The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot.
Michael Altshuler

Like so many, I reflect on how I handled the challenges, opportunities and blessings experienced in the calendar year just past. I ruminate on how I could have handled situations and people differently or more effectively. My objective in looking back is to, hopefully, be a better version of myself for the upcoming New Year.

For the record, 2002 was hellacious, unrelenting, and tested my mettle on every level — mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The good news is that I survived relatively intact and positive. I believe it is a useful practice to look back and glean some important lessons learned from the “annus horribilis” that was 2022.

Allow me to share the technique I use to collect data and apply lessons from the past. This technique involves asking people we live, work, and play with questions about how they saw us doing the past year. My technique is simple. I ask people close to me what behaviors I should:

1) Stop
2) Start or
3) Continue

For example, regarding behaviors that we should stop, it is important not to become defensive or argumentative. Accept the feedback. Self-reflect. Most importantly, commit to incorporating the feedback into your daily behavior. Sometimes we are unaware or clueless on how our words, silence, or behaviors impact people.

In addition to asking about things we should stop, inquire about what behaviors we should start. Too often we are trapped in our own perception of reality. We don’t recognize the little changes in our behavior that would make us more palatable and pleasant to others. You don’t necessarily have to accept all the suggestions given — but you should give serious consideration to all suggestions.

While asking for feedback on what you should stop or start, it is equally important that we ask what behaviors we should continue. The fact is there are things we do that resonate with our family, friends and even strangers. Unfortunately, sometimes we are blind to the positive impact our behaviors have on people.

The process of getting feedback on what you should stop, start, or continue is simple. I would suggest sending an email, text or making a call to key people in your life. Ask each person you contact to give you honest feedback. Let them know this is your way of improving who you are as a parent, spouse, relative or friend.

If serious, I assure you that this process will make you a better human being.

Kwame Salter, a former Oak Park resident, is president of the Salter Consulting Group LLC.

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