Career 3 Things I Wish I Had Learned Sooner Written by: Wally Bock
Business man writing at desk

I started in the business world when I left the Marines in 1968. Since then I’ve learned a lot. Here are three things I wish I had learned sooner.

How to Balance People Concerns and Productivity

The Marines taught me that a leader’s job is to accomplish the mission and care for the people. I got that. What I had to learn was how to do it.

Most of us naturally gravitate to one or the other: people or productivity. For me, it’s productivity. I’ll pay attention to helping the team be productive naturally. But I had to work at giving time and attention to the people and relationships. That’s still a challenge today.

I’ve learned that I need reminders and checklists and developed habits to help me give enough attention to relationships. My advice: figure out which you do naturally and develop systems so you do the other well. I wish I’d learned that sooner.

The Importance of Sleep and Recovery Time

I’ve been blessed with a strong constitution and relatively high energy levels. I was able to get the job done even when I was tired. I thought that because I could get by on very little rest and sleep, that it was it a good idea. It wasn’t.

I learned that I do more good work more easily when I’m fit and getting enough rest. I learned that it’s a good idea to allow time for recovery after a period of intense work. My advice: get enough sleep and allow time to recover after an intense period of work. I wish I’d learned that sooner.

How to Keep Routine Things from Becoming Emergencies

I’m good at paying attention to “the important stuff.” But, I often did that by letting routine things slide. Bad idea. For years there were cycles where I let routine things go until they turned into a crisis.

I learned that it’s important to get the routine things done routinely. My advice: set up systems so you do all those recurring and routine things on a regular basis. You can let them slip a little, but not much. I wish I’d learned that sooner.

Now It’s Your Turn

What things have you learned in your life that you wish you had learned sooner?

More From Wally Bock

Leading Yourself: A Baker’s Dozen of Things to Master

How to Talk to Team Members About Performance

How to Pick the Right People to be Managers

In addition to writing the Three Star Leadership blog, Wally Bock is an author, ghostwriter, writing coach and book doctor. In his past lives he has run a small publishing company, been a popular keynote speaker to audiences around the world, and served as a U. S. Marine. He loves good beer, good friends, and good stories.

One thought on “3 Things I Wish I Had Learned Sooner”

  1. Life is all about learning. learning and understanding. One has formal education routes, of which I have partook several times, and one has life lessons. I have had several life lessons taught me too.

    Without going into detail, I think that I learn naturally with effort. Without effort what is learnt? Comfort zones need to be distorted so as to achieve forward progress, or even sideways progress to then attain forward progress.

    Comfort zones can be extended when you are digesting the learning so as to instil it in the mind. Writing down what you have learnt also helps. Formal education is the place which allows learning to be achieved with structure, and it allows the mind to structure non-formal learning.

    I have often thought what it would be like to be 16 again with what I know now, however, that also does not work as life is not that way inclined. Age and wisdom go hand in hand allowing for different decisions to be made than when you are younger.

    I think that, for me, there is nothing that has needed to be learnt sooner. I feel comfortable with what I know past and present, and look forward to the future learnings provided they are gentle.

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