The Year That Was

We’re in the last few weeks of 2011, and what a year it has been. A number of huge events on the world stage have taken place, and plenty of great things, I hope, have happened for you.

For me, the change in year is a good time to reflect on how both personally and professionally I’ve gone, and what I can plan for with the year ahead. I start this journey by listing major events that have occurred in the last 12 months, ranging from new large contracts to new employees, through to those events I’d possibly rather forget: mistakes that have happened, deals we’ve lost and months that haven’t been as good financially as we’d hoped.

This is a great time for you to consider how your business or career has gone, and what has worked and hasn’t been as successful over 2011. Start by listing them all in two columns, along with the month they happened. Look at your accounting, and get an idea how your business has travelled each month—is there a trend or a pattern you see emerging here?

What mistakes have you made during the year? Failures are a natural part of life and we all know that the most successful people are often quoted as saying they learn from their mistakes—what lessons have you taken away from these, and what have you done to change systems or your approach, to avoid these happening again?

Make sure you write down plenty of wins too; they don’t even need to be large financial gains, just events or successes that you are proud of. Take time to reflect on these, and analyze how they happened—was it pure luck or hard work, or being in the right spot at the right time?

For me, I’ve had a number of great successes, but then I have also had a number of failures. I ensure that I learn as much as I can about both, so I can work on doing more winning, and doing far less failing.

If you have a team around you, ask for their input, and share the results amongst yourselves. If you made goals at the start of the year (something I actively encourage you to do), then take a look at those; how far did you get crossing some of those goals off your list? More often than not, some goals changed—which ones did, and why?

All of this knowledge should get you pumped up for the year ahead. You’ll finish this exercise with a better insight into how your business has gone over the last year, and what issues you need to possibly address in the year ahead. Naturally, a few goals should come out of this reflection—make sure you write them down and stick them up somewhere you won’t forget them for the year ahead.

Enjoy the process and the insights, and thank you for being with me on the journey of 2011. This is my last SitePoint Newsletter for this year, so I wish you all the best for the new year’s celebrations, and look forward to touching base early in 2012!

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