It’s been a tremendous year for our Wednesdays for Women blog as we have highlighted women around the globe from JDA, our customers, partners and industry influencers, too. Not only did these blogs have a lot of learnings, they offered some pretty spot-on advice (as  highlighted last week). This week as we officially kick off 2019, we wanted to share some learnings that actually make great resolutions for 2019 (whether you believe in resolutions or not!).

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone was a big theme for 2018. For those of you looking to get comfortable being uncomfortable in the new year, we offer commentary from four women doing just that:

Sarah Barnes: In Grade 5, I spoke in speech competitions. One day, my whole class threw paper balls at me! Ever since then, I wouldn’t voluntarily sign up for Toastmasters as it scared me though I knew I needed to face my fears. Instead, I signed up with a talent agent. I have done commercials, live tv – which terrified me by the way, and I’ve done it three times! – and I went on auditions and would completely flub them. But you know what? It was fine because it got me into uncomfortable situations.

JoAnn Martin: Even though I’ve been flexible with my career, I’ve always taken the tried-and-true path. I have excelled and loved leading large teams with a focus on development.  JDA is a completely different role and dynamic and I have enjoyed every moment.   At JDA I learn something new every day and I am energized when my experiences can help a retailer overcome some of their challenges.  This risk has been exciting, scary and very rewarding for me personally.

SriLaxmi Kotwal: I took a risk and left the company for a new position…It took me a year to settle in, but I never gave up, thanks to some amazing mentors I had in the organization. It would have been very easy to go back, but I kept telling myself that I had to adjust and figure things out; to not take the easy out. I ended up working there for nine years, my transition from on-premise software to SaaS happened there and I worked with the best of the leaders who mentored me in this phase of unlearning and re-learning!

Jolene Peixoto: Practice fearlessness: Take smaller opportunities to leap at challenges that are presented to you, so when a big leap opportunity comes your way, you are mentally and emotionally prepared and strong enough to make that change. By practicing courage, it’ll become ingrained in you versus insurmountable when faced with it.

Find better balance

Oftentimes, we try to ‘do it all,’ and stretch ourselves so thin that our work/life balance gets thrown out of whack, or our performance suffers because we are trying to do too many things, instead of a few things well, or our calendar has become so unwieldy that we can’t seem to stay on top of it all. If you resolve to better balance and a focus on progress over perfection in 2019, the thoughts shared by these JDA associates may provide inspiration:

Arlyn Knox: My life priorities are a work in progress. I’m constantly working on bettering myself and reminding myself that I don’t need to have it all. I just need to have all of my life prioritized. And apparently, organized.

Laura Browne: In order to grow, we have to be willing to make some mistakes. As children learning to walk, we sometimes had to fall. When we learned how to ride a bike, falling was part of the learning. In business, if we’re not making some mistakes, we’re not trying anything new. Mistakes can show that we are stretching and trying something different and uncomfortable

Girish Rishi: You are as good as your system—your daily and weekly routine, cadence and regime. The emphasis of creating your own system that allows you to cope with the certainties and uncertainties of a given day. A personal system that focuses on diet, exercise, what to take on, when to engage on a work activity and when to pull back, and overall where to spend one’s time defines success. A system’s ineffectiveness leads to failure—a personal failure that cascades into a team failure that in turn cascades into an enterprise failure.

Become a better leader

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi was known to say, “Leaders aren’t born, they’re made.” With that in mind, if developing your leadership skills is on the top of your 2019 to-do list, we recommend checking out the leadership qualities admired by some of the women featured past Wednesdays for Women blogs:

Caroline Sauve: …To be a good leader you also need to be a good follower. Leaders can get so caught up in being a leader that they don’t always look to their team for the answer, but feel they need to have the answer or solution every time. It’s okay to take a step back and take into account your team’s feedback and solutions to problems even if they aren’t your own ideas.  Everyone wants to be a leader and nobody wants to be a follower but sometimes that’s what needs to happen. It is not negative, it is collaborative.

Dawn Heep: Put yourself in others’ shoes. Try to think through when you take an action or decision, what are the ramifications to another team? And listen. I think a lot of times we want to take the lead and offer our perspective, but as a leader you have to be able to take input. I like to ask the team, “What do you think?” I don’t want to slow down decision making, but it’s important to empower people and encourage them to make decisions.

Roya Javadpour: You must do the right thing for the right reasons. I think everything else follows. If you have integrity and passion in your heart, then you can lead. You lead by example. Leaders also have to see the big picture, be articulate, and be able to cope with change. Integrity is high on my list.

Guest blogger James Merritt from JDA partner dunnhumby: Listen to, understand, and empathise with the issues being faced by others and speak out when you hear comments driven by bias or prejudice. Actively participate in networks and groups that support those who are more likely to face prejudice.

We’d love to hear from you! Share with us your resolution, word, or goal for 2019. We’ll share some of them on our social channels!