Our CEO Andrea Brenholz and Laura Munson, VP of Sales & Strategy, have their own podcasts: Unicorn in the Boardroom (UITB), and Parent. Boss. Leader. (PBL) But recently they co-hosted an episode together to discuss lessons learned from 2022 and unpack their goals for 2023. We think you’ll love listening to the full crossover episode! And here are some of our favorite takeaways from their conversation.
2022 In Review – The Lessons They Learned (and Relearned)
Laura: My top lesson – life is always changing. Maybe that’s more of a reminder, but the reality hit me like a ton of bricks this year. With COVID, the economy, etc., you wonder, where are we headed? Change is the one constant. (I looked it up, Heraclitus a Greek philosopher said it first!)
At ATR, we watch for change all the time. What’s happening in an industry, the economy, the world, and how it’s going to affect the workforce? When is hiring going to happen? What jobs are in-demand, and which ones are becoming obsolete? I’ve learned that the way to survive is agility. Whether it’s my kids (they change nearly every day!), my team, or my clients and their industries, they all thrive when they are agile, adaptable, and willing to try new things.
Andrea: My #1 lesson was this – I love my job. Honestly, I really do! I know what you mean about agility. We must be flexible and able to change at a moment’s notice, and if you don’t love your job, you’re probably not going to love that part!
As much as I love my role, I also want to achieve a different work/life mix this year. The two areas are so intertwined for me, and I’m ok with that. Loving your work can be a superpower.
Laura: Another lesson I learned was to be my whole self. I am quirky and joke-y. This year I brought that to work and shared “me” with my team more. I liked it. I’m also shy, and I own that. People don’t think a sales leader would be, but I am. I get nervous and shy before meetings or events, but I get over it by focusing on the people I’m meeting, and that makes me not focus on myself. Being authentic is a buzzword, but this year it was more of a reality for me.
Andrea: I handle stress by doing the same thing – I focus on connecting with someone or finding the solution. I don’t think people know when I’m really stressed. Sometimes I don’t even know, until I get a headache! Stress is inevitable in life; it’s what you do with it that matters.
I also learned that I need to stop comparing myself to others on LinkedIn. I look at other people’s profiles and posts and say, “Why am I not doing that?” Why didn’t I think of that?” I love LI but it’s my worst enemy sometimes! I have to stop asking “Gosh, why am I not there yet?” We have our own challenges, must carve our own path, and evolve out of our own experiences. What is meant for us will come in our own time.
Laura: That’s another thing I learned going through the past couple of years. You are stronger than you think you are. It’s been tough but even when I’m exhausted or crying, I am still here, trying, and giving my whole heart. I want my listeners to know they are stronger too.
One more lesson – don’t micromanage my team! I try not to be a helicopter boss. I think the tendency comes from trying to save them from pain or difficulty. I love my team, and I want to protect them. I try to prepare them for everything, explain every bad possibility, and advise them what to do, but keeping them from hard decisions means keeping them from learning and growing. I have to let them experience some pain; pain helps us grow.
Unpacking the Goals for 2023
Andrea: Like I said earlier, I want a different life balance. I want to blend my work and personal life in a way that prioritizes my health and wellbeing more. I want to cook healthier, exercise, and make time for myself. I may not always show it, but I can feel overwhelmed (like anyone) when I see 50 messages in my inbox after a meeting. I want to remember to take a breath, relax, stop negative self-talk, and take better care of myself. I want to get rid of my bad habits!
Laura: Oh yes, I agree. I plan to focus on my physical fitness too, even 30 minutes every now and then would be great! I spend too much time looking at my phone, checking emails, sending texts, etc. Work-from-home too often means I’m working constantly. I need to take a real break. It’s hard with a busy job and kids – I know I’m not alone in this – but I’m going to try.
Finally, it’s a stretch goal, but I’m serious, one of my goals for 2023 is to write a book. I have always loved writing. As a kid I used to write stories all the time and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job when I get a chance to do so. We’ll see what happens, but I’m saying it!
Andrea: Well, that’s great because another one of my goals is to read more! Especially books from successful business leaders I admire. I hope they can help me become a better leader!
And there you have it, thoughts and insights from our fearless leaders. We’d love to hear from you about your business or personal goals for the new year as well. We have a feeling it will be one to remember.
Wondering how ATR can help you with your business strategy for 2023? Take a look at our services and connect with our team today.