Every year, I press pause for the last few weeks in December to create space for reflection and to connect with the people who are important to me, always encouraging you as my readers to do so, too. Let me ask you these two questions to open a space for that reflection: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how was your year? How do you plan to make next year better?”
I’ve linked to my Turning the Page exercise so many of you have come to look forward to and, while it might seem easier to just rush past the end of this year, I think you’ll find it even more important to take time to put this year into perspective.
Even though my specialty is helping business owners and their advisors to stay steady in the face of uncertainty as they navigate the sale of the business, we’ve all had to adapt in the face of more uncertainty than any of us thought we could manage through these past two years. Where have you developed resilience you didn’t know you had?
While there were plenty of days when I would have liked to just stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and wait for it to all “go back to normal” (and, to be honest, I did a little of that, too!) I turned again and again to my question “What if I had chosen to do things this way?” Instead of resisting the fact so much remained virtual this year, I focused on adapting to the way things ARE instead of resisting.
It allowed me to shift my demeanor about the experience, to adapt and, as many of you witnessed in event after event that I spoke at by virtual delivery this year, I found a way to bring my inner Miss Nancy into the room, helping people to feel seen and understood. (If you missed that Romper Room reference, I’ve just shown my age! Forgive me.)
Asking “What if I had chosen this new way?” kept cracking the door open just beyond my resistance to give me ways to examine why I do what I do on stage in the way I do it, to find creative ways to engage my audiences without relying on the facial and visual cues I had become accustomed to as a speaker from stage. It helped me to hone my craft as a professional speaker, to create new offerings like my virtual Fireside Chat that advisors used this year to engage their clients and prospects in building trusting relationships as they prepared to sell their businesses.
I got reacquainted with my kitchen, rediscovered the joys of cooking at home and admitted that those 15 pounds I always wondered why I couldn’t drop directly correlated to the quantity of red wine and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I consumed (no, not together!) in an effort to stave off boredom while waiting in airport lounges for long-delayed flights.
By the time the second half of the year rolled around, I was able to be out speaking live and in-person again. I’ve loved seeing so many of you again and am looking forward to more events with you in 2022. Have you seen my new Speaker Reel that rolled out this year?
I had been writing in my journal for years about needing to dial back some of my travel and I used part of this time at home to get a head start on a special group I’ll be leading just for transitioning CEO’s. Keep an eye out for some really rich new experiences coming your way in the New Year including The Legacy Dinner and a series of unique events to help Advisors connect with their business owner clients and prospects in ways that will make it easier for deals to close.
I’m a stickler for completion. Completing tasks, conversations, relationships. Most of us are not taught how to make endings, to finish old business, so it doesn’t follow us into the New Year. We close the books on our businesses, and do year-end reviews with staff, but somehow doing the same work to actively turn the page in our lives and our careers evades us. I have a solution.
For many years, I’ve been following a simple process to gain perspective on the year as it ends and to intentionally choose what I want to pursue in the year ahead. Even more effective than New Year Resolutions (which are soon to be broken anyway and usually made without much reflection or planning), I look for patterns, beliefs and circumstances so I can consciously opt into which I carry forward and which I leave behind as I step into a brand new year.
You know my mantra is Chase What Matters, Do What Counts and this periodic review is the way I hold myself accountable to continuously enhance my life and to winnow out that which doesn’t belong anymore.
It allows me to revisit the pleasures from the year which has passed and begin to make sense of the disappointments and challenges. Even more, it points the way to issues that I need to seek some help on for the year ahead so I can live the life I intend. This simple act of closure and completion has been a key part of refining how I run my business and how I lead my life. It’s a tool I come back to throughout the year, as a blueprint for decision making so I continue to align my choices with what matters.
I have a handy two page list of reflective questions that guides me through a gentle process to close the year with a sense of ease and to outline proactive action steps for the year ahead. It’s been invaluable to me. You can find my version here and adapt it for your own use. I’d love to hear what you learn from your own review – drop me a note or let’s do a Zoom.
I’m looking forward to spending time with you in the New Year and to being of service as you Chase What Matters to you.
P.S. I’ve extended the holiday sale on my book The Seller’s Journey through December 31st. Now through the end of the year, you can purchase any quantity of The Seller’s Journey at a 15% discount. Simply use coupon code “transition15” at checkout. Grab 10 books to share with key players in your circles of influence as a new way to start conversations that drive meaningful deal flow and see how you close more deals with ease in 2022! Or buy 100 books and I’ll host a Seminar or Fireside Chat for your team or your clients for free.