I’ve seen more year-end review templates this year than ever before. Maybe it’s that I’m following more newsletter writers than in years past; I’m not sure. Instead of following one of the many templates I’ve seen, I decided to publish my answers to a combination of questions — some posed to me and some that I ask others. Without further ado, here is my 2022 year-end review and a look ahead to 2023.
Looking back at 2022
What were your most significant accomplishments this year?
I lived true to three of my four core values.
- Thoughtful: Did “Homework for Life” 120 times. Reflection and writing help me become a clearer thinker.
- Curious: Interested > Interesting. I’ve been fortunate to have many deep, long-form, 1:1 conversations throughout the year. Some are recorded, and some are not. My skills as an interviewer have improved through all of the reps. Listening is a critical skill to continue to develop to live out my value of curiosity.
- Consistent: Published 53 episodes of The Learning Leader Show. Shipped 52 “Mindful Monday” emails. Never missed.
- Published my second book, The Pursuit of Excellence, on January 25, 2022.
- Learning Leader achievements:
- Ran three Learning Leader Circles.
- Hosted our fourth Learning Leader Growth Summit in Nashville, TN. It graded out as our highest-rated event ever.
- Hosted our first Learning Leader Listener Appreciation Concert, a private show with Marc Roberge. One of the coolest nights of my life.
- Built the next Circle, which will launch in 2023.
- Building my first “guest-led” Leadership Circle. It will be run by Matthew Dicks with a focus on becoming a more effective communicator. Apply here if interested. (I’m pumped about this)
- Did 34 paid keynote speeches in 16 states.
- Insight Global achievements:
- Did a 360 Review for each person on the Senior Leadership Team.
- Completed our first IG Learning Leader Circle, creating a positive impact on 24 leaders and all they lead.
- Launched our second IG Learning Leader Circle: 24 more leaders will become better because of it.
- Hosted Kat Cole at the Atlanta HQ as part of the Women’s Leadership Council event.
- Had 1:1 calls with every IG teammate who asked.
- Participated in the IG The Pursuit of Excellence book club.
- Hosted the Movember Panel for Mental Health and Cancer Awareness.
Where did you fall short, and why?
- I set a goal to write 100 thank-you notes to live out my core value of being thankful. I only sent 14. I failed because I wasn’t intentional about the process of writing and sending the notes.
- I did not land any of my dream guests (Dave Matthews, Sara Blakely, Aaron Sorkin, Chris Martin, Mike Rowe, Oprah, Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Doris Kearns Goodwin, or Michael Jordan) for The Learning Leader Show. I spoke with multiple companies, left lots of voicemails, sent tons of emails, and FedEx’d letters, but have not landed one of them yet. I’ll keep at it.
- I have done an average job of expanding my business beyond myself (a work in progress). The majority of my consulting work is still dependent on me.
- One collaboration I value is partnering with Brook Cupps for multiple clients (we teach together) and it’s some of the most enjoyable work I do. I get to learn while simultaneously teaching. I want to do more of this in the future.
- The second collaboration I’m excited about is the expansion of my Learning Leader Circles (as mentioned above). And I’m going BIG for my first guest teacher. Matthew Dicks is a 57-time Moth StorySLAM winner & 9-time GrandSLAM champion. He advises leaders at Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Harvard, and many others. He is leading a Learning Leader Circle in 2023 focused on becoming a more effective communicator. CLICK HERE to apply.
Who is an impressive person you’ve met in 2022? What is it about them that impressed you? How will you take action based on what you’ve learned from that person?
- Alec Grandin. When Alec was 19, his parents divorced, and he gave up his dream of playing college football. He transferred to a school closer to home to help take care of his brother, who has special needs. He’s mature beyond his years (Alec is 22 years old). He puts others first. He’s smart. He’s funny. He wants to be an NFL GM one day, and I expect him to do it. He told the story of his brother and parents at our Growth Summit in Nashville this year, and it was vulnerable and emotional. I want to be more like him as I get older.
What did you learn from this year that you’ll apply to next year?
- There are different ways to “scale,” and I like being a high-value, high-dollar, boutique provider.
