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How Was Your 2014?

(posted: December 31st, 2014)

How was your 2014?

As we end one year and begin another there are stories everywhere looking back at 2014: What was popular? What was in the news? Who succeeded? Who failed? These are fun and entertaining.

But I'd like to narrow the focus.

I'd like to talk about you: How did your year go? What was your personal "Best of 2014?"

What Can You Celebrate?

What did you accomplish in 2014?

We often brush past our accomplishments without giving them much thought and without giving ourselves much credit. As leaders, you understand the value of praising and honoring your employees' achievements and your company's milestones.

The things we achieved, that we mastered, or that we simply got done, also deserve some attention. Why shouldn't you give yourself the same respect and attention that you give your people?

So take a little time now to review and celebrate your successes!

This process is simple, but not necessarily easy. Schedule a chunk of time when you can be uninterrupted. Turn off your devices, or mute your notifications and deliberately put your phone and tablet out of sight. If you plan to do this on your desktop computer, close your email and your social media streams. It will be okay, it's only for an hour or so. Close your door and let your family or colleagues know that you don't want to be disturbed for the next hour.

Think about what you accomplished over the course of 2014, big or small. Even something like remembering to floss most days of the week can count!

Use the following questions to get you started, and write freely whatever comes to mind.

  • What were my top accomplishments or successes in 2014?
  • Why am I proud of these successes? Be specific.
  • How do these successes make me feel?
  • What and/or who enabled me to accomplish what I did?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • Did anyone have a profound impact on me this year? Who?
  • Is there anyone I should thank or acknowledge?

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

~ Louis L'Amour

What Can You Learn From Your Failures?

Can I convince you to go a step further?

Our failures have at least as much to teach us as our successes, if not more. It takes courage to look closely at the times when you slipped up, when you dropped the ball, or didn't come through. But if you are willing to see them as opportunities, you can learn from your failures.

I love this recent post from Seth Godin - a short list of words & phrases that can represent failure. Your failures and mine may be very different, but you are likely to find something on Seth's list that makes you say, "Yeah, that's mine" - I certainly did!

After you've done your success exercise, above, use the following questions to help you look more objectively at your failures:

  • Where did I fail in 2014?
  • What caused this? Internal reasons (e.g., lack of confidence, procrastination, etc.) External reasons (e.g., lack of resources, lack of support, etc.)
  • What can I learn from these failures? Be specific
  • How does this experience make me feel?
  • How could I do it differently the next time?

Your answers to these questions will be individual and highly personal. Use them to move forward, get unstuck, make progress in difficult areas, and to help you define your focus for this year.

A few more questions to help you keep moving:

  • Look for the possibilities and for places where you need to start doing more, and the places where you need to stop doing something.
  • Identify who can help you, and how.
  • How do your core values relate to this exercise - what stands out?
  • How do your answers affect your purpose and your goals?
Challenge Yourself
  • How will you take what you've learned into 2014?
  • How are you going to succeed this year?
  • Who will you share this with? I support many clients as a coach, providing accountability, perspective and support. My clients want, and need, structure and partnership. I suggest that you write down 5 people who can help you achieve your dreams and goals.
  • How will you celebrate that success?

Join us for our next post on the leadership trends to watch in 2015. Sign Up for our monthly newsletter and never miss another post.

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