I’m going to come right out and say it to you all: there is no other year that has grown me, tested me, challenged me, inspired me, defeated me, and then put me back together again off the back o’ defeat quite like 2023 did.
… and there’s been associated lessons [of course].
I’ll undoubtedly join a chorus of business owners and organisational leaders who are all sharing the lessons they learned from 2023, but the chorus I’ll join with this content nonetheless … because I always get something out of what people share when they share their failures/learning [or: flearnings].
So without further ado, here are the five business lessons I learned in 2023. And yes. Absolutely. Each of them a stepping stone towards better leadership and organisational success.
You become what you regularly say about yourself
I was never this person. I was never this person. I am an Autistic PDA’er with a dark sense of humour, and a healthy love of humour that’s incredibly self-deprecating in nature … and it’s never impacted me negatively, until suddenly you’re CEO’ing and organisational leadership’ing your own business.
Suddenly, what you say about yourself influences what you think about yourself … and so what you subsequently say/think has never mattered more than right now.
The power of affirmations is immense. This year taught me that the narrative I create about myself consistently shapes my reality. By speaking positively about my capabilities and vision, I’ve witnessed a transformative impact on not only my confidence and decision-making … but the way folks around me perceive me [which has an ongoing 360’ish/ripple effect].
It really has been the ultimate reminder that our words are not just expressions, but tools that sculpt our professional identity.
Invest in mastery, and not half-arsery
This year, one of the most pivotal lessons I’ve learned is the critical importance of nurturing a team of masters—individuals who are either experts in their field or are deeply committed to becoming so. In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, having a team that’s not just physically present but genuinely engaged and striving for excellence is non-negotiable.
Presenteeism, the issue of team members being at work but not fully functioning due to a lack of engagement or other issues, can be a silent killer in the workplace. It’s not just about showing up; it’s about being mentally and emotionally invested in the work. This year, I’ve focused on identifying and nurturing this level of dedication in my team. I’ve learned that investing in people who show a genuine passion for their craft, who seek to continuously improve and take pride in their work, is far more valuable than having a team that merely goes through the motions.
Embracing this philosophy means making tough decisions, like parting ways with team members who may meet the basic requirements but lack the zeal to grow and excel. But it also means celebrating and investing in those who show a true dedication to their craft, as these are the individuals who drive our agency forward.
The difference is palpable. When you have a team of committed experts and aspiring masters, the quality of work, the level of innovation, and the ability to overcome challenges escalate remarkably. This lesson has been a game changer, and it’s one I intend to carry forward in the years to come.
I’ve got more business acumen than I realise
Often, we underestimate our own expertise. This year, I discovered that my intuitive understanding of the market and strategic thinking were far greater than I had probably given myself credit for [not like me at all, lol!]. It’s been a powerful lesson in trusting one’s own business instincts and recognising the wealth of knowledge gained through experience.
I’m so proud’a’me.
I’m a little too radically accepting sometimes
While being open and accepting is a strength, this year taught me the importance of balance.
There we go: she said it.
I’m renowned for my radical acceptance, but sometimes being too accepting can lead to overlooking critical feedback or necessary changes. Learning the art of tempering acceptance with critical evaluation has been a crucial lesson in maintaining the right equilibrium between my wanting to balance my naturally humanistic and encouraging spirit … with all-important business growth for TDP.
When you’re a small business owner, you can only really afford to have high performance
In a small business environment, every team member’s contribution is magnified. This year reinforced the idea that small businesses cannot afford to carry underperformance [I’m actually lucky in this space, tbh … we generally don’t tackle this at TDP. That said, we would the moment we needed to … because we’re just too small a business to ignore underperformance, or stick our heads in the sand about it].
Cultivating a high-performance culture is vital, not just for survival but for thriving in a competitive landscape.
What a year. Powerful learnings. I feel like I managed to learn the equivalent of ten MBA’s this year [and that’s being conservative].
I lived. I laughed. I loved. I learnt.
… and I’m so looking forward to seeing what 2024 has in store for me.
We’ve got some huge things coming in 2024, so if you don’t want to miss any announcements, we’d recommend signing up to hear from us here [we’re not into spam. At all].