July 23, 2019

Wear socks when you’re cold, and 29 other life lessons from this year

Any of you who have coached with me or who have talked with me about coaching know that one of my signature questions is “What matters most to you?  Work and home, it’s all one life.  What is your ‘top 10’ list?”


I like this question because it is so good for focusing coaching conversations. Questions like this and the stream-of-consciousness lists they generate can uncover wisdom and truths you didn’t know were at your fingertips.

Last year around December, I found myself reading a number of “year-end” posts listing what the authors had learned over the year.  Some were wildly insightful, and some wonderfully inane, but in all there was wisdom.  I was inspired to start making a list of my own, and at the midpoint of this year, I’ve decided to take what I have so far and share it early.

This list has been created in real time, near the end of each month, as part of my end-of-month reflections on what went well and what didn’t.  I find the habit of making this list, and of doing that contemplation, helpful in gaining focus and in managing my time and energy.

I hope you find it helpful, and that you consider regularly setting aside some of your own time for reflection on a question or two that will help you focus.

Here goes:


  • Vacations are very good things.
  • Sleep helps — everything.
  • Family matters a lot.
  • I can see the meaning in my work better when I take a break from it.
  • Getting up to see the sunrise has a tremendous positive effect on my energy for the day, even if I have to go to bed earlier to do it.


  • I feel better when I exercise.
  • I still need to learn how to say no, so I that can say the strategic yes.
  • It’s time to make my own list of “what matters most to me.”
  • My dog is a wonderful source of unabashed love!
  • It is good for my soul to get my hands in the dirt of my garden. Even in the depths of winter.


  • When you are managing a lot of things, break them down into steps — understand your processes.
  • Use tools that work — I changed the software for my coaching platform because it seems to work.
  • Be grateful for fantastic assistants!  Shout-outs to my team (Melissa, Kyle and others).
  • It’s time to ask for some help in my coaching practice — I’m preparing to add to my team with a virtual assistant.
  • Exercise can shift my mood for the better — and quickly!
  • I have to be deliberate about staying in touch with my friends and make it a personal priority.


  • I must rest when I am tired.  This means I have to recognize what being tired feels like, and admit it.
  • You have to pull the weeds in the garden — literally and metaphorically.
  • It is better to walk the dog when it isn’t raining.
  • Wear socks when you are cold — if your feet are cold, everything is cold.
  • Flowers make me smile!


  • I need to see my mother more often, and I will prioritize travel and rest time in order to do so.
  • It is good to be seen and recognized for exactly who I am.  I must practice doing this for others.
  • I have been working way too much, and in way too disorganized a fashion.
  • Asking for help makes a huge difference — I am welcoming Mark to my team as a virtual assistant.
  • Amazement strikes whenever I am reminded about how marvelous a creation the human body is, and just how resilient it can be.


  • One cucumber vine can climb the house.  Mine is the prototype for the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story, I am certain.
  • Hummingbirds are regulars in the neighborhood, and they bring all of us who see them great joy.
  • My network of friends and colleagues is broad and deep, and I enjoy knowing all of them.
  • New neighbors make me see my street, and my community, with new eyes.  I am struck by gratitude for understanding that.

I hope this list gives you a sense of my journey so far in 2019.  I’d be really interested to hear from you about any key learnings or takeaways you have from this last six months.

Thanks for being part of the Metta Solutions Community!

What have you learned this year?

Surely for all of us, the list of what we learn is practically endless.  I hope you’ll share a glimpse in the comments!

Related posts:

“Deliberate rest” and why you need it

The work-life balance myth

15 signs you’re exhausted and 10 things to do about it