Why would you stop and reflect on the last 12 months, how could that benefit you? Taking the time to stop and deeply reflect on what you have achieved and what gaps you still have is key for your personal and business development. If you don’t pause and look back, you might miss important areas of learning and some informative business lessons. As we are ending the financial year, now is a great time for reflection.
Time for reflection?
Taking time to reflect helps you retain your focus, sharpens your thinking and gives you a reference point in your journey towards your business and personal goals.
Most people believe they do pause and reflect, but it is very easy for you to miss things, especially the positive things you have done and achieved. Having said that, it’s hard to believe that we are already at the start of another financial year. Time really does fly, that is why I am encouraging you to pause and reflect.
How do you go about reflecting effectively?
- Take time away from where you normally work.
- Remove all distractions and as much technology as possible.
- Look at your goals for the year and see how well you did in achieving them.
- Identify what has caused you the biggest challenges over the last 12 months.
- Identify your biggest achievements each month (two or more per month if you can)
Taking time away from your normal workplace can very often free your mind, giving you a new perspective on your reflections. I often enjoy a drive or a walk to free my mind of the day to day buzz. I can then sit down with a cup of tea and make some notes on everything on my mind (effectively a download of everything my brain played over on my drive or walk). You need to find something that allows your mind to really focus and really drift around your achievements for the year.
Removing technology and making hand written notes means your brain has time to dwell on thoughts, ideas and outcomes. You will no doubt need to check calendars, emails and host of apps to remind you of the last yea but starting with the pen and paper helps your mind liberate the most important points for you.
I love to reflect on plans on a regular basis. A 6 month deep dive into your goals and progression really helps clarify where you are and what you need to do to get the best out of the next 6 months. Most people also find they have made more progress and achieved more than they expect. So why not put that half year review into your diary now?
Identifying and documenting your biggest challenges and learning points from the last year is a major step in growth and development both for you and for your business. If you can clearly articulate what these points are you can recognise how you might change your approach going forward. You will spot opportunities to tackle things in a different way and you will recognise opportunities to grow and develop. This approach helps you continuously improve what you and your firm does.
Pausing and identifying your big wins and major successes appears to more of a challenge for most people. For some reason we seem to forget all the great things we have done, we don’t see how much we have achieved and fail to recognise how far we have travelled. The technical reason for this is that our brains prefer to hold onto the challenging memories (the danger areas) rather than the positive outcomes. In effect the primitive part of your brain still wants to protect us from danger.
You need to get comfortable in reflecting on your successes, noting down the business and personal wins. These could be big or small things that you or your business has achieved since the start of the financial year. Whatever they are you need to make a note of them and reflect on achievement and take a moment to log them and remind yourself of where you have been and what you have done so far.
When you have done all of this you will be in the perfect position to give yourself answers to two of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself:
What didn’t work well for me over the last year and how do I change this?
What did I do well over the last year and how do I repeat this?
When you have all of your notes, thoughts, ideas and answers to these two critical questions you are ready to set sail for the new financial year. You are ready to move towards your goals and leave behind what you have been challenged by.