What is your habit about doing a career check-up and development plan? I encourage the calendar changing to a new year as a place to step back, take a deep breath, and think about the past year, the current moment in time, and the coming year. As I mentioned in my whitepaper 5 Tips for Managing Your Career and Performance, a key piece is tip 5.5 where you Hone the Habits of revisiting your plans from the previous year.
Here is an outline of what a personal reflection might look like, in 4 simple, but not so easy steps…
First, remember my 30-30-40 rule on conversations. A healthy conversation focuses 30% on the past, 30% on the present, and 40% on the future. With that in mind and the goal being to answer a few questions about you and translate that into tangible goals for next year.
Part 1: Look back on the past year
- What were my most significant learnings from the past year?
- Who were people that I am most thankful for because of the part they played in my year?
- What did I accomplish?
- What would I like to forget?
Part 2: Take inventory of where things are today
- Fill out a wheel-of-life (see attached). For each piece of the pie answer the question – How satisfied am I with that part of my life? What do I have to celebrate? What would make this part of the wheel stronger and more fulfilling for me?
- Looking back at the entire wheel – What is one area I want to focus on in the coming year?
Part 3: Look to the future. I took this exercise from Rich Sheridan’s book Joy, Inc. – How We Built a Workplace People Love (p. 241)
- Take a quiet hour to sit down with your computer, your tablet, or a pen and paper and describe a good day one year from now. Pick an exact day. Write down what is happening in your life on that day. Here is a start to that letter: It is December 15th, 2016, and today I . . . . Then start writing. The description should be dripping with detail. It should be both personal and global – it shouldn’t be just about you; it should be about both you and the joyful results you are helping to produce in the world. It should reflect both your personal goals and your work goals.
- As you read through it – What part of your story jump out at you? What are the significant things that you see happening – both personally and professionally? What are the relationships you are celebrating? What does it tell you about the things you need to focus on maintaining? Building?
Part 4: Read through the things from Part 2 and 3.
- What do I need to KEEP Doing this year?
- What do I need to START Doing this year?
- What do I need to STOP Doing this year?
It is that easy, and not that simple. Once you create a goal, build in some time monthly to review them and set up some progressive steps for making those goals a reality. Here is a worksheet to help make your goals SMART-Er.
Let me leave you with one quote that I use with many of my clients and in my own life. It is an African Proverb that says – If you want to go FAST, go ALONE. If you want to go FAR, go TOGETHER. This journey towards mastery is best done TOGETHER – so find some travel partners.