As 2016 draws to an end, I’ve deliberately slowed down by taking two weeks off work, become a hermit by minimizing social activities so that I can carve out plenty of time to reflect on the past year.
We live in a society and a time filled with so much “doing” yet so little “being”. We are always asking “What should I do to get there?” rather than “Who do I need to be”, the intention, mindset or perspective much needed to carry us on our journey.
We are constantly doing the next thing to make us feel more like somebody else, more successful, happier, but we often forget to stop, reflect and celebrate our progress as well as setbacks.
By not celebrating our wins, we are never fully aware of our advantages and talents, leaving us feeling insufficient all the time. I’ve worked with so many intelligent, hardworking individuals who surround themselves with talents and never feel that they are “smart enough”. It’s a good thing to be humble, but humility without confidence is counter-productive.
On the other hand, “fails,” even the big ones, are worth celebrating, too. Failure has been getting such a bad rap. Don’t we often learn (more) from our failures than our successes? That is if we take the time to debrief what we learn from our failures, rather than wallowing in self-criticism and self-doubt, letting our Saboteurs get the better of ourselves.
Self-reflection is like holding up a mirror to study yourself. What kind of person are you in your relationships? What kind of mental and behavioural patterns have you been operating your “human machine” with?
Inspired by this article from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) where I received my coaching certification, here is a list of questions to guide you with your own self-reflection. I have also written down my own reflection to share a bit more of me with you.
- What were your accomplishments (big and small) in 2016?
- What about these accomplishments are important to you?
- What kind of person have you become because of them?
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What disappointed you in 2016?
- What about them are important to you?
- What were you avoiding?
- What were you tolerating?
- What were the voices in you that you were listening from?
- What would you like to create for yourself and your community in 2017?
- Who do you need to become in order to do that?
- What do you need to start doing/doing more, and stop doing/doing less to stay committed?
2016 is the most extraordinary year in my life so far.
It’s been a great year not because I made more money or got to play a ton, but because it was full of many personal “firsts” and I managed to do so many things that I never fathomed I’d be able to do: Creating my first website, blogging for the first time, putting myself “out there” to find clients, becoming a certified coach, recruiting a team of strangers to work on a cause I’m passionate about, designing and delivering my first workshop successfully in front of a fresh class of MBA students, showing my most vulnerable, tender sides in a few important personal relationships…
It’s been a great year not because it’s easy, but because I stepped out of my comfort zone so many times to do what is right. Looking back from a whole new height, I am feeling so much humility for what I still don’t know, but also so much assurance and confidence for what I’m able to achieve next.
I learned how powerful pursuing that sweet spot where my strengths and interests intersect is. It has proven to be such a strong source of motivation. Of course there are times when I just feel like vegging – that’s when I know I need a break. I learned to be OK with it as I know where to find my “mojo” back at the right time.
Asking questions and letting others help me is another great lesson. It turns out that I’m not alone in so many aspects of my life! Instead of habitually answering “I’m doing well, you?” I started to share my confusion and struggles. I started to ask the world “How do I …” more often. Every time I did that, I received a distinction, a direction, an answer, a contact, and a new village of human beings I look forward to giving back to.
I will not wait until I’m 100% ready anymore. Starting small, testing, failing and learning turned out to give me tremendous joy, creativity, discovery and progress.
I’m STILL just talking the talk of becoming a morning person. That strong desire to do more and learn more everyday caused me to stay up late often, not to mention my poor discipline in yanking myself out of my warm and comfy bed every morning. If I could cultivate this habit, I’d be able to dedicate time to what I found the most fulfilling when I’m the most alert - my favourite books, passion projects, or quick workout, rather than semi-doing them when I’m tired after work.
What I’ve been avoiding is focusing on deepening what I’ve already learned. I’ve been tolerating all the distractions from myself and others. There seems to be a voice that keeps saying “You need to know more about subjects A, B, C and D... and do it NOW!” that I have to constantly battle with. Yeah, the fear of missing out. Gotta combat my Restless and Hyper-Achiever Saboteurs (Find out yours on www.positiveintelligence.com).
In 2017, I’m committed to creating more depth (not as much breadth) in my knowledge and skills as a career and talent development expert. For my community (e.g. my friends, family, colleagues, clients and students), I’m committed to believing in their potential and creating a safe space for all of us to openly share our vulnerabilities.
I will be the possibilities of patience, introspection, empathy and focus.
I will continue to implement what I know and stop looking for more to do.