5 lessons from the past 5 days

Khalil Tarhouni
3 min readMay 28, 2021

This week was particularly hectic and intense. Mainly on the professional side but it is all mixed up nowadays. We had quite a week maybe because all stakeholders are accelerating their projects before vacation and/or because a lot of small actions we initiated few weeks/months ago are finally “ROIing”.

With challenging-long-working-days come learning and improvement as we constantly push our comfort zone to new limits. Grow or die! As a lifelong learner, I always ask myself questions like “when was the last time I did something for the first time?” or “what is the key lesson from this specific situation?”. These questions help me reflect on all aspects of my life and prepare myself for what is next.

And what I experienced this week was heavy enough to seriously think about the learning. Thus, I wanted to share 5 lessons I learnt (the hard way in some cases) the past 5 days:

1- You will always need help

No matter how experienced you are, no matter how confident you can be…one day or another, you will face a situation where you need support. When this day will come, do not hesitate to say “aiutami”, you will be amazed by the results. This might be counter intuitive for some of you, but you should stay humble and go with the flow.

2- Prioritization is easier said than done

I thought I was good in classifying topics and tasks by their importance and urgency level (that beautiful quadrant). But when you reach the next level in terms of number of “open windows”, you need to review your prioritization process. What worked for a 10-task daily to-do-list will not work for 30 or 40. I hear saying that we need to learn how to say “no”. I think this is the most difficult think to learn (even harder than German).

3- Get your head above water

Submerged, this what I felt during this week and I did not take the time to step back, raise my head an take a deep breath. Do not wait until you reach high level of stress to do so. Because once overwhelmed, you will need much more time to recover and get back to the same level of productivity.

4- You cannot do everything by your own

You keep repeating to yourself that you need to delegate more often but you do not keep your promise. We have limited time, limited resources and on the other side infinite opportunities (not to mention immeasurable distractions). Trust the people around you and give them the chance to surprise you.

5- Details and devils, a constant battle

You cannot be detail oriented one day and stop pay attention to these elements the other one. Do not let short deadlines and heavy workloads keep you away from being the razor-sharp you are. Speed over efficiency is a true dilemma, but at a certain level of responsibility, you will need to do both.


Another important key learning for people suffering from perfectionism as I do.

6- Striving for excellence is a trap

We all want to excel and stay at the top and keep improving and growing. But do not think that the small breaks you take are limiting you. Stop being hard on yourself.

Finally, the order of the lessons does not reveal the severity of challenges we faced, or we will face in the future. It was just the flow I let myself go with.