How Has Your Year Gone?
Your highs & lows – Depending on whether you are a ‘glass half full' or a ‘glass half empty' person you are either going to be feeling positive and hopeful or negative and pessimistic as you reach the end of 2008. One way to get a more balanced view of your year is to start by listing out all the highs and lows in the whole of your life, not just in the sphere of work. There are various benefits to doing this:
- Sometimes big positive or negative events overshadow other things that have happened and we forget about all the other things that have taken place
- Depending on our personality type we can end up minimising our successes or the challenges we have faced during the year, resulting in a skewed view of what the year has been like.
When listing out your highs remember the small successes, as well as the big ones. Also include the challenges you have faced and either overcome, reacted positively to or coped well with. It can help to physically go back through your diary or PDA to remember everything that has happened.
With your lows, this might be about things you did not achieve, mistakes made or unexpected challenges and problems that you faced, and where you did not rise to the occasion or things that just did not turn out as you had expected.
What have been the key highs this year? What have been the lows?
‘There are times when a victory or success can actually become the cause for future defeat or failure. Likewise, defeat can become the cause for victory in the future.' Daisaku Ikeda
What happened that you were not expecting? – The best laid plans can get disrupted. Things happen that we never expected or could not have predicted, which can throw all our plans out of the window or at least make some of them harder to achieve. This could be around work: takeovers, manager/staff changes, redundancy, promotion, global factors affecting your organisation. Or outside work: relationship break ups, unexpected pregnancies, deaths or illnesses, accidents. It is important to take this into account when reviewing your year rather than dismissing them. You also might want to celebrate how you successfully handled and coped with these unexpected events.
‘Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.' Denis Waitley
What have you learned this year? – Before you start to think about the year ahead it is important that you learn from your successes, and any disappointments, so that you can repeat the former and, where possible, avoid the latter next year. Step into your wise, objective self and ask yourself: what are the three key lessons that you have learned this year about yourself, work, other people or the wider world that will assist you in the coming months? Another way to look at it is: if you were your own wise mentor, what words of advice would you give yourself in terms of what you have learned from the past 12 months?
‘Insanity is doing the same thing, in the same way, while expecting different results.' Chris Clarke-Epstein
How are you going to celebrate your successes? – Having mastered my own inner critic I am all for celebrating successes, not just the major achievements, but all the steps along the way. I find that it is a much more motivating and fun way to live. Here are some things I am celebrating this year: the launch of my first book, great feedback about the book from complete strangers, how I have stepped into my dad's shoes helping my mum with her finances after his death, some lovely trips away with my mum which dad would be very happy with, supporting friends through some very difficult times, getting a big new project with an old client, radio interviews and much more.
There are many different ways of celebrating your successes, privately or publicly with colleagues, friends and/or family. If you are shy about celebrating your successes (is your inner critic saying, ‘You'll get too big for your boots' or ‘Pride comes before a fall'?), I would like to encourage you to do something that involves at least one other person. You might also want to encourage those around you to celebrate their highs and not just focus on the lows.
And if you are in doom and gloom thinking, ‘What is there to celebrate? The world is doomed financially and environmentally', or maybe you or those close to you have been made redundant or are very ill, play around with this thought: ‘Where there is life, there is hope!!'
What do you want to celebrate? How will you go about celebrating it?
‘Dream big, and dare to fail.' Norman Vaughan, Explorer, 1928 Antarctica expedition