My end-of-year review essays are my way of reflecting publicly on what we’ve accomplished together, my excitement about the trajectory of the business, and my continued gratitude for you. *UPDATE* I just filmed the video version of my 2021 year in review and goals for 2022. Watch it!
Join me! As you reflect on your aspirations for 2022 (and beyond), I urge you to think about and publish your own accomplishments and thoughts on the future. Your deep reflection will provide mental clarity that will help you prioritize and stay on track. Sharing it publicly will create accountability and provide your network with insights on how you can work together.
2021 was a wild year. It marked the end of my fourth year of dedicating 100% of my professional time to building the Learning Leader business. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had wild swings: there were moments when companies had no in-person contact at all, and other times when I was on the road for seven consecutive weeks giving keynote speeches to large audiences. 2022 looks like it will be a big year of in-person events (with a few virtual ones as well).
COOL MOMENTS of 2021
THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE
I wrote my second book! After earning another book deal from one of the premier publishers in the world, McGraw-Hill, my next book comes out on January 25, 2022. It’s called The Pursuit Of Excellence – The Uncommon Behaviors of The World’s Most Productive Achievers. You should pre-order it now! It ranked as a #1 New Release on Amazon. It comes out two years after my first book, Welcome To Management. Forbes called Welcome To Management “the best leadership book of 2020.”
THE LEARNING LEADER SHOW
I published 52 episodes of The Learning Leader Show. It remains one of the All-Time Best-Sellers (it’s free by the way. But Apple still uses the term “best-seller”) in the Management category on Apple Podcasts.
I decided to record all podcast episodes on video this year and have each one formatted by a fantastic video editor. My YouTube channel following has steadily increased over the past year. I’m looking forward to implementing new ways to add value to viewers and grow this platform.
Since early 2020, I have been working as the executive coach for the Chief Revenue Officer of Insight Global, Sam Kaufman. We developed a friendship and thought of an idea for an even bigger partnership. After talking with CEO Bert Bean, we quickly came to an agreement (we told the entire story on this podcast episode). As of June 1, 2021, it was official. Insight Global now presents all of my podcast episodes, and I work with the leaders of the company in a variety of programs, like Insight Global University, Leadership Academy, and Compass. I regularly conduct 360 reviews for the senior leadership team and speak to regional leadership teams. It’s been an amazing partnership, and I’m excited about the future with Insight Global. It’s still just the beginning!
2021 was a great year for keynote speaking. I traveled across the country and back multiple times. I was fortunate to go to some new (beautiful) places like Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Gleneden Beach, Oregon. I also went to Colorado, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia. Add in all the Zoom keynotes, and 2021 turned out to be a banner year for keynote speaking.
2022 is looking to be another big year for keynotes; I’m booked to be in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Las Vegas, Iowa, Ohio, and some Zoom keynotes for a few companies and conferences. I love being on stage and sharing the Learning Leader message with big groups of growth-oriented people.
THE FINAL FOUR
I got booked to deliver two keynote speeches at the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Four in Columbus, OH, in mid-December. Given that my daughter Ella is an avid volleyball player, we decided to make it a daughter/dad 1:1 trip. It was amazing. We met great people, had tasty meals and desserts (Hi Jeni!), and saw a wild five-set match between Louisville and Wisconsin. I’m so grateful for these dad/daughter highlight-reel moments and look forward to more in 2022!
LEARNING LEADER CIRCLES
Some of the most rewarding work I did in 2021 was with my Learning Leader Circles. These small mastermind groups of 12 people met 17 times over the course of the year. We did a series of exercises I’ve created and compiled from years of meeting with extraordinary leaders, building committed teams, and fostering friendships for life.
In September, members of my circle spent three days together at a beautiful resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. We watched the sunrise from a mountain top, did improv and communication work in the meeting room, and spent the evenings having great meals and sharing big goals for the upcoming year.
My initial Learning Leader Circle group has renewed for a fourth year heading into 2022! The members of that original circle hold a special place in my heart because they were the first to take a leap of faith with me. Their commitment has made us all much stronger.
THE LEARNING LEADER ACADEMY
I launched The Learning Leader Academy in early 2020. As my online training platform, this program offers leaders a self-paced, 30-lesson curriculum that includes opportunities to participate in live Q&As. I’ve learned that it is a course best taken within a cohort of 15-20 people at a time. Because of that, I’ve added a “live” component to the course for leadership teams that want to take it together. When it’s done this way, I help facilitate additional dialog during live Zoom sessions with the cohort groups. This has been a critical component to the growth of my business, as I’ve seen demand for this style of learning skyrocket over the past two years.
When I left my full-time job in corporate America to launch my own business, I did not intend to do any 1:1 coaching/advising. I didn’t see how it would scale and wasn’t sure if I would even be that good at it. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy it. The demand has increased significantly over the past two years, and I have said yes to some of it. Understanding the challenges of high-level leaders and creating an environment where they open up and share deep vulnerabilities with the hope of becoming more effective has been truly rewarding work.
All of this started with the podcast: my “flywheel” that makes everything go. Having a long-form conversation with a clear thinker remains my favorite part of my broad business activities. And receiving feedback that my work has positively impacted your life fuels me even more. What a thrill and reward it is to have a profitable business that aligns my passion in life with listeners who seek out and benefit from the same insights.
As Jonas Salk said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Because my work resonates with you, I get to keep doing it! Thank YOU for the privilege!
Based on the number of listeners and volume of emails I received, here are the most popular episodes of 2021:
- #447: John McWhorter – Building a Diverse Team
- #444: Kirk Herbstreit – Celebrating the Life Of Coach Bob Gregg
- #440: Robert Greene – The Laws of Power, Mastery, & Human Nature
- #437: Ryan Holiday – Fortune Favors the Brave (Courage Is Calling)
- #432: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy – How to Take Risks & Thrive
- #428: James Clear – Asking Better Questions, Taking Action, Doing A+ Work
- #424: Bert Bean & Sam Kaufman – Insight Global & The Learning Leader
- #421: Sebastian Junger – Defining Freedom, Building Tribes, Leading a Team
- #414: Erin Meyer – How to Build a High-Performance Culture
- #411: Ryan Petersen – (CEO of Flexport) Building a High-Velocity Team
- #408: Jeff Immelt – (Former CEO of GE) How to Follow a Legend
- #406: John Chambers – (Former CEO of Cisco) Grow From $70m to $40B
Goals For 2022
I don’t normally set goals, but I am changing that for 2022. Here are a few (they align with my core values) that I am setting for myself for the year.
- Curiosity and consistency: Publish at least 52 episodes of The Learning Leader Show and a “Mindful Monday” email every Monday.
- Make my business less dependent on me. Build others up to provide leadership development services through the Learning Leader brand.
- Be more grateful: Write and send 100 thank you notes.
- Be more thoughtful: Do “homework for life” 100 times.
- Write and sell my next book proposal (or decide to self-publish my next book) by year’s end.
- Land at least one dream guest for The Learning Leader Show: Dave Matthews, Sara Blakely, Aaron Sorkin, Chris Martin, Mike Rowe, Oprah, Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Doris Kearns Goodwin, or Michael Jordan.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve what has grown to be a broad expanse of growth-oriented people who find value in The Learning Leader Show and the many innovations it has spawned. We have learned great lessons together this past year, and I’m excited for what 2022 will bring!