The upcoming new year is a great time to reflect on 2019, and plan for the year ahead. It’s amazing how each year brings new lessons and discoveries. Taking the time to reflect is important – we cannot really learn without pausing to recognize these lessons and let them sink in. With a new year (and a new decade) on the horizon, I thought I would share three learnings I had this year.
Purpose and values matter. Getting clear about why you exist and what really matters to you is incredibly powerful knowledge. This information should power your work each day. I had to dig deep to figure out my personal mission statement, and I’m not sure I’m completely done. Prior to starting Pivot in 2015, I saw an image of a quote about making each day matter because you will never get it back. I realized that I couldn’t go into a job where my work didn’t make any real difference. I needed to drive change, to work with people that inspire me everyday and to set boundaries to protect and prioritize my values. But until recently, I wasn’t clear on what was driving me. Having more definition about what matters most to you creates a north star as I think about what I want to achieve in the year ahead.
Write down your goals. I have had some lofty goals in my life. They usually live in my head and sometimes I will share them with close friends or family. This year, I decided to try something new. I wrote down my goals, reflected on them several times a week and thought about if what I was doing each day was getting me closer to my goals. I learned that by writing (and repeatedly reviewing) my goals, I was able to achieve what I hoped and prioritize my time better each day. Not only that, I also found that I wasn’t disappointed in some other things that may have felt like failures but actually had no impact on my goals. I was able to learn from them and let them go more easily.
Be bold. There is so much that hasn’t been done yet. So many ideas to pursue. So much good the world needs. Many people are afraid to harness their ideas and energy. I had similar fears this year when deciding to take some additional risks around growth, such as expanding the change management part of our practice and moving into a new office. As it turns out, they were all good decisions. I think it’s common to worry, “What if I fail.” But instead, we need to think (and hope), “What if I succeed?” There is so much incredible potential in being positive and moving in the direction you want to be your reality. Take that risk, start that business or new idea. It is better to have failed and learned than to not have put yourself out there and taken the risk at all. If you believe in yourself, you will be amazed at what you can do.
What did you learn this year? And what do you want to do in the next year? We all have the same 365 days in a year. What you do with them is entirely up to you. How can you know which direction to go without knowing what is most important to you? I encourage you to let your values determine your direction, write down your goals and be courageous.