Have You Leveraged the Gifts from 2017 That Will Make 2018 Extraordinary?

 

Diane Bolden, executive leadership coach and founder of the Real Leader RevolutionWell, the dust is finally settling, and the holiday decorations are (almost) packed up and put away for next year. For many, the holidays are a frenzied time – a rush to the finish line that has adrenaline spiking for days on end. Between running around trying to find the perfect gifts to sending out cards, preparing meals, entertaining family and friends and spending a lot of time around people we don’t often get to see, it can be exhausting.

Some of us were lucky enough to have a bit of down time before jumping back in to the excitement that the New Year brings. And others of us have simply been riding that wave that takes us from one activity to the next, with little time for transition. Though it is already mid-January, it is never too late to take advantage of the demarcation that the end of one year and the beginning of another brings.

The turning of each year lends itself well to waxing reflective, calling to mind both the experiences in the past that have led us to the present moment, as well as what the future might hold – what magnificent things are bubbling up within us, just waiting to take form.

It’s curious that we often associate moments of reflection with major milestones (like a New Year), rather than as a continual process in our lives. Yet it’s easy to let the frenetic pace of business, the holidays, and personal affairs prevent us from enjoying the clarity of being alone with our thoughts, and even going beyond them into the silence of our own experience.

We get swept up in a kind of auto pilot mode, where we just do what is in front of us and go from one thing to the next, without a lot of thought.

But it is in the evaluation and reflection of our experiences that we receive insight – a vital gift that can become meaningful and empowering force in our lives.

Pressing on from one thing to the next without pausing long enough to integrate what we have learned deprives us of the gifts these experiences bring. It’s like finding a few wrapped presents with your name on them that were left behind in the festivities – and absentmindedly throwing them into a box instead of opening them up to see what’s inside.

Our experiences are uniquely designed to allow us to learn – about ourselves, others, and life itself. We learn about what works, what feels good, what doesn’t, who we are, what we are capable of, what we want more of (and less of too).

But only if we pause long enough to entertain the questions that allow us to unpack these gifts that are waiting to be opened.

If you have not yet afforded yourself the indulgence of conscious and intentional reflection, I encourage you to carve out some time to do so. Because the best goals, the best visions to move toward in the coming year will be those that align with the whispers of your heart – those that tap the infinite potential and wisdom that is already inside you. And you’ll never really know what those are until you take the time to go within and ask.

Below are some questions that can help you in this process. Some of these questions might seem more powerful to you than others – let yourself go where you are drawn with them. You may even want to take a quick look at them and then put them away and see what comes to you when your mind is empty of thoughts.

Or, you may scrap these questions and come up with different ones of your own. The important thing is to allow yourself the time to go within and listen with curiosity and earnestness.

QUESTIONS FOR YEAR-END REFLECTION

  • As you reflect on this past year, what were your three or four most significant accomplishments, breakthroughs, and/or achievements?
  • Looking back over the year, what (if anything) blocked or held you back as you moved toward your goals/objectives? How will you overcome those obstacles in the future?
  • What were your biggest insights or realizations over the past year that you gained through your experiences?
  • How will you apply what you learned this past year to what you want to create in the upcoming year?
  • What are the top two or three things about your job/practice that you most want to be different this year?
  • What two or three changes do you most want to see in your personal life?
  • What significant challenges will face you this year? Personally? Professionally?
  • What strengths will you rely on most to face the challenges that lie ahead?
  • What qualities, skills, etc. could you develop within yourself to better arm you for the upcoming year?
  • Picture yourself a year from now, looking back over the past year. What three or four accomplishments would you like to have achieved?
  • What actions are you prepared to take to achieve your desired results for the upcoming year?

I look forward to another year ahead of navigating a path of discovery – one that will lead us all closer to our most precious goals, and allow us to make the most out of every experience we have – leaving everything we touch a little better off for the interaction – our teams, our customers, our colleagues, friends, family, and of course, ourselves.

Wishing you a wonderful and prosperous New Year ahead!

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