This year has been an interesting one for me and probably the most representative of how our lives’ plans might go really differently than how you set out – but hopefully turned out even better than imagined.

I started the year working as a senior scientist at Bulletproof 360, but after nearly three years of very constant travel, I was ready to travel for myself instead. So, in the summer, I left the team and traveled to Europe. We tried to see as much as we could, but really, we focused on spending more time in fewer cities and were on the road for nearly 80 days.

After filling our eyes with cathedrals, paintings, city maps, and language-language translators or dictionaries, we have come home. But, I would say – as many travelers say – that we have changed from who we used to be or what we value.

So, what have we learned from 2019?

  1. Go get it. If you have a dream, a mission, a book in mind, a business to try… just do it. What’s the worst case scenario? You have to work in restaurants again until you get back on your feet? Okay… you already know what that feels like.
  2. Ask more questions. Nope, you’re not the smartest person in the room; if you are, change rooms. Learn what you don’t know that you didn’t know. Otherwise you stagnate and become obsolete quickly. There are plenty of people behind you, faster than you, younger than you who could replace you (maybe not as well) if you stop growing and pushing.
  3. Take time to assess where you are and whether you actually want to be there. A chef in a recent interview told me about a night where he just sat down on a 5-gallon bucket during service and had to take stock of why he was doing what he was doing – and doing it the way he was. It changed everything about how he led his kitchen from that day on.
  4. Who’s in your foxhole? I first thought about that when I was in the military (nope, no foxholes for me) about who would you call if you the following scenarios happened:
    a) you got a flat tire
    b) you just got dumped
    c) you just got a bonus
    If you can’t actually think of 1-2 people in each, make it your goal to find those folks and to be that person for others. You can’t be that for everyone, but you’ll know when you should be.
  5. Order the thing on the menu that you’ve never heard of or can’t imagine how it would taste. Again, what’s the worst case scenario? You choke it down and gulp your wine? *shrug*
  6. Go have lunch, drinks, dinner. When you’re in town, reach out to the people you know well and that you want to surround yourself with. But also reconnect with that college sorority sister or volleyball teammmate. You never know what could come of it.
  7. Remember names. Give out (honest and sincere) compliments. Admire other badasses in your industry, regardless of whether they are “competitors” or not. This is a small industry and small world.
  8. Step back. Pulling our heads out, looking outside the box, getting the bird’s eye view… whatever that is. Just try that for a second. You might double-down on your work, or you might shuffle the cards again.
  9. Mentor. Be willing to take that call with the younger or less experienced person. Nope, you don’t have to be the expert before you do this. Just acknowledge the journey. Maybe identify a pitfall for them that you tripped on. You aren’t Yoda, but you are a professional at your work, and you bring value.
  10. Listen. When a peer, a boss, a partner, or a friend gives you feedback – especially when it hurts – just shut your mouth and hear them. You can react later. You don’t need the last word. Take a breath, try to understand why they said what they did. Maybe there’s a lesson there. Maybe not. Gotta pause to see.

What were you 2019 lessons?

I’m excited for 2020. There are going to be some new adventures, massive learning curves, and bloopers. Let’s take it on together. Why not? It’s more interesting – and fun – with friends.