My 2017 Gift for You
Can’t wait to leave this year behind?
Are you already looking forward to next year?
How will you make next year even better than this past year?
There are a lot of ‘hows’ out there, helping you look forward.
If you want a system, you can check out my previous article This Is How You Earn a Multi 6 Figure Income A Year As An Independent Consultant
But I recognised there was one crucial thing I needed to do before I could move forward into next year.
I needed to reflect on this past year.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana
My far past has built a great deal of resilience and wisdom for me.
And my more recent past, like the past year, continues to teach me.
But most importantly, I realised next year couldn’t be better till I genuinely reflected on this past year.
So what happened last year?
There were lots of successes!
Some I expected, others I didn’t think I could make happen, but I did.
For example, I started these articles and launched my website!
I completed a contract, with the client wanting to renew…again!
And I secured a new contract, negotiating a 5-week sabbatical before my start date next year.
Much of the above is thanks to you, my network and readers. Thank you!
There were also some challenging lessons I had to learn.
Some of them were easy to swallow, making perfect sense to me.
Like how to deliver my craft as a consultant, better.
Or how to adjust my writing to be of value to you.
Other’s where hard, awkward, and hurtful.
I was unable to stick to some of my goals.
I made commitments to my family that I couldn’t keep.
I let down friends, as I couldn’t live up to their expectations.
Why did some of them hurt?
Because in some cases I realised I caused the hurt, I created the lesson.
And, for next year to be better, I have to own all my lessons.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
I wanted to share that last fact, as I don’t want you to think my successes are coming to me easily, even recently.
There has been a lot of hard work and emotional roller coaster rides I’ve had to take.
Both professionally and personally.
But all year long there were many people I am grateful to who have helped me.
There is no way I would be where I am without these incredible teachers.
And I wouldn’t be looking forward to creating an even better coming year without this past year.
I am grateful beyond words. So I’ll just say, thank you!
So, how did I look back and reflect on the past year, so I am excited about going forward?
Here is my gift for you, my 6 tips on reflecting, so that next year is our best so far.
Tip 1: Be compassionate – with yourself
Do you judge yourself?
I believe that we all do it in varying degrees.
Personally, I struggle with this tip – regularly.
I worry about whether I am aligned with my goals and how I am showing up in my various roles.
Am I showing up at my best?
I catch my ‘self-talk’ and work on being kinder and more compassionate to myself.
But I’ve been learning self-compassion can help me in other aspects.
With compassion I can ‘see’ more clearly the impacts, I am making, and the lessons I need to learn.
And I can also see the teachers who are helping me, in all aspects of my life.
When I have compassion for myself, I can be compassionate with others.
And most importantly, with compassion, I can also forgive.
Compassion and forgiveness together are powerful.
For together, I can also leave my past behind, not having it define me.
And take my successes and lessons forward to support my goals next year.
Tip 2: Look back and learn from the past
Are you scared to look at your past year?
Do you think you need to only focus on the negative to improve?
In the past, I may have done just that, collected everything I did ‘wrong’.
But that didn’t help me.
If anything, it created more self-criticism and anxiety.
Instead, I strive for balance.
I make 2 lists.
- ‘Things’ that went well; even great; and
- ‘Things’ I felt could have gone better, that may be haunting me.
Then I ask myself, “Why?”
Why did ‘it’ go amazing and why did ‘it’ go poorly?
And then I ask the more important question.
“What was my part, my role? How did I contribute?”
I’ve learned the questions about my role is where real reflection takes place.
I can pinpoint the common contributor – me.
And I am the straightforward factor to manage to have the best year to come.
So when I see what behaviours and habits to keep and reapply and which I need to be purposeful to counteract – then I will have an improved following year.
Tip 3: Have a clear and honest vision of what you want in your future year
Do you know what you want next year?
Not what you think you should want, but what YOU want?
Listing the usual goals is easy.
Make so much money, pay down so much debt.
Take so many vacation days, go to so many of my kid’s events.
But what about what YOU REALLY WANT?
Answering this question is how I become excited about my future year.
I have some common goals that are important.
And I include items in my vision of next year that are personally important to me.
- Attain a contract with terms that enable me to dedicate 25% more time to my business.
- Meet/ network and work with specific new people so that we can help each other and our businesses.
- Plan and go on a trip to see my parents in Panama, alone!
- Join a gym, get a trainer and train for strength lifting.
Now, with all that, I visualise, my perfect week, daily.
I see it in detail, from what I am doing, the people I will do it with, and how I feel when doing it.
When I have a clear picture of what I want, I don’t feel conflicted.
With a clear picture, I am more likely to accomplish my goals.
Tip 4: If you want your desired future, make space for it
Does change scare you?
You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t, on some level.
And the reality is, change can be hard!
Even for me, with my consulting craft as an Organization Change Manager (OCM).
I’m not immune to the upset that change can cause.
But I have learned the ‘upset’ comes from when I hang on to ‘stuff’.
‘Stuff’ that isn’t serving me and my future goals.
Like you, there are aspects of my life I am not comfortable moving forward without in my life.
However, I wouldn’t be where I am today without doing just that.
I had to make space by changing certain habits and beliefs.
And even harder, I have had to make space and remove specific friends and family members.
At one time, I even had to move forward without my Mom. That was a difficult time.
Thankfully, today, because of the power of compassion and forgiveness, my mom and I were able to come back together and are closer than ever.
I share this because I noticed my best years, my significant growth, happened when I made space for it.
And the way I made space was by leaving non-aligned ‘stuff’ behind me while I moved forward into my next best year.
Tip 5: Determine your measures of progress
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
– Peter Drucker
You have likely applied this quote with your clients and their success
I have gotten what I have measured, or in another word, focused on in the past.
When I have had a less than stellar year, I was focused and measuring the wrong aspects.
When I have had a great year, I was focused and measuring the aspected that were related and essential to my goals.
I can’t say much more on this topic.
Except, when I have been clear on my goals, the measures I need become clear as well.
And with you measuring regularly, you will be able to achieve your goals, too.
Tip 6: Keep checking in, be flexible on how you are going to achieve your goals
Do your clients need you to be flexible, at times?
Well, in this case, you are your most important client.
And you will need to be flexible in regards to your plans for next year.
Even though I have an operating plan for next year, a “Project Me” Success Plan, I also know from experience, it will change.
It can be frustrating for me, as I would like everything to go according to plan.
But one thing Project Management has taught me is, the plan always changes.
And this has been and will be the case in regards to how my next best year will progress.
With measurements and checking in, I will have some awareness of when I need to adjust.
And with self-compassion, a clear vision of what I want, and help from amazing teachers I will make the required adjustments and get better at being flexible.
I have shared my 6 steps to reflection. Please follow and along and join me in being able to:
- see your past year and appreciate your successes you have earned,
- lessons you have learned; and
- cast your focus forward, on your best year ever.
I recognise many of you are in many parts of the world.
Regardless of where you are and why you may be ‘marking’ this time of year, I hope you spend it with those people who are most important to you.
And ultimately, that you will experience many adventures, joy, and success the coming year.
Thank you for being on this adventure with me!
Please forward this article to someone you think could use the gift.
And may your 2018 year be your best year yet!
Founder and President
Stand & Deliver Inc.