- There is huge potential to grow my leadership circles. The demand (measured in applications) has skyrocketed in 2022. It would probably be wise to hire someone to help with the entire program (organization, scheduling, teaching, facilitating, and communication with members).
- Action step: Identify more topic-specific facilitators to lead Circles for clients who want a deep focus on learning new skills for a year.
- Remember Todd Henry’s advice: “Before my kids leave for college, I’m trying to build a life, not a business.”
My Top Podcasts of 2022
- #453: Dr. Gary Chapman – The 5 Love Languages
- #456: Daniel Pink – How Looking Backwards Moves Us Forwards
- #457: Ken Blanchard – Creating Magical Moments, The 1-Minute Manager
- #464: Polina Pompliano – Profiles of the World’s Greatest Performers
- #465: Michael Easter – The Comfort Crisis
- #470: Daniel Coyle – The Culture Playbook
- #471: Steve Magness – Do Hard Things
- #473: Ed Mylett – The Power of One More
- #480: Seth Godin – Becoming a Great Storyteller
- #485: Ryan Holiday – Discipline is Destiny
- #494: Mayor Eric Adams – Mayor of New York City
- #500: AJ Hawk, Keith Hawk, Pat McAfee – Life as a Movie
- #503: Sherri Coale – From Rooted to Rise
Looking ahead to 2023
What are the most important things you want to achieve next year?
- Live true to my core values (thoughtful, thankful, curious, consistent). Behaviors must line up with the words.
- Go on at least 180 walks with Miranda.
- Spend as many summer afternoons as possible swimming with Charlie.
- Create memorable moments for my teammates and clients:
- Do such great work that at least one Insight Global teammate sends a note (every week) that my work has positively impacted their life.
- Wow audiences from the stage. Earn standing ovations. Stir emotions in people so well that they look me in the eyes afterward and tell me, “Thank you. I needed that.”
- 10X their return. Set such ambitious standards for my work output that all clients feel they get at least a 10X return on what they invested in me.
- Make fans feel heard. Block five hours weekly to reply to every email (both positive and negative) from a listener/reader of my work. It is always a worthwhile investment to thank supporters and take a genuine interest in them.
- Create an excellent experience for all leadership circle members. Ensure they have tangible takeaways to make them a better spouse, parent, and leader at work.
- Ship excellent work:
- Finish the manuscript for my third book.
- Publish at least 52 episodes of The Learning Leader Show.
- Do a series of mid-week (20-30 minute) episodes with recurring guests to go deep on one topic.
- Publish at least 52 “Mindful Monday” emails.
How do you want to grow next year as a leader, and how will you do it?
- Become a better storyteller: build deeper relationships with Don Miller, Matthew Dicks, and Neal Foard to learn how they’ve gotten so good at such an important skill. And GET REPS.
- Become a better writer: build deeper relationships with Sherri Coale, Ryan Holiday, and James Clear to learn how they are so good at something that is so hard. And WRITE every day.
- Better understand the operational elements of my business: I have meetings set up with Michael Bungay Stanier (who built his business Box of Crayons 20 years ago) and Donald Miller (who built Storybrand) to help me define a clearer strategy moving forward.
Overall… I am pleased with how 2022 went. I met some amazing people out on the road speaking and grew my business significantly. I am going to focus this year on surrounding myself with others who can help my business grow so that I’m spending the majority of my time with the people I want, doing the things I want to do, and having as big of an impact as possible. Ultimately the reward for great work is the opportunity to do more. I’m grateful for that opportunity and intend to make the most of it.
Congratulations on a great year. looking forward to listening to your 2023 content !
Love this. Definitely doing my own year end review and look ahead .
Good stuff here Ryan. Great honest review of your year. I look forward to connecting more with you in 2023!
Great job! As a 66 year old retired guy I’m not exactly the avatar you describe to the folks you interview. However I look forward to, I enjoy, and I learn from your podcasts and your Monday email. Good luck on your journey through 2023.
Can’t wait to follow along this year!!!
Awesome stuff! Looking forward to 2023! Lets go!
You have challenged me with your granular feedback to yourself on your own delivery on 2022. I look forward to reading your second book.
Great work Ryan! It’s awesome, refreshing, and inspiring to see how honest you are, and the high standards you hold for yourself. God bless you brother.