January can be a particularly productive time for leaders. Often life goes by fast and we don’t take time to process it. It is important to reflect on the past year and lay it to rest in order to move with gusto into the New Year.
Find an afternoon or evening, grab a beverage of choice, put on some music (or not – silence is good too!) and pull out your journal.
Writing things down is incredibly generative. I encourage you to let go of expectations, give yourself space, let your mind wander, get messy in your journal, doodle, and enjoy the process! Although I am focussing on your professional life in this blog, these questions work equally as well in your personal life.
A year in review
If 2014 were a movie, what genre would it be in terms of your professional life? Adventure, comedy, drama, tragedy? Perhaps a combination?
What did you accomplish this past year that you are most proud of? What did you do to make it happen? What or who supported you?
As a leader, what did you let go of in 2014? (E.g. the need to control, please others, perfectionism, arrogance, etc.)
What do you feel should have been acknowledged but wasn’t? (For example, starting own business while working a part-time job and being a single mom.)
What challenges, disappointments or regrets did you experience professionally this past year? How did you handle the challenge? What helped get you through it?
When did fear hold you back in 2014?
What worked for you as a leader in 2014?
What are the gifts of 2014? What were the major life lessons you learned this past year?
It is time to acknowledge the past and complete it. It’s done. It’s time to close that chapter and turn towards the new one. Write in your journal “I declare 2014 complete!”
The year ahead
A new year is a great time for a powerful reset. Spend some time imagining outside the box and allow new ideas and expansive thoughts to guide you in writing some new intentions and goals for you and your leadership development.
Go deep and get very clear about what you want to create in the next year. Take time with this. It’s impactful and important. It’s your responsibility as a leader to go in every day with a plan about how you’re going to lead.
1. Pick one word to guide you through the next year
Let this word be your compass to guide your decisions. Focus on this word every day, all year long. Examples are: possibility, commit, confidence, progress, unstoppable, integrity, growth, fearless. How can you keep this word alive as you move towards your goals? How can this word inform your choices?
2. Do some visioning
Imagine it is December 2015 and you’re sitting with a friend/colleague/partner and are going over the past year. Describe how 2015 went. Map it out. What did it look like? What did you accomplish? What changes did you make? What type of leader did you become? What did 2015 feel like? Also, where do you want to be in 3 and 5 years?
3. Identify goals and dreams
List at least 5 goals you want to work toward this year. List the people who will support you. List any duties or commitments that you want to let go of in order to obtain your goals (things you want to say “no” to).
4. Be a role model
Transformation of your organization and the world is inextricably tied to your own transformation. The top leaders are self-aware, relate well with others, exhibit authenticity, think and act from a whole system perspective, are strategic thinkers, visionaries and achievers. What types of key behaviours do you need to pay attention to and make changes? What behaviours are holding you back from becoming the leader you are meant to be (E.g. are you a pleaser, too busy trying to belong, do you distance yourself, are you critical, arrogant, over-ambitious, a perfectionist)? What type of leader do you want to become this year?
5. Reject isolation
Leaders are some of the loneliest and isolated people on the planet. Isolation is a symptom of fear. Embrace connection and ask for help.
6. Take care of yourself
Top leaders recognize that they are more than their role in the workplace. Leaders take care of themselves – mind, body and spirit. How can you grow your mind this year? Leaders commit to continuous learning and growth. Exercise prepares your body to meet the increasing demands of your job as well as helps to manage stress, cortisol levels, and more. Incorporating a spiritual practise into your life will help you understand your inner self, and foster a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. In turn, this will help you strive to encourage a sense of significance and interconnectedness among employees.
7. Go beyond yourself and give back
Leadership is always about others. Business is more than making products or money. It’s about making a difference. How can you influence your organization to get on board with making this world a better place? What difference do you want to make with your life and your business?
Over to you. Setting the intention to become a powerful and impactful leader this year will yield great results for you and your organization in both the short and long term.
Image credit: Pixabay.com.