What Did I Learn in 2018?

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By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

Here we are, the end of the year. Am I any wiser?

Hard as it may be at times, I owe it to myself to practice what I preach, to do what I ask of my clients.

So in that vein, here are the top three lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Never expect someone else to protect myself better than I do.

I am always surprised when I email someone to discuss a topic between the two of us, that they then choose to forward part of that email to someone else. (FYI – never do this unless the person who originally wrote the email has given you permission. It is unprofessional and serves to undermine the trust that has been developed.)

It happened to me recently, and while it will be problematic for the person who forwarded the message, it reminded me others do not view integrity and confidentiality the same way that I do. I must be aware and pick and choose my words and behavior appropriately at all times! No one will protect me better than I will myself.

  1. There is great value and growth in making the tough decisions.

To move any organization to the next level is rarely easy. Tough decisions must be made and as a result, relationships may change and feelings may be hurt. Heck, sometimes those feelings may be your own! Yet for me, stagnation is not an option.

There is a big difference between making a rash decision and a well thought-out one. I’m not advocating you rush out, sell your worldly possessions, and take a job on the Horn of Africa! (That being said, I’m writing this blog from a tiny beach resort on the coast of Ghana.) However, recognize forward movement in life does not come on its own. It takes vulnerability to sit in that uncomfortable space while you learn more about the new reality and leave your old one behind.

  1. Never underestimate the value of friendships – both new and those with more history.

While I may travel a lot and lament that I don’t see my own bed enough, I am grateful for the people in my life – both near and far. I am thankful for those who take the time to reach out and say hello – and those who take the time to respond to my texts along the way. I’m grateful for those who open their homes to me for a glass of wine on the way to the airport or who meet me for an early breakfast as I’m passing through their town or country! I’m blessed my work in November took me to two new countries and grateful it allowed for a night in Dubai with close friends. There’s something to be said for that feeling of a familiar hug and smile when you walk into someone’s home.

And as much as we whinge and whine about social media, it allows me to stay connected with those whose lives have intersected with mine. What has it given me?

  • The chance to have dinner with a recent student in her home in Alabama – what a wonderful evening and opportunity to enjoy the kindness of others.
  • The opportunity to connect with recently-made friends at a cookout in Detroit and then show them Southern Ontario!
  • An entire collection of friends in my local area that I met through an on-line site, some of whom I count amongst my closest confidantes!

What have I learned this year? That while times may be tough, there is goodness all around us. My family is healthy – some having come through substantial health challenges. My friends are in my corner. My business continues to grow.

I am abundantly blessed!

I wish the same for you – both now and always.




Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work. She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at [email protected] or through wisewaysconsulting.com


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