How You Can Apply 7 Key Life Lessons I Learned in 2022

In How You Can Apply 7 Key Life Lessons I Learned in 2022 I’m sharing 7 of the most impactful lessons I learned and helped teach myself in 2022.

For me, the 2022 year started with a bang. I competed in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournament and placed 1st (Gi) and 2nd (No Gi) place. I had a terrible adrenalin dump and before my first match, I felt my legs were going to give out. But, I stepped onto the mats and competed. As the year went on I was faced with serious family illnesses and disheartening diagnoses. This added stress plus my own past traumatic stress and day-to-day work and home pressures built to a boiling point and then my mental pot boiled over and I had a panic attack. It was the awakening I didn’t want, but one that I needed.

So, in this week’s episode, the last week of 2022, I’m sharing 7 valuable lessons I learned over the past year. More importantly, I’m going to share how you can learn from my challenges and kick off 2023 on the right foot.

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My Top 7 Lessons Learned from 2022

1. Get ahold of your vices before they get ahold of you

  • My Lessons Learned
    • I’ve always enjoyed a good beer or bourbon. For a stretch earlier this year I started enjoying drinks daily as a way to cope with the day’s stress. After my panic attack, I stopped drinking for 4 months. I stepped into an Alcoholics Anonymous room and learned how welcoming the group is. I also researched SMART Recovery. I also learned a lot about myself and now have a much different and better relationship with alcohol.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • Find a support group like AA or SMART Recovery
    • Review these resources from the All Clear Foundation
    • Talk to a friend with a similar background or that’s in the same professional field as you

2. Find a way to give more than you take

  • My Lessons Learned
    • I’ve always felt compelled to share information and lessons I’ve learned with others. This internal drive inspired me to start podcasting in 2018 with ‘Between the Slides’ as a way to provide All-Hazards Incident Management principles and best practices without having to travel. In 2020 I pivoted to the ‘People, Process, Progress’ podcast and focused more on Program and Project Management processes. This year I decided to focus more on who I am, but also on what more specific areas I could share. Thus, ‘KEV Talks’ was born.
    • I learned that sharing my personal and professional experience has provided tangible benefits to others. I helped someone pass the PMP exam and we only corresponded through Reddit. I validated that I can and have made someone else’s life better.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • Post helpful information on LinkedIn
    • Start or be on a podcast (here’s how to get on KEV Talks)
    • Buy the next person in line’s coffee

3. Get more and/or better quality sleep

  • My Lessons Learned
    • I realized my sleep hygiene was awful. I was staying up late watching action movies or fight videos. I didn’t realize that this kept my brain in fight or flight mode. Not helpful before going to bed. Neither were the beer or unhealthy snacks. So, in addition to abstaining from alcohol, I reduced my pre-bedtime liquid intake and learned and practiced better sleep hygiene. I also changed my mindset to accept days I didn’t get optimal sleep. Stopping the negative sleep mindset is key.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • Disconnect from the online world 1-2 hours before bed
    • Watch this video that lays out the components of CBT-I
    • Learn more about the benefits of sleep from Dr. Tracey Marks on YouTube

4. Figure out or reaffirm your “Why?” then step towards your “How?”

  • My Lessons Learned
    • When I was exhausted, feeling depressed and anxious I honestly felt I couldn’t go on. Not like I didn’t want to, more like I didn’t know how. I reiterated to myself “Why?”. I thought of my strong, supporting wife of 21 years and my three beautiful sons. Then, as I awoke anxious and exhausted some days I took a step. Then another and another. My “Why” acted as the virtual hand at my back driving me forward.
  • Actions you Can Take
    • Read this in “Man’s Search for Meaning” and then think about your “Why?”.
    • Now that you have your why, think about moving toward your “How?”
    • Don’t let your emotions or thoughts take over. Emotions are fleeting and not all thoughts reflect reality. Humans are amazingly resilient.

5. Remember how you talk to yourself matters

  • My Lessons Learned
    • A few months ago I listened to the Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life audiobook. Gary John Bishop’s no-nonsense way of speaking and the message he delivers more efficiently drove his points into my head. Gary also didn’t sugarcoat the message that we (you and I) need to put in the work if we want to live a better life and get past the “Woe is me” thought process.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • Use “I will…insert positive…”
    • Use “I will not…insert negative…”

6. Rejoice in doing things afraid

  • My Lessons Learned
    • This thought helped push me when I had moments of anxiousness and when my thoughts filled me with self-doubt. I started listening to the Joyce Meyer podcast each morning as I walked. I heard, “Why can’t you just do it afraid?”. My mindset was changed for the better immediately.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • Listen to the Joyce Meyer podcast to get quick, 15-minute practical and spiritual guidance
    • Make a list of things you’re afraid of, then think about how you can chip away at your fears

7. Doing hard things regularly makes you more resilient

  • My Lessons Learned
    • Before my panic attack, I had a good base of regular exercise and practiced (and still do) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Having this base of fitness and being used to putting myself in tough and even scary situations helped me push through dark times.
  • Actions You Can Take
    • When you feel anxious remember, “Move a muscle, change a thought”, then get up and get moving
    • As a reminder to exercise daily remember my Pannell5 Fitness Club mantra, “Get up. Get after it. Godspeed” then do what the mantra says:
      • Get up out of bed and make your bed
      • Get after it with some kind of movement or exercise
      • Then wish yourself and those around you Godspeed as you begin your day

Happy New Year 2023 and Thank you for Listening!

I hope you found How You Can Apply 7 Key Life Lessons I Learned in 2022 helpful and that you’re on your way to making 2023 your best year yet. I’ll leave you, readers and listeners, with words from someone that inspired and supported me through his words:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

– Viktor Frankl

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Kevin Pannell, PMP | About | Listen & Subscribe | Build the Foundation | Support the Show | Jiu Jitsu Gear

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