Review. Evaluate. Plan.

Taking Stock – The Year in Review

It’s true. The 2018 calendar year is right around the corner – so much sooner than you may have thought. Will you be spending the next three weeks thinking about your business, your current job, your department performance, your career direction or your own personal situation? Are you considering a review of 2017 and making time to evaluate and plan what you will execute next year. Now is the perfect time to take stock – where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go – before it is 2018!

It’s become something of a ritual – every year, Google publishes its year-end summary of what the world wants. 

~ John Battelle, Entrepreneur, Journalist, Professor &  Author

year endEach Year Must Come to an End 

At the end of the year we tend to think about wrapping up loose ends and cleaning up administrative tasks. Why not add thoughts of “new beginnings, too”?  As you review and evaluate your year, it will touch on your role within your company, how that affects you professionally and personally. Not all of us think about developing a plan before January however December may be the best time for some preliminary homework.

As you go over your year in review, ask yourself – What am I most proud of accomplishing during 2017? Personally? Professionally? What do I want to carry forward? What did I learn? If you have a bonus coming in the new year, make sure you know your specific achievements so you can discuss them with your management.

Your plan going forward? Ask yourself  – How am I feeling about my year? What needs to improve? What would I like to change? Who are the best people for me to discuss this subject with? Regardless if you are planning for your company or yourself, requesting feedback is a great idea. Talk with your colleagues, managers, friends and family. They can be extremely helpful in different ways.  There are most certainly benefits to hearing the perspective of your ‘support team’ through – if even just through casual conversation.

A new year can begin only because the old year ends.

~ Madeleine L’Engle, American Writer

Your Own Year in Review

As you look forward to 2018 it’s a good idea to get into your ‘deep dive’ and review “the year that was”.

  • What worked & WHY? (start by giving yourself a pat on the back for what you achieved, produced, created and accomplished in 2017)
  • What didn’t work & WHY? (what assumptions, projections, threats, opportunities, came into play)
  • What on-going initiatives will carry forward in 2018?
  • What are your Core Competencies (strengths, weaknesses, skills, knowledge, processes, etc.) and how can you work best with them?
  • Where might additional training, coaching or self-study support you in achieving your goals?
  • What actions can you take immediately to make this happen? What will it take daily, weekly, monthly?
  • Who will you need to help support you? What resources are needed?

Although we may celebrate the highs, it is often the lows that stay with us. Don’t let that get you down. Remind yourself of your successes because they are repeatable! You just need to position yourself to make them happen again. Believe it or not, this effort can sometimes be overlooked or forgotten in your eagerness to plan for the future.

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”
~Robin S. Sharma, Canadian Writer & Leadership Speaker

Plan Your Next Year 

Using all of the information you have now gathered, ask yourself (and answer) some questions that will help you move forward with your personal evaluation and goal setting for next year.

  • Did I set any goals for my career this year — formally or informally?
  • What is my longer-term career goal, and how does my current position help me move closer to it?
  • How will I know if I am on the right path?
  • What are the responsibilities for which I am best suited, and is there a way to incorporate more of these into my work so I am able to achieve my career aspirations?
  • What should my timeline be for achieving key milestones in my career?Q & A
  • What’s the next step in my career and when should I be taking this next step?
  • What do I need to prepare myself and position myself for this next step?
  • Does my current job reflect my future careers goals?
  • What do I want to be doing more of in my career?
  • What do I want to be doing less of in my career?
  • What new skills have I acquired and what have I learned?
  • What opportunities were gained and lost?
  • Do I need to find a new employer to make the next step?

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. ~ T. S. Eliot

Your Year – Perception vs. Fact/Reality?

No FAKE NEWS here. It’s an Apple – not a Banana.

If you spend any time on Pinterest, you must have seen the “Perception vs. Fact” tongue-in-check memes. It is interesting how much truth there can be in actual sarcasm. If you were to make one of these charts for yourself, what images would you choose?

  • What I Do
  • What Others Think I Do
  • What I Should Be Doing

“Life is a journey between Perception and Reality!” ~ Ramana Pemmaraju

Additional Thoughts……

This Truth vs. Perception vs. Reality  video on TED-Ed YouTube Channel may be interesting to watch at this time of year while you are looking back. It tells us that we each have our own unique “ladder” and that is what is important to review.

“The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Other people’s perception of you is a reflection of them; your response to them is an awareness of you.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

The best example I know of to explain our own Reality vs. Perception is something we can all relate to – our own voices. Do you remember the first time you ever heard a sound recording of your voice? Didn’t it sound incredibly different from the sound we ‘heard’ inside our head? It was strange and very unfamiliar. Hard to believe that was you? Guess what? That is how you sound to the outside world.

reality vs perceptionOur personal reality – every experience, every sight, sound, smell, colour and taste – seems perfectly real to us because it is our own interpretation. There are a number of things about ourselves that we may “perceive” differently from others. How many times have you debated with someone on the description of a colour?

Knocking Down Your Mental Blocks

A reality check can sometimes be helpful and useful to consider during your own personal review. Food for thought – we may discover that we are guilty of distorting how we view our own work, our relationships and our career. This is often because of internal narratives, beliefs, biases and ideologies that influence our perceptions and recollections of reality.

If you are feeling challenged and struggling with conducting your own review, making this into an “exercise” with a trusted adviser, “support team” or career coach. Sometimes speaking with completely objective individuals is the best way to receive effective and realistic feedback – feedback that may even be worked into your work goals and/or career plan.

Hope this very inspiring TEDTalk Draw Your Future gets you off on the right foot!

That’s it.  It is as simple AND difficult as that!

2018 is almost here and it is going to be YOUR YEAR!

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

~ Oprah Winfrey

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