The Annual Review: How Are You Doing?
Happy birthday, Higher Ground. Yep, this month, my first company marks its first year of business. It’s an effort that has offered me a lot of happiness and extreme challenge; something that’s let me help others, yet still take care of both my expenses and sanity. However much work I did to create this, I often think: “How lucky am I??” My work is a privilege. Not many people can say that.
The end of this 12-month period marks a perfect time to do an Annual Review. Forget financials, though. I’m talking intangibles: the emotional and other components that make up a business’ success and failure.
Of course, this applies to you, too.
Maybe you don’t manage a business, but you do manage your own life. How often do you take time out to really look around, be mindful, and evaluate how you’re doing? Do you know who and what rocks your world, moving you forward? What sucks the life out of you, potentially sabotaging your success?
If you don’t know, wouldn’t it be easier to catapult forward on your journey if you did?
As part of my Annual Review, I took 10 minutes, one large Post-It note, and asked myself those questions. Here’s what came up for me:
Things that rock
- Connection to my incredible community. I stay connected with family and friends who celebrate my highs, soften my falls, listen to my rambling ideas, and otherwise brainstorm, counsel, assist, comfort and support me. Included here are fellow lifechangers — like Jonathan, Chris, Jenny, Shelley and Pam — whose ass-kicking encouragement reminds me that giving up is an option, but usually not a solution.
- My core-building, care-taking practice. Even with my community, I still set aside time alone to take care of myself. I do my yoga, write, meditate. Sometimes I take spontaneous trips out of town (or state, or country), and I’ve been known to eat a cupcake for breakfast. All helpful parts of my whole.
- Prioritizing and procrastinating. I tend to prioritize too many things (as if you can even have 8 “top priorities” in a day). So, this year, I’ve practiced hard at procrastinating instead of prioritizing. Putting less important, “B” and “C” priority things aside usually ups my productivity.
- Coffee in the a.m. + wine in the p.m. I never said motivation had to be deep. I often wonder why an awesome cup of morning coffee (even decaf) can have such a positive impact on my day, or a great glass of red can make reviewing my financials easier in the evening. It’s like meditation: I don’t know how it works, but I don’t really care. In a practically Pavlovian way, these things make me happy, and that’s good enough.
- Just going with it. One of the biggest ways I’ve survived this year is by just getting out there. Just showing up at that event, just teaching that client, just hitting “send.” By taking the risks, over and over, the process became a smidge softer, a little less intimidating.
- Putting fear on paper. When I’m overwhelmed or afraid, I write it down. I list specifics: what it looks like in my mind, feels like in my heart, sounds like in my head. Then, I literally “face my fears” by reviewing the dissections and seeing how they stand up. So far, I’ve won those contests.
Things that suck
- Toxic Overload. Too much of a “bad” thing. It could be too much alcohol, sugar, or time with people or situations that no longer serve me. Sometimes I make excuses to keep at it, just so I can avoid the sting of change. But that’s always temporary, and I always feel better afterward.
- Not investing in appropriate help. Seeking out wiser ones is often a wise move. One of my biggest business mistakes this year is so common it’s a cliche: I didn’t hire a bookkeeper. Did I figure my financials out myself anyway? Yeah. Was it a good time? Yeah right.
Now, truth be told, my former Type A personality really, really wants to come up with four more items on the “things that suck” side, but I still think it’s pretty good for 10 minutes. I hope it offers a little insight.
So how about you? What’s on your Lists?
Look around, inside and outside of yourself, and see what’s going on. Take notes. Keep it honest, vulnerable, open. Honor your experiences with acceptance and humility. Then, do the math: increase the things that give you a push, and decrease the things that get in your way. And when you start feeling the upswing of your action, celebrate. Maybe even with a breakfast cupcake.