Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly. [Note: Jes is under the weather. This is a reprint.] 

Note to readers: WRAL TechWire would like to hear from you about views expressed by our contributors. Please send email to: info@wraltechwire.com.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Well friend, it’s that point in the year where we attend holiday events and inevitably say… “Where did the year go?”

It’s true, these 12 months rolled by like Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” So if you’re reflecting on your key takeaways from this past year – good. I’ve been doing the same. Here are my Top 3 for ‘23.

  1. Wherever you go, there you are.

This old adage holds true time and time again. A less poetic way to say it is, you can run but you can’t hide. The point is, even if you change the things around you (your job, geographic location or personal relationships), you still bring your patterns, perspective, doubts and hopes into that environment.

In April, I learned that lesson the hard way. I ran away to Florida. I spent money on self-care. I dialed back my 1:1 interactions with friends and family. All in an effort to hide from burnout. But it wasn’t until I turned toward my unease and into the stressors that were causing my exhaustion that I could solve for it. It took months to break my damaging work habits and reclaim healthy boundaries. I had to decide to break the stress cycle every day in order to feel whole and in control again. But…I did it.

So as you look to 2023 take the opportunity to stop and turn toward the thing that’s getting in your way. Do the work. Don’t run. Running away won’t change the fundamental truth that wherever you go….there you are!

  1. Don’t sleep on 90 Day sprints! I’m such a fan of this practice. It’s been my go-to strategy for years now. A good 90 day sprint creates momentum, allows you to achieve mini goals and helps you stay focused and engaged on the bigger objective at play. These little sprints can be the accelerant to level up in 2023.

They certainly showed up for our team this past year. We faithfully pursued our goals in 90 day chunks. At the top of each new cycle, we examined our North Star and set new milestones with fresh eyes! In just twelve months our small but passionate team, created five new products and more than quadrupled our annual revenue.

Now it’s your turn! What could a well-planned 90-day sprint do for your life—personally and professionally? Take the time to scope it out. Keep an open mind and imagine the possibilities….

  1. Trusted leadership isn’t a nice-to-have.

I’m looking at you, Sam Bankman-Fried. You too, Elon!

This final reflection was an observed lesson and might feel more like a warning.

I’ve been obsessively following the FTX saga since it surfaced in November. Each day there was a new account of how Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX CEO, served as chief cook and bottle washer for a cryptocurrency giant. It was truly shocking to watch a global ‘leader’ single-handedly destroy the trust and financial futures of many and rock an industry.

And then there’s Twitter. All I can say is…time will tell. A leader who isn’t trusted is as effective as a rowboat with one oar. And there are real costs associated with the distrust he’s seeded: voluntary turnover, toxic culture and decreased productivity to name a few.

My guess is that within the next 12 months, we’ll see a mountain of case studies dissecting the psychology of both leadership styles. In the meantime, here are the questions I’m asking myself as I head into a new year:

“What kind of leader would my team say I am?”

“What kind of leader does my team need?”

Bottom line, how do I show up for the people that are counting on me?

Okay, there you have it, my Top 3 for ’23. A list that turned out to be honest, insightful and instructive. I encourage you to reflect on your own list of key takeaways from this past year. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate your wins and adjust where needed because a new starting line is just around the corner.