As someone who prides herself on taking action all the time, I find this a really powerful time of year to simply slow down and reflect.
Every year I do an Annual Review of sorts and share it publicly on my blog. I find this cathartic and really valuable to share with you – because my default is share and teach what I learn with others.
I also personally love learning from others, and what worked for them during the year, what they’d do differently and what their key takeaways from.
Typically it makes me feel more connected to them as a person and to appreciate that we’re all human, we all make mistakes, screw things up, have our doubts and fears.
And that despite all this, we act in the face of adversity, we commit to create value, we strive for meaning, we meet challenges head on and we turn up to the important tasks, day in and day out….
Aside from those days where we simply lay around snoozing, reading and lazing because we can or we decide to head out into the sunshine on an adventure and let loose.
This year, I’m giving myself more space than ever to reflect as 2018 has been a year that really served up some tough challenges for me professionally, which then hit me personally.
Over the past few weeks, Josh and I have been carving out time to do our end of year Life Pilot reflection and then setting our intentions for the year ahead, and our goals for the first quarter.
A Simple Process to Close Out The Year
I wanted to share the process that Josh and I are using to close out 2018 and make sure we celebrate it.
Step 1: Consult our Life Pilot Spreadsheet to get a visual on our entire life for the year.
It’s simple yet powerful and it’s been made much easier thanks to our Life Pilot spreadsheet.
Being able to scroll back through our 3 most important daily actions, weekly goals, monthly and quarterly intentions has given us an instant look at how our year really was in 2018.
And there ain’t no hiding from that data!
The colour coding on our Life Pilot spreadsheet also gives us a great visual summary of how we did across all our areas of life too – did we hit, progress or miss those important actions and goals?
Which areas of life showed up most and did any of them dominate?
Our areas we chose are: Personal Growth, Relationships, Health, Impact, Lifestyle, Financial, Work and Habits.
From this we’re able to deduce what went well, what we did and jog our memory about what really mattered, or what we may have forgotten that we experienced or achieved.
Step 2: Do a walk and talk reflecting on the year and summarize, reminisce and share.
We love to walk and talk, it stimulates our minds being out in nature and we both like to talk things out. I then like to capture this in a tool like Evernote.
And here’s exactly what I wrote down, no edits:
Jan/ Feb – Gold Coast, wedding, friends
Feb – Angel (as in getting our second adorable White German Shepherd Puppy!)
Mar – E-commerce idea of Poochable
Apr – Launched $3K in 3 Months e-commerce lab.
May – Brisbane trip for Michelle’s 60th. Book project resurrect.
June – Portugal, Frisbee, Life Pilot first launch.
July – Life Pilot second launch, book prep, Better Work Together book. Enspiral winter retreat – walk with Anna to commit to becoming triathlon training buddies.
August – Freedom Plan book and program focus, second e-commerce course run, Life Pilot.
September – Freedom Plan course Launch and operational fail. Tri training.
October – Freedom Plan Accelerator horrible launch, Rotorua seasonal dreaming. Financial focus, book prep. Tri coach start.
November – Book launch, denial and work through, confidence crisis. Tri coaching start. First Splash n dash event.
December – Slump, discussions, clarity, job parameters, refresh of attitude. Gisborne scope trip. Total reframe. Happiness.
There’s a lot more that went on in the year obviously but at a high level these were the highlights and lowlights.
Step 3: Do the deep introspective work and learn the lessons.
Had I stopped there I think the process would be lame. I would be stripping myself from all the gold nuggets I can take away from a year that on every front apart from business (and therefore finances), was quite wonderful.
The fact that I let the business front so dominate my end of year thoughts on how the whole year went, was saying a lot in itself.
With more digging, I got to stand back and celebrate more than just coming through a tough period. I also got to take the lessons learned and really truly use them as a force for good in my life.
In keeping with the ‘no more than 3 things’ Life Pilot methodology, and in reviewing others’ processes (hat tip to Marie Forleo and Denise Duffield), we simply ask ourselves the following three questions, and write out our answers:
- What things did you do this year that you’re proud of?
- What were the biggest lessons you learned this year?
