My Biggest Lessons Learned this Year

Happy Holidays!   Thank you for your interest and support of this blog.   I appreciate every email, comments, questions I got this year.  Whether it’s a thankful email or constructive criticism, I value them all.  Thank you for taking the time to engage with this site and with me.

I hope you are taking some time to enjoy this holiday season with your friends and family.    December is the best time to reflect on this entire year

  • What did I learn?
  • What have I accomplished?
  • What am I thankful for?
  • What do I want to do next year?

This year had many up and downs for me.

  • I almost quite my job in March.   I was tired of working for two bosses that were not inspiring leaders.
  • Luckily I found a new opportunity just in time and switched roles in April.
  • Ramp up on the new job was bumpy and took six months.  Initially my business partners didn’t quite see me as a partner.  I had to earn it as well as let go of what I cannot control.
  • Near the end of the year, I was finally finding balance in my work and life to enjoy both again.

Throughout this whole journey, there was one constant learning that inspired me – being grateful no matter what.   This is not a new concept but practicing it while I was stressed or down was not easy.  We are all top performers when we feel appreciated, knowledgeable and impactful.  But when we are in a difficult situation, that’s when all of our soft skills are being challenged.   In difficult situations,

  • We don’t feel as confident
  • We don’t communicate as effectively
  • We are unproductively stressed
  • We are quick to criticize ourselves and others

This is where I found being grateful helped me throughout the year to get back to balance again

When in doubt, see how you can practice gratitude to help you at work and in life.  For this year, here is what I am grateful for.

  • I am grateful to my kids for constantly inspiring me to try new things.  They are the ultimate champions of the “growth mindset”  My younger daughter Alexis wanted to learn how to hola hoop.  She literally practiced 100 times a day, without being dampered by her initial lack of success.  Even after getting a bruise on her side from too much practice, she didn’t stop.  First video was on her first day and the second video was two weeks later.

    She is teaching me it’s okay to not succeed initially.  If we truly want to learn it, anything can be learned with practice.
  • I am grateful for my husband from two aspects
    1. For always encouraging me to pursue my passion – this blog.   Being overly critical with myself, I thought about giving up several time as I was frustrated I was not adding enough services for members and writing enough articles.  He reminds me to be thanksful of the things I can do in the time I have.
    2. For stopping me from dwelling in my complaints.   He is a good listener but after repeating my complaints about work repeatedly, he also exercises “tough love.”  It’s not easy to hear but he is right.  “Just do something about it.  Any action will create new opportunities.”
  • I am grateful to all the avid members and readers of this blog.  Your emails of encouragement and feedback on how I can improve is what keeps me going.  Thank you for letting me know how my articles or coaching call helped you make a different decision or navigate a difficult situation at work.  That always makes my day.  Thank you also for making suggestions around new topics I should address.  That helps me write what is relevant to help you.
  • I am grateful to my new leader at work.  After switching job, I was not sure my new leader would be any better even with all the rave reviews from colleagues.  I guess I was jaded as my old leaders also seemed to care when I first started.   Over the last 8 months, I truly saw the difference between a boss vs. a leader.  I am thankful to her for teaching me what exemplary, caring leadership can look like., for supporting my growth and for trusting my abilities.  I probably have one of the best leaders in the last 20 years of my career.
  • I am grateful for me.  I know this sounds weird, but as an overachiever, I am quick to criticize myself vs. appreciating what I have done.   That’s what can threw me into unnecessary stress and negative thought patterns.   Even with all my pedigree degree and experience, I am just learning now that “I am enough.   Whatever I cannot do, can be done tomorrow.  What is important is maintaining that drive to evolve, learn, and try new things regardless of results.” 🙂

I wish you a very happy new year.  Talk to you in 2017.

Your comments:  What are you grateful for this year?  I would love to hear from you.

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New to my site? then start here – Soft Skills – How to Succeed Like an Executive

I am always in your corner.


favorite-photo-2016p.s: I wanted to include my favorite photo of the year.  This was taken in China with my older daughter Isabel and my cousin/his kids.   I love the silliness and energy of this photo.  I learning to play more and more as I get older.  I hope you will too.


6 thoughts on “My Biggest Lessons Learned this Year

  1. Mruthyunjaya

    Great Lei!
    learning a lot from your blog to remain useful and inspired even after regular service. Your untiring mission and powerful message of the year “remain grateful” gave me also a satisfaction at the end of the year for remaining grateful to an opportunity to care our both in-laws one suffering from prostrate cancer another with acute knee joints pain.
    I wish you and your family a very happy, productive and joyful 2017 so that you will continue to inspire and educate many like me through your very useful blog

    1. Lei Han Post author

      Wow, that’s a big burden to bear. You are very strong. Thank you for taking the time to share. I am glad my learnings can also help you in difficult times. Take care and thank you for your continuing support. It’s these comments that keep me motivated to keep writing. best wishes in 2017 to you and your family.

  2. Brock Lee

    Thanks for all you done and knowledge you share with us! I would like to know maybe if someone wants to be an accounting clerk or financial analyst how does one go about approaching that goal. Also, how does one stay focused on a goal and continue to make progress.

    Thank you
    Merry Christmas~!!!

    1. Lei Han Post author

      Brock, thanks for writing. To pursue accounting or financial analyst, you need to first make sure you have taken all the courses on the subject to qualify you for the job. Then in order to know how to get into a career in this area, find people you know in these careers and ask them for advice. They will have the most relevant knowledge to help you know
      1. how much school you need?
      2. where to best start?
      3. what they like and dislike about the career?

      As for how to stay focus, the best way is to keep taking action. Don’t overthink it and keep doing stuff to learn about these careers or try to get a job or training in them. No one knows the perfect way to do it, what ever you do will help you learn along the way. Best wishes and happy new year!


  3. Harish

    Wow Lei!!

    Thanks so much for this post – Leading by Example is often said but rarely followed through – thanks for leading by your example and sharing the challenges every leader faces (being tough on ourselves and having ups and downs) but many leader fail to admit, discuss and share – yet its only through our awareness can we find the healing and the path forward.

    I really enjoyed you sharing this…and have enjoyed your blog for the past three years since I first discovered it – I hope to engage more in 2017 with you on some learning ideas I have been working on – and will keep you posted indeed!

    Many many best and warm wishes to you and yours and this wonderful community you have brought together.


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