13 Things I Learned in 2013

By Karen Isbell


I have the privilege to sit under great leadership at The Rocket Company. One thing I have learned from Michael Lukaszewski and Casey Graham is the power of looking back.

Typically I stay away from odd numbers since I prefer their even counterpart, but in the spirit of looking back on 2013 here are 13 things I learned this year.

1. I can’t do everything. I tend to believe I am superwoman and that I can do everything. I can be at every event, host this, sew that and still have homemade dinner on the table with sparkling floors every night. My capacity has a limit. I can’t do everything and no one expects me too.

2. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I should. Growing up I played the piano, the flute, the violin and the guitar. While I am grateful for the skill to play each instrument I never focused on just one and really honed my craft. This pattern has followed me into adulthood where I often find that I can do a lot. I often worry if I say no it won’t get done, but the truth is, there are other people with the ability (and most likely better ability) to get the job done. Just because I can do something doesn’t mean its what is best for everyone.

3. Saying yes is still saying no. When I say yes, someone else gets told no. Unfortunately, this year I said yes to the wrong people and no to the right people. When I say yes to something that takes away my family time, I say no to Ellie and Bryan. It’s hard for me to say no, until I filter it through who I want to say yes too. When I know what I want to say “yes” too it’s clear what to say “no” too.

4. Laugh Everyday. Ellie has brought so much joy and laughter into our home. She has reminded me of the power of laughter to soothe a tired soul. I tend to be reflective and thoughtful aka serious, but laughter lightens the load.

5. Take Risks. You never know if you don’t try. I often tend towards things I know I will succeed at, yet I miss out on the journey of taking a risk.

6. I need others. I can’t do this alone. I need others. At one point this year I found myself very overwhelmed. Very few people realized it because I never asked for help. People can’t help you when they don’t know you need it.

7. Living by faith is more rewarding than living in fear. Fear and I have been friends for a long time. This year I realized what a bad friend fear makes. Living by faith may not be easy but it’s way more rewarding than living in fear.

8. Be Grateful. We have been blessed beyond measure over the last year. Gratefulness is not something that always comes naturally. It easier to focus on what we don’t have not what we do have. Finding 5 things to be thankful for each day has kept my focus on what I am blessed with.

9. Slow Down. We live in a fast paced society. While there are times when being able to produce quickly is valuable, slowing down yields greater return. Do less, better. Quality time over quantity time.

10. Be Intentional. It’s easy to want to give more, or spend more time with friends, but intentionality puts feet to taking steps towards making it a reality.

11. Begin with the End in Mind. I often dive deep into a project with stopping to think about the end goal. When you begin with the end in mind, in parenting, in relationships, in projects it gives you clarity and direction along the way.

12. Remember Regularly. Remembering regularly is powerful. Stopping to remember the successes and failures of the past few weeks, answered prayers, unexpected blessings renew my spirit and help keep me moving forward.

13. Be Present. It’s easy for me to get distracted by an idea in my head, a thought that needs to be shared, a picture I want to post rather than just being present and enjoying the beauty of the moment.


What did you learn in 2013?

1 Comment on 13 Things I Learned in 2013

  1. Casey Graham
    December 31, 2013 at 5:17 pm (4 years ago)

    This was a FANTASTIC blog post karen isbell! I’m so proud of you & what you learned this year. You are one of my favorites! Love this.


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