We are at the start of new year, which means it’s time to run a Lessons Learned to close out this project that is Life in 2021. What went well? What could we do better next time?
What Went Well
Why should we review “What Went Well?” Oh for SO many reasons!
- Our brains are wired for negativity, which is a helpful yet annoying survival mechanism. We downplay our successes, and we latch on to our failures. Does any of the following sound familiar?
- We get our annual review. The boss says, “You did an amazing job this year. We love you. You’re awesome. Next year we would like you to show more leadership on your projects.” What runs through your brain? “Shit. I’m a loser. I should have been more assertive. I should have worked more. I better start looking for a different job…” So much good feedback, yet we glom on to that little bit of feedback and use it as proof that we are a failure.
- Here’s a personal example. A few weeks ago, I co-presented on the topic of Emotional Intelligence for Lead(h)er. Public speaking is a big trigger of panic for me, but by using some calming techniques and mindset work, I was able to keep my voice from shaking, I logically went through the material, and my face did not freeze into any weird contortions. But. Then came the Q&A. A question popped up that did not compute in my brain. I stumbled through some answer that I’m not sure made any sense or that even remotely addressed the question. So – great little presentation where I actually exhibited some poise and overcame something very scary for me – but the rest of the night I had a pit in my stomach, and my mind kept recycling the core belief, “I suck.” Fun times!
- We need about a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity to offset the negativity bias.
- Life moves fast, and we are usually focused ever on the future. “What do I have to do tomorrow, next week, next month to move towards my goals?” But, Baby, look at how far you’ve come!! You’ve grown SO much, accomplished so many of your goals, Past You would look at Current You and be like, “Daaaaammmnnn – that’s me?!” Take some time to relish this.
What are your Wins, your Successes, your Peaks for 2021? Don’t be shy! Write them out. Send them to me or share them with a friend. Get them down on paper and DOCUMENT THEM. Brag! Don’t let self-judgement hold you back you in this exercise. When it pops up, say, “Thank you, Sir, for trying to keep me safe and small, but I don’t need you right now.” And Write.
Here are a few of the things I accomplished in 2021 that make me proud:
- My therapy practice almost tripled.
- I worked with a psychologist and a life coach and did a lot of work on learning how to feel what I am feeling (instead of stuffing it down to deal with “later”) and how to question the stories on constant, speedy, reflexive repeat in my head.
- I asked and was granted a decrease in my hours at the bank, enabling me to put more time into my therapy practice. And I was able to deal with the, “Oh God, Oh God, how am I going to have enough money?!?!” fairly well.
- I co-presented 2 Emotional Intelligence presentations, which made me super duper DUPER nervous. One of the worst case scenarios actually did happen during the first presentation – the network at the presentation location was down, so none of the A/V equipment worked. We printed out the slides as a fail-safe, only to scramble madly when the network came up minutes before the presentation was scheduled to begin. But, BIG BREATH, it all ended up totally fine.
- I put my money where my mouth was and hired a personal trainer, and I’m getting stronger. I overcame one of my most favorite thoughts, “I’ll do it later, when I feel like it.”
What could we do better next year?
I propose a new take on this. Instead of thinking about things that went sideways and how we could keep them on track next time. Let’s think about what we want for next year. What do you desire for next year? Better yet (and thanks to my coach, Kate Reuter for this question), what do you SECRETLY desire? No one else has to know besides you and your pen and your paper. If anything was possible, what would you desire?
Don’t be alarmed if you try this exercise only to find out you don’t know what you want. You might know what you DON’T want (that one is a lot easier). Ask yourself, if you DID know what you want, what would that be? If you are an intuitive, empathic person, chances are you are used to having your feelers attuned to what everyone around you wants. So when you ask yourself this question, you may just get a blank stare. But trust me. You do know what you want. You just need to practice asking and listening. Again, bring self-compassion, non-judgement, and a sense of massive curiosity to this. THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS! If you do it wrong, you’re doing it perfectly. 😛
To give credit where credit is due, I’m borrowing, mixing, and integrating the work of so many people in this post. Here are links to my main teachers, should you care to dive into this stuff more:
The Life Coach School Podcast – How To Be Proud of Yourself
Dr. Yoga Momma – Yoga for the Mind program
I hope you can find some time to reflect on the year and appreciate how far you’ve come!
And that is it for today. As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me. And if you need help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here.
Have a fabulous day!