Harvest Your Successes, for an Extraordinary New Year!
It’s the end of the year. Have you thought about your year, successes, accomplishments, failures? How will you clearly plan the next if you haven’t? Before setting goals for a powerful and successful future… Harvest!
It’s the end of another year. Was it successful? Have you thought about your year, your successes and what you accomplished and learned this year? Have you thought about how you grew as a person or business person, and what new skills you have? How will you set solid goals for next year, if you haven’t answered those questions?
There are three big reasons to stop and harvest our successes:
1. To acknowledge our self and our accomplishments, because who wants to work hard and have their work taken for granted? Not many of us, but we do it to our selves all the time. Harvesting feels good, it lets us see our growth and therefore empowers.
2. To clearly see who we’ve become and grown into so that next years goals and vision are bigger, not our old comfortable status quo, something new and exciting to us. Seeing how we’ve changed lets us know that we can do that next big thing.
3. To learn what worked and what didn’t. Harvesting is about looking at our “crop” so to speak and seeing if we’re happy with it. Are we growing what we wanted? It’s so easy in life to set a direction, move toward it, and not check in later to see if it’s right for us.
Harvesting is about celebrating all that you’ve done and all that you’ve become, and then clearly looking at your harvest before setting out and making next years goals and vision (which will be January’s topic). Both will lead to a more powerful and successful future.
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. The Harvest is walking back through your year, your project, your…whatever. I do it with my coaching clients at the end of their coaching program 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… in going for something extraordinary.
Your Harvest. Look back on your year…
1. What Were Your Accomplishments and Successes?
So often, we will 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. 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. How we aren’t blogging every day.
A couple problems with that, again, yes, who wants to work when their work is taken for granted… and there is another big one. We tend to not to let our accomplishment empower us…
As a coach, as my clients learn and grow and move forward, I point out those accomplishments so that when it’s time for their next big stretch, they know they can do it… they clearly see they have in the past and that empowers their present.
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 people and 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 learned a lot and grew a lot. This is 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 and Your Life?
This is the 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 not realize the change… not acknowledge what you’ve done or how far you’ve come. It’s important to see how far you’ve come. 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?
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.
p.s. If this was helpful for you, please share it with other who will benefit from it… we can all use help right now. Thank you!
Comment on this article
Posted by Sergey Dunayev, Renton, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Interesting point of view, helps to deal with year-end results analysis; good points regarding planning goals next year.
Posted by Lisa Bradley, CPC, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Thank you for your comment.
It’s funny, while I was writing it up I did it myself, which I do every year, and every year I forget how great it is to look at my year with this perspective. It helps me to look at my year clearly when I’ve just acknowledged my successes.
We did this in the last Mastermind Monday and it was great. It’s great to do in a group – we acknowledge our biggest success to each other. Very powerful. Next Mastermind, which I’m changing a bit is “Creating a Compelling Vision”, and February is “Strategizing for Greater Success”. I hope to see you at another one soon!
Go For Extraordinary!
Posted by Laila Atallah, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Lovely, Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing this. Like you, my husband and I go through this reflecting and dreaming process almost every year. I’m going to enjoy incorporating some of your insights and interesting questions and takes on things. You’ve added more richness to an already enriching process. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!
Posted by Russell Smith, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Powerful article, Lisa.
You’ve put in clear steps so anyone can use this assessment tool.
I think all of us are planting new seeds throughout the year, so harvesting at the end completely resonates with me.
Posted by Linda Paffel, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Thanks Lisa- This is a wonderful recap, it would be a great help to review with this article several times a year.
Posted by Victoria Dzenis, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Thank you Lisa!
What a well-thought-out process for completing the year and preparing for the next!
Posted by Debby Sutherland, Seattle, Washington | Dec 29, 2010
Thank you for your article! I love the “farming/harvesting” analogy. It’s easy to relate to.
Assessing 2010 by focusing on successes definitely puts you in a better place to move forward in planning and setting goals for 2011. Evaluating what worked & didn’t work, celebrating what we’ve done and become will definitely lead to a more powerful and successful future. Appreciate your 5 steps to help you do the above.
Wishing you an extraordinary 2011!
Posted by Richard Baum, Phoenix, Arizona | Dec 31, 2010
How true, especially when we have loftier goals and expectations for ourselves than we might have for others. Very easy to focus on how far we are from our destination and dismiss how far we have come.
This is very timely as we begin a new year by setting goals and developing a strategic plan for achieving them. Taking a look back at our accomplishments encourages and motivates us to continue the journey.
Thank you for this wonderful template for ourselves and our clients. All the best for a truly wondrous and adventuresome New Year!
Posted by Lisa Bradley, CPC, Seattle, Washington | Jan 06, 2011
First, I want to say how fabulous it is that I’ve met all of you… I love my mastermind groups for so many reasons, right now I feel so grateful that I’ve met all of you and supported you and your success! What a great year it’s been. That is FABULOUS! Obviously I did the Harvest too.
Lovely Laila… You are so welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for reminding me of years past when I did this exercise with friends. It’s so powerful.
– I wish you a wonderful year too!
Russell… Thank you. We do plant seeds and then often go on to the next without checking to see, and feel good about, what we’ve grown. And we so need that. It’s a good practice for our selves and it’s good to point our friend’s successes out to them, to remind each other of our wins and accomplishments.
Linda & Victoria… I am so glad you were at my December Mastermind and got to do this in the group and celebrate your wonderful selves… and acknowledge your selves in front of all of us to celebrate you! Yea! That was fabulous. Thank you for coming and yes, this is a great tool to use throughout the year. It’s very useful after completing a project, or to do quarterly.
Debby, Hi! Yes, what most don’t know is that I’m a farm girl at heart. I love the earth and grew up near farms. I’m glad the steps help and that you’re choosing to give your self the gift of them… I hope they support you in building an extraordinary year!
And Richard, we miss you! Thanks for popping your head and your comments in. Yes, it is a great tool for clients. My clients work so hard, and often don’t recognize it until I point it out… I bet you experience that with your clients too. I hope you’re having a wonderful time in Phoenix, and that your business is growing in leaps and bounds.
Happy 2011! Thank you again for your comments and your rating me… I do want to know what you think, and what I can do to support you.
Make it Extraordinary!