Growing and learning require stretching. That stretching can get quite uncomfortable. Every single thing I did over the past year was a stretch and therefore the level of discomfort was at times very palpable. It helped (a little) that I knew this was likely to happen and I was somewhat prepared for it.
Here are some things I've learned in the process:
- While I often talked about this past year as a "Year of Learning", it was a form of learning that was meant to help me craft a path forward, not just learning for the sake of learning. Specifically, I learned that while my initial expectations were to do 80% consulting and 20% teaching, the ratio was perhaps not the right one. A 50/50 split might work out better.
- Stretching should not be confused with pushing oneself to the edge of burnout. In fact, overloading on work and getting overwhelmed only guarantees a decrease in "learning." If it is impossible to set aside time to reflect on the job/assignment, then I can almost guarantee a lower quality output and no learning (other than not to do that again).
- As I move forward and leave the idea of the "year of learning" behind, I will focus on the concept of job crafting for myself, which is easy as a self-employed consultant/part-time faculty. I am writing my job description with a blank canvas.
- I also want to continue integrating and combining my areas of expertise, looking for deeper insights as well as innovative solutions to stubborn challenges.