- What one limiting story are you ready to let go of before 2019?
What things did I do that I’m proud of this year?
Had I answered this question at the start of December the list would have been limited and I would have been hard on myself.
But as I’ve reflected and released, and got told by a coach to create a brag book, many more things came to light.
- Spending 5 months rewriting parts of my book and working on the launch plan for it
- Publishing and launching my new Freedom Plan book and complementary Accelerator
- My book becoming a No #1 New Release in Amazon’s Women and Business Category, and a Top 10 Kindle book in Entrepreneurship
- Launching an eCommerce course while taking my first attempt to launch an eCommerce business selling ethical dog products – starting with the Poochable Frisbee
- Deciding to end my podcast after 7 years and knowing what an impact it made
- Turning our Life Planning tool and methodology that Josh and I created into an experience, challenge and course others could transform their life with – which was also the first thing I’ve done jointly and launched with Josh
- Learning how to work with Josh in a way that felt enjoyable and harmonious
- Playing my fave Beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Portugal with dear friends, and seeing Josh enjoy his first ever time playing – so proud of him.
- Continuing to learn how to be a great puppy mum and committing to building a great relationship with Kayla and Angel (while simultaneously falling more in love with them)
- Contributing to the Gift Economy by volunteering more of my time, energy and experience to projects and people including Enspiral, friends and mentoring through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
- Going to my first ever Tony Robbins event (despite my conflicting thoughts) and being thoroughly glad I did – I talked about this amazing experience in my vlog here.
- Hitting 10,000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel despite not maintaining a regular rhythm of releasing videos
- Deciding (on somewhat of a whim thanks to Claire) to start training for Sprint Triathlons as a long term mission to improve my health, mindset and physical performance
- Learning more about gardening and trees and continuing to create a magical place and home on our property Kairangi Haven
- Making new friends and nurturing a quality community of people locally
- Mentoring a wonderful bunch of women Entrepreneurs through Triple Twist with my wonderful partner in crime Julie Treanor
- Being part of two New Frontiers events, meeting incredible changemakers and being asked to impromptu MC one of the days
- Learning how to be a better person in my relationship with Josh, and sharing this growth with each other while deepening our love and respect.
- Letting go of my past success to make way for the new (even if it was freaking painful)
What were the biggest lessons you learned this year?
I learned (and often the hard way), that you:
- must never stop learning and growing
- must never do work that doesn’t align with your innermost values
- must never get trapped in the comparison game and lose sight of your uniqueness
- you can’t judge your success on your past self
- you can change your thoughts, beliefs and behaviour by changing your state – in an instant!
Stemming from this overarching ass-walloping lesson, is to act decisively when things don’t go as planned, don’t get stuck in ‘business as usual’ and don’t over outsource!
On that note you might enjoy my recent post about How I saved $3,000 on Tools and Technology for One Hour of Work.
What one limiting story are you ready to let go of before 2019?
My past identity does not predict my future success.
I’ve battled with this one all year. If I’m really honest, this has been the root cause of a lot of my challenges ever since I ‘stopped’ being the Suitcase Entrepreneur and made a 180 degree life change.
I’ve written and podcasted about this extensively. I simply did not realize that too much change is dangerous until it was too late.
And it’s affected me for close to two years.
Thankfully I’ve eaten humble pie, I’ve done and will continue to do the deep work to understand this and how it affects you, and I feel I’ve come out the other end with some amazing insights.
As Leo Babauta said in this post, you need to Train in Uncertainty.
When you get comfortable with something, you have to give it up. When you think you know something, you have to toss it out. When you walk through life with concepts, you have to let those concepts go and see things with fresh eyes.
That’s why I’m open to there being more lessons that I need to learn and am happy to experience them fully!
This year I realized that I can be soft and accepting of myself (and others) while being motivated and driven. I just need to keep those parts of me that are true to me but balance them better.
To close out this year, I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful experiences and quality people who I’ve spent time with and learned from.
I’m thankful to have rediscovered parts of myself that were laying dormant and I appreciate, more than ever, that I shall always be a student of life.
Here we come 2019. I’m ready for you, more than you will ever know!