2020 was crazy, and so was 2021; however, this year, we were a little more seasoned to the ebbs and flows of the pandemic world. So with that said, I don't know about you, but I am very much looking forward to capping off 2021 and am welcoming 2022 with open arms!
As I began to reflect upon the past year and set my career goals for the year ahead, I felt very overwhelmed. I stepped away from the activity and returned to it the following day, only to feel the same. I quickly realised I had no solid idea of what I was actually trying to reflect on. So, putting pen to paper, I jotted down some thoughts and summarised them into long-form questions.
So here are the 3 big questions I asked myself that guided me through the reflection process and best prepared me for the future.
1. What were the highs, and what were the lows?
When reflecting on the year, it's less overwhelming to compartmentalise and focus on specific areas to help keep your mind on track. Personally, I am very tactile and like a good old-fashioned pen and paper. I chucked a very unruly (mind the pun) line down the centre of the page with a free hand. On one side, I focused on the highs. This included new responsibilities I had taken on, projects I was introduced to, and analytics I was proud of. It also encompassed soft skill wins where I felt I had made improvements.
Then I moved over to the lows. And oh yes, there were lows. This was a year of more isolation that I know we all (especially my fellow Melbourne peeps) know too well. Identifying the lows made me realise that although there is a benefit to working from home, I enjoy the camaraderie of collaborative working, but that does not necessarily need to look like a traditional office environment. I found technical areas I would like to develop further and soft skills. What was nice to see when I finished my list was that the highs outweighed the lows, giving me confidence in my current career journey.
2. Did I achieve what I set out to achieve?
Sometimes this is a solid yes, others it's a resounding no - and then other times it can be a little grey.
If it was a yes, congrats! Set yourself a new goal and go forth and concur. However, if it was a no, don't beat yourself up. Instead, remove yourself emotionally for a moment and put your analysis hat on. Assess the actions you took to achieve your goals, look for missed opportunities, and always put them in the perspective of the current marketplace as a whole. Perhaps your industry was heavily affected by the pandemic and made your goals just that much harder to reach? Perhaps your mindset changed, and those goals no longer served you, and you unconsciously deviated off the path? Or maybe, you realised you need to pull your finger and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals in 2022?
Adam Grant, the author of "Think Again," has a fantastic approach to goal setting and believes real joy and fulfilment come from the process, not the end result. So refine your strategy, and be present - it will all come together as it should.
3. What to take and what to leave behind?
Now I don't believe in the whole "New Year, New Me" movement. Just like I don't subscribe to starting a lifestyle change on Mondays only. But, there is something intrinsically valuable in setting goals for the year ahead. I like to think of it as a good wardrobe clean-out.
You have your tried and true pieces; they are timeless and serve you well. Keep. Forever.
Perhaps you have something you love, but it just doesn't fit anymore. You keep it around, but it serves no purpose and ultimately makes you feel bad about yourself. Let it go.
Then there are the trendy pieces that were useful at one point in time, but their era is over, your style has changed, and it's time to move on.
We must actively recognise the behavioural traits that serve us and those that hinder us. Once we have mastered that, we can set goals and put the necessary processes in place to achieve our own success.
You put your blood, sweat, and tears into this past year, so don't let it go by without taking the time to stop and reflect. I promise it will be well worth it, and your future self will thank you!
If you know one of your areas of opportunity is your career then join us when we host our Career Clarity Retreat in the beautiful Torquay on the 30th of January 2022. This is an all-day retreat to focus on YOU! A time day to reflect, refresh, and reclaim your career journey. If you're interested you can learn more about it here. ✨
Thanks for reading!