What a year 2018 has been, adventure, challenges, fun, fear, celebrations, heartache, losses, failures, and successes. For me, 2018 has been far from what I imagined it to be at this time last year.

Lately, I’ve been sitting and doing a lot of reflection on 2018 (as well as doing the process with my clients), and I’ve been looking at what I’ve achieved and what didn’t quite work and getting an understanding of what drove both of those results. I’ve been looking at circumstances that have occurred, what was in my control and what wasn’t, and trying to get as many learnings as possible from them.

Reality is, nothing ever turns out quite as we’d imagined, whether that be good or bad. There will always be situations we can’t predict, circumstances beyond our control and things that are right in front of us that sometimes (for whatever reason) we can’t see.

As I’ve been reflecting I’ve tried to acknowledge the people who have brought a smile to my face, who have supported me, challenged me to do more and to be more and who have motivated me to achieve, to do better, to be better. And I’m humbled by the people I have had the pleasure of sharing the year with.

What I’ve realised is that through every (let’s call them ‘character building’) situation I’ve faced this year, I can smile from within. Because every situation I’ve faced, I’ve been able to prove to myself who I am, what I stand for, and what I am truly capable of. And for that itself, I am truly grateful.

For those who follow me on Facebook (personally), I’ve shared my learnings around personal growth and that with growth comes growing pains. When we experience growth it comes with fear, doubt, courage, responsibility, bravery, belief, acceptance, determination and most importantly honesty. Throughout growth we experience highs and lows, things can get wobbly inside and out, we experience excitement and fear, and start to understand that where there’s an ending there is always a beginning and where there is chaos there is always opportunity (you’ve just got to be willing to see it). Growth doesn’t happen in an instant, it takes time, it requires space and it requires support and inner strength.

As humans and as business leaders, we face many challenges, for some, it’s the focus, for others its organisation, for some it’s learning to back ourselves, for some its understanding finances, and for others its understanding that the results we get in business are a reflection of our personal growth. Our businesses can only ever grow as much as we do, therefore, it is essential that we commit to knowing ourselves and spending time growing ourselves. Whatever we haven’t worked through in our personal lives will show up in our business life.

To overcome the frustrations we face as we continue to learn and grow, we need to remain focused on the outcome, not the obstacles. Therefore it stands to reason that reflecting on the results you have achieved this year is an important part of your personal growth and your business success.

In any role (business owner, leader, parent, spouse), at home or at work, reflection is an important part of growth and of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish was less than average and didn’t quite work out the first time, would you? No, you would adjust the recipe accordingly or find a new one (hopefully a much better one).

Looking back on the year that has been is not about being critical and identifying what you could have done better, rather it’s a tool to look back and honour your achievements, your learning, and your growth. To take a moment to acknowledge yourself and to give yourself the massive high five that you deserve.

Reflection is a powerful skill to develop. But for many, carving reflection time into the schedule comes way down on the list of priorities. The achievement of goals and tasks tend to take priority. We go for the quick wins that make us feel good and keep us motivated. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that either, we all need a bit of that! But having a clear vision of the future is necessary. The achievement of your vision can be greater (and quicker) if you combine it with reflection.

When we choose not to reflect on our lives, essentially we are choosing not to take the time to invest in ourselves. And YOU should always be your biggest investment. You can’t give what you don’t have, so invest in yourself! Many of the worlds greatest leaders have spent time in self-reflection; from Socrates to Abraham Lincoln to Richard Branson. All acknowledging that this is an important piece of their fulfillment and success.

As we all wind down for the festive season, I encourage you to do some of your own reflectings over the break. Taking time out to do this will help you to further develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carrying on doing things as you have always done them (which really is not effective at all). It is about questioning, in a positive and encouraging way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a more efficient and effective way of doing things moving forward into the future.

As you reflect, if negative thoughts do start to creep in, it’s OK! Sit with them for a moment, but then bring your attention back to the positive. Remember, be gentle with yourself, you did the best you could!

By being self-aware and reflective you are better able to navigate your life allowing you to choose the actions, people, jobs, businesses and environments that leave you feeling fulfilled, content and thriving.

So, finish the year by reflecting on what has been, acknowledging your success and what you have achieved and recognising your learnings. Remember, you are awesome in all that you are and all that you do.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh.

Thank you for all of your support throughout 2018 and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for us all.

Take care of you and I hope that Santa is kind to you all xo

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