Photo by Tyler Merbler

I recently met with an executive for his end-of-year session and quickly realized he wasn’t his usual optimistic self. He told me, “Even though the economy’s good and we are doing well, I just don’t feel like we accomplished a lot. It doesn’t feel like it was a good year.”

I was surprised by his comment. I remembered several highlights from the past year involving his leadership team, the company and his own family. I asked him, “When was the last time you took a vacation?” He said it had been months since he took some significant time off. Actually, all he could remember was a long weekend away from work.

Clearly we had discovered part of the reason for his low energy and pessimism—he was simply worn out.

We spent the next 45 minutes reviewing the positive things that had occurred during the year. By the end of the session, he had a much better (and more accurate) perspective on work and life outside the office.

Turns out, it had been a good year—a great year, in fact.

The big picture

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and self-assessment about where you are in work and life. As a business coach with a whole-life approach, I believe that a truly successful life is not about who has the most wealth, the biggest company or the most power. It is about having success in all areas of your life. For years, I’ve coached my 7 F’s of True Success model, which emphasizes the Fundamentals of your work, while also focusing on the importance of sound Financial strategies, being someone your Family and friends can count on, living a life of Faith, and making time for Fitness and Fun. The Fusion of these essentials creates a balanced approach to life, and it gives you a roadmap for achieving success.

So as we approach the year’s end, think about what you’ve done and what you plan to do next. Look at the big picture when you do, and consider these things:

  1. Your business year basically ends Friday, December 22. For all practical purposes, everything associated with this year ends on that day. So get going. After that, it’s family, faith and fun.
  2. Review the goals you set for this year, and consider your results. Write down the highlights and wins that occurred this year. Use the 7 F’s model to take in all areas of your life. You’ll likely find you have a lot to be thankful for this year.
  3. Review this past year’s calendar month by month. If you are in sales, did you see enough people? Did you ask enough people to buy? If you are in a leadership role, did you focus enough on your team? Are you leading them or just leaving them alone? People want a leader who focuses on vision; goals; values; and developing a healthy, productive work culture.
  4. Did you do what you do better this year? Are you closer to being an expert in your field? Are you a better leader? Did you make professional development a priority? Are you sharpening your iron? Remember, it’s better to wear out than to rust out.
  5. What were your most significant achievements / accomplishments? Revel in these wins! Are they repeatable? Think about what you did right in order to achieve the goals you set. How will these accomplishments set you up for continued success next year?
  6. What lessons did you learn? Mistakes and losses are not fun, but we can learn from them and come back stronger. Make failure an event, not a mindset.
  7. And finally, did you spend enough time working on and achieving your goals outside of the office? (These other F’s are the keys to your true success.)

Finally, consider this, too:  A lot of people spend the first three weeks of January finishing up business from the previous year. That means they basically start the new year in February. That leaves only 11 months to complete a year’s worth of goals. Don’t do that. Focus now on ending the year on a positive note, and figure out what you want to do differently next year. Start today. Then spend your holidays enjoying