‘Tis the season for reflecting – questions to ask yourself this festive period
Dec 2nd, 2021
“Where you are a year from now is a reflection of the choices you choose to make right now”
There is a common thread to the conversations I am having with clients, peers and strangers at the moment. It is that they feel that they have been on a roller coaster for most of the last two years and have managed the ups and downs by going into survival mode. Now, however, they say they feel ready to take stock and prepare themselves to take 2022 face on. To do that, there are some very important questions we need to be asking ourselves and those around us.
The period between Christmas and New Year, when many companies close – or at least slowdown – has traditionally been a time of reflection for many people, when big, life-changing decisions have been made and a vision for the year ahead is set. It is also a perfect time to recharge and refocus the mind to help you centre in on any smaller changes you need to make to help you reach existing goals and set new ones.
To an extent, this was missed last year and 2021 has, for many, been about adapting. We have worked hard this year whether that has been to survive, thrive or a bit of both. I would therefore encourage everyone to use a bit of the quiet time over the festive period to indulge in some personal reflection. Take yourself to a quiet part of the house, garden, local cafe or park, with a pen and some paper and ask yourself some questions. Be honest with your answers.
When reflecting on the year that has gone you need to be thinking about what accomplishments you are proud of and what has been most challenging, focusing in on what these have taught you and what you learned either about yourself or others around you. It is also important to think carefully about when you are at your best and what it takes for you to be there. Has anything changed during the year that opened up opportunities or created challenges? Also, have your priorities in your home or work life changed? Once you have reflected, you can then think about what needs to happen to make 2022 the best year yet.
You can download a list of questions at the end of this article to support this reflection.
Be mindful not to focus only on career-related answers. Personal goals, ambitions and challenges are usually heavily entwined with professional ones, so they need to be untwisted together. Wanting to ensure you are able to continue with the childcare responsibilities you took on when working from home, for example, will play a key part in what you want from your job in order to enable that to happen. Because of this link between home life and work life, some of my clients find it beneficial to ask and answer these questions together as a couple with their spouses/partners.
This simple reflective exercise will help you focus your mind for the year ahead and bring some clarity to what you want to achieve and what is going to make you happy. I run a more in-depth and creative reflective exercise in the one-to-one retreat day incorporated in my Vision Intensive programme. Without exception, it unlocks thoughts, feelings, drivers and purpose that gives clarity and results in a compelling action plan to achieve your ideal future.
As well as having a responsibility to ourselves to have a personal ‘check-in’, it is important as leaders to take time at the end of the year, or the start of next year, to reflect as a team on what has been learnt, what has worked and what hasn’t and needs some adjusting. Also to agree about how the team can support each other and what is needed to drive the team to greater successes in 2022.
We all owe it to ourselves to make sure that the hard work we are doing is allowing us to reach our full potential and as we say goodbye to one year and welcome in the next, there really is no better time to do this.
To help you I have put together a downloadable page of questions for you to ask yourself, and your team. If you would like to explore the questions and your answers further, then a Vision Intensive programme in the New Year may be something worth you exploring – I’d be happy to talk you through how it works to see if it is right for you. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy this reflective time!