4 powerful lessons from 2019 (and how they’ll help you)

Dec 12, 2019

The end of 2019 is fast approaching!

As always at this time of year, I like to reflect on the past 12 months and review my accomplishments, challenges and highlights.

Every year on January 1st, we obsess over New Year’s resolutions. However, it’s equally important to take a moment to look back at the last year and acknowledge your successes and learnings — before planning ahead for 2020.

What did I learn in 2019? This week I’m sharing the powerful, game-changing lessons I’ve learned and implemented and how they’ve changed by life and business.

Read on to discover the four greatest lessons I learnt this year, personally and professionally. I also offer some simple questions to help you review your year and apply these lessons to your own career and life.


I’ve learnt that success in business is less about strategy — processes, steps, skills — and more about mindset. Strategy is necessary. But it’s our mindset which has the greatest impact on our success.

As Tony Robbins said, “Success is 80% psychology, 20% mechanics — what you do doesn’t matter without the right mindset.”

I’ve found this to be especially true in 2019 — through personal experience and the work I do with my clients.

I teach a lot of step-by-step strategies to help my coaching clients reach their goals. However, it’s the deeper mindset work I do with my private one-on-one coaching clients that creates the greatest transformations. What actually moves the needle in their businesses are the mindset shifts that we work on over the duration of a coaching program.

When we’re held back by fears or limiting beliefs, we procrastinate, don’t take risks or give up. Whenever I’ve leaned into fear or discomfort and taken action anyway — I get results. Even if the final outcome is not directly linked to the steps I take, the process of taking action always leads to success.

Having the right mindset for success is about:

  1. Belief: in yourself, your business, the results your product or service provides and your ability to be successful
  2. Positivity: choosing to focus on the opportunities and having an abundant, versus scarcity mindset
  3. Courage: to make mistakes, learn, grow, manage risk, push through and overcome fears
  4. Commitment: to your goals and taking action — even when you don’t feel like it

Consider — Have you approached 2019 with the right mindset? And, which area will you focus on to create greater success in 2020?


As high performers in business, it’s easy to become caught up in the cycle of taking action, generating results and ‘doing’ the work.

But over time, this is unsustainable. We become tired and less efficient. Eventually, overwhelm, procrastination and even burnout can sink in.

I’m someone who has worked myself to burnout too many times in the past. In the last 2 years, I’ve completely overhauled my lifestyle to create more balance and prioritise self-care. However, due to some major life events mid-year, I was struggling by September.

I found myself stuck in procrastination, lacking creativity and unable to focus — all highly unusual for me. And the more I pushed myself to keep going, the harder it was to get ahead. Then, I’d beat myself up for not being able to ‘get things done’.

How did I get past this? By slowing down, in order to speed up later.

It was difficult, but I knew I had to take a step back from (trying) to give 110% to my business in order to move forward. And I realised — I was finding it tough because I hadn’t allowed myself time to take a break and process these big challenges and life-changing events.

Only weeks later, slowing down for a while has left me rejuvenated, more motivated than ever and excited to tackle big goals in 2020!

My biggest takeaway? As a runner, this metaphor makes perfect sense — building a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

• Where in your personal or professional life do you need to slow down now in order to speed up later?
• Use the holiday season to take a step back. Then, you’ll be ready to start the new decade strong!


2019 has highlighted the importance of following your dreams — even if it’s scary or risky.

In my work, I see so many capable individuals put their business or career dreams on hold because of fear. They’re terrified of giving up a steady pay cheque or scared of leaving a secure job they’ve worked hard for. And I get it — I’ve experienced it myself in the past.

Fear always presents when you’re making a change or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, it’s often a sign of what’s important to you and that you’re on the right track!

If you’re contemplating a change in some area of your personal or professional life, it’s wise to check in with your heart and intuition — as well as your mind. Sometimes things don’t make sense on paper — they just feel right.

A great question to ask is: In 5 years’ time, will I regret not making this decision?

If the answer is a clear YES, you owe it to yourself to follow your dream. One caveat — this doesn’t mean you should take unnecessary risks. It’s about minimising risks and working through your fears.

The past year has reinforced to me just how precious life is. You only get one shot, so you may as well make the most of it!

• What dream have you put on hold this year?
• And, what’s one step you can take to make it a reality in 2020?


This was a BIG life lesson for me in 2019. Now, I’m passionate about my business and because I love what I do, I’ve often prioritised work over other areas of my life. As I’ve touched on, being a high-achiever has also led me to work excessively long hours and experience burnout in the past.

This year though, I’ve learned not to define myself by my work. And been reminded that my family, important relationships, health — and making time for fun — are equally, if not more important.

I lost my Dad during the year after a 12 month battle with cancer. He was still relatively young at 60 and had always looked after himself, so his diagnosis came out of nowhere.

This experience saw me shift my priorities. As my world was turned upside down, work seemed less important. Knowing my time with him was limited, I wanted to spend as much precious time together as possible.

Reflecting on this year, I’ve learned that life is truly precious — and that work isn’t everything. Sure, I’m committed to building a successful business. But I now really acknowledge that there’s more to life than working hard and making money.

After all, you can always make more money, but you cannot make more time!

• What area of your life have you been neglecting this year in favour of work?
• And, what’s one step you can take to achieve more balance in this area? 

So, there you have it. These are the four greatest lessons that have shaped my personal and professional life in 2019. By sharing these learnings, my hope is you can learn from my experiences and reflect on your own year too.

I’ll be back next week with a Christmas bonus to finish off the year — a simple year-end reflection to help you review your year and set yourself up for success in 2020!

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Stacey Back is a Career Strategist, Leadership Coach + Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achievers at a career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms. Stacey works virtually with individuals and organisations based across the globe.