It’s nearing the end of another year… was it successful? Have you thought about your year, your successes and what you accomplished and learned? Have you thought about how you grew as a person or business-person, and what new skills you have? How do you know if you’re on track for the life you dream of and moving forward toward it if you haven’t? And how will you set solid goals or resolutions for next year if you haven’t answered those questions?
To live an extraordinary life you need to know what’s working and what’s not. You need the habit of appreciating your wins and having a big enough vision to turn losses into opportunities to learn (more wins). Harvesting is a powerful tool and habit, whether you do it daily, weekly, annually… or as a Thanks-giving or New Year’s Eve tradition. It gives you clarity about who and where you are, what you have and what you need to have the life that you desire… and helps you see how amazing you are.
It’s easy to get on the treadmill of life and not be creating the life you want or not give yourself credit for all you do. This is a powerful step to give you focus and clarity… Creating a Compelling Vision is the next step but that’s not until January. So let’s get started on your harvest!
Think of farming… you plant your crops, you work hard at helping them thrive, and then you pick them. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You walk through your fields and look at the condition of them. You learn and plan next year’s crops based on what you learned.
Your harvest is walking back through your year, your project, your… whatever you’re finishing, before moving on to the next big thing. I do it with my coaching clients at the end of their coaching programs to help them see what they’ve accomplished, how much they’ve changed, what tools worked and didn’t work for them, and how to take and use all of that to build their future.
The value of a goal is not just the result, it’s also who you become in going for that goal or dream.
Your Harvest. Look back on your year…
1. What Were Your Accomplishments and Successes?
Often we have a lofty goal or something new we should be doing in our business. Let’s say the goal is blogging. Our first step might be to just learn about blogging, look at some different blogs and read up on them. The second might be to learn about the different blogging tools we can use, the next taking a class or jumping in and trying it. We might have done all this and still not be blogging, or not to the extent we want to. And what happens is, that’s what we focus on… how we aren’t blogging every day. We often don’t focus on all those steps along the way, all that we learned and accomplished. We focus on what we haven’t done.
A couple problems with that, first, who wants to work when their work is taken for granted? If we don’t acknowledge that we’re growing we’re not empowered to take the next steps or play big.
Next, one of the habits of very successful people is gratitude. Gratitude is paying attention to what works, what’s good, etc. They put their attention on what they have and they grow it. They don’t beat themselves up with ‘not good enough’ they focus on and grow their strengths, successes and good… and those in others.
In coaching, as my clients learn and grow and move forward, I point out those accomplishments and what it took. Then when it’s time for their next big stretch, they know their skills and talents and resources… their past empowers their present.
Your Turn! Dig in, think about your last year… what did you accomplish? What did you learn? What new skills do you have now? Were you tenacious about something, showing you can stick to it no matter what? What did you gather – friends, knowledge, social networking, skills? What did you create along the way? How much money did you make? Did you reach a goal you set? And what about those things that that you just felt really good about and then as time went on you forgot? What about those good things that happened, those flukes and “miracles” (often times when we put those in context we see how we had something to do with them)? What do you feel proud of your self for?
Just let this flow. I like to use bullet points. I find it’s hard to start but once I start they poor out, then I get stuck again, then it flows again. It’s just a process. Just trust your way of doing it. You can’t do it wrong. Just start listing your successes… personal and professional.
2. What Were You’re Breakthroughs and Stretches?
Some of these are those big bold breakthroughs, and sometimes these are those things that felt like failures at the time but now that you look back you see that you learned a lot and grew a lot. This is often more the internal stuff or the lessons about your process.
What did you do last year that you hadn’t before? What did you learn, maybe about your self, your life, business? What were some of those work/life lessons you learned that knocked you down and you got back up? What were some beliefs you had about you, business life, money, etc. that changed?
3. What’s Changed In Your Business, Your Life, You?
This is big picture and the results. This is the place to look at the impact all of the above had on you, your business, and your life. It’s easy to make changes and take if for granted, to not realize the change and not acknowledge what you’ve done or how far you’ve come. And it is so important to give yourself. This is that opportunity to really acknowledge what you’ve done and where it’s gotten you.
Between last year and this year, what’s different? What changed? How is your business better? How is your life better? How are you a better person? What have you learned? Who have you become?
4. What Worked, and What Didn’t? What’s Serving Me, and What’s Not?
Now that you’re on that solid ground of knowing what you’ve accomplished and the impact of it, it’s time to dissect a bit. Check in and make sure you’re going in the right direction, that things are working, that the things you’re doing are working for you.
Your answers to this question will really help you when it’s time to set your goals for next year. Think of the farming metaphor again… the farmer looking at his crop. Did he grow as many carrots as he wanted? Did he like the flavor? Do they bring in the money he wanted? Are they good for the land? What needs to change? What could he try? What did he try that didn’t work? All with thoughts of growing a better crop next year.
Now look at your “crop” closely, with the thought of being more successful next year… What were your failures, what didn’t work? What have you been doing that isn’t serving you? Did you put your time and energy into things that didn’t pan out? Were there things that created the desired result but felt like more work than they were worth? Maybe you found a new method of getting customers but found that they aren’t the type of people you want to work with – so the method worked but next year you’ll need to tweak something. Are you trying to do something because you think you should and you just can’t get it to work? Are you wasting your time on something?
5. Celebrate! Enjoy Your Harvest.
What would you like to acknowledge yourself for? You worked hard, I know that because a slacker would not still be reading.
When New Year Eve and that stroke of midnight comes, say and feel a moment of gratitude for all you’ve done and all it’s created. Building a business, being a leader, and making a difference are not easy. You have chosen a path worth walking, acknowledge your self for it… for who you are and what you’ve done.
See you in January when we Set Our Compelling Visions for 2011.
Go For Extraordinary!™