No doubt about it – 2017 was a whirlwind of a year, filled with great change, dramatic shifts and lots of extremes. By now, most of us are jumping headfirst into 2018. But before you start goal setting, I want to give you the opportunity to first powerfully complete 2017. Why? Because when you have a big vision and you’re committed to making a difference in the world, taking the time to formally complete the past enables you to lay a powerful foundation for the future – that’s why you need to Take Stock.
Taking Stock is a classic Move The Crowd tradition – we do it every year. The key to doing this effectively is to turn away from all that’s happening out in the world and focus on ourselves. Taking Stock can help you gain perspective on the opportunities and challenges you face as you pursue your dreams.
I remember when I first began this process. Normally, my end of the year ritual would be to run around like crazy trying to get everything done. Or, just ignore whatever was incomplete in favor of friends and parties because I was just too darn exhausted to follow through.
So when the new year began, as much as I felt the excitement of another chance, I found myself still stuck in the old energy of unfulfilled promises and acknowledgements that I didn’t get to the year before. When I complained about being overwhelmed at the top of the year, one of my mentors told me about his process and I was like, “I’ve got to do this.” He had a different framework, but ultimately, he was able to finish strong and truly start the new year with a clean slate.
I sat down after our conversation (yes, it was early- January) and created the process of Taking Stock. By the time I finished, I felt this weight lift off of my shoulders. Instead of running around inside of my head, jumping between thoughts and feelings, I had it down on paper with a clear action plan for each facet of reflection and completion. And for the last ten years, this has been my year-end ritual.
Taking Stock is a multi-dimensional reflective process that can happen monthly, quarterly, or even daily. The four areas are Gratitude, Acknowledgement, Completion and Celebration.
When you think about what you created, accomplished and achieved in 2017, how much of it represented the things you wanted to have in your life and your business?
Was this an awesome year? A triumphant year? A challenging year? A surprising year? And for your business – was it a building year? A harvesting year? A transitioning year? An exploratory year? A seeding year? A pivotal year?
Give yourself full permission to examine and reflect on the road you’ve traveled – and do so unflinchingly and unapologetically.
Now, I’m going to walk you through the Taking Stock process. When you do this on your own, set aside time to delve deeply into each area (I recommend about 60 to 90 minutes total).
Let’s break it down:
As you reflect over the last 12 months, what are you thankful for? Consider all the ways you were really blessed this year. Take a look at the gifts, rewards and acknowledgements that came your way – the opportunities you took advantage of, the people who helped support your success, and even where you received some unexpected love last year.Gratitude is a powerful tool for honoring where you’ve been, while creating room for your next steps.
Next, let’s look at where you really brought it in 2017! Where did you rise to the occasion and knock it out of the park? What was pivotal to your success? On the flip side, take a moment to look at where you fell short or didn’t hit the mark: what was missing in those instances? What conditions or circumstances held you back from doing an awesome job?Use the process of acknowledgement to recognize your accomplishments and lessons – this can help you course-correct as you go into 2018.
Consider the goals you set in 2017. Is there any unfinished business? Working through these three categories will help you get complete:
- Projects and Promises: What projects do you still need to finish? What tasks are still lingering? Get clear about what you’re going to do, and what you’re going to release.If you’ve promised something to other people, set a new date to get it done — or apologize and let them know that you’re not able to do it. It takes a lot of guts to tell the truth and let something go –– believe me, I know! But you gain more credibility when you tell the truth.
- People: Are there any lingering conversations you need to have with others? Are there things you’ve needed and wanted to express, but haven’t been able to? Are there conflicts that need to be resolved? Is there support that you’ve been meaning to ask for? Make a list of all the people you need to be in communication with, then create a schedule to have those conversations… and stick to it!
- You and You: Lastly, where do you need to get complete with yourself? Where might you need to release and forgive, acknowledge, appreciate and give yourself a little extra TLC because of the rocky road you traveled this year? Or because of the ways you’ve stretched to meet all the demands of your day-to-day? Make some time to have a heart-to-heart with yourself. Write in your journal, go for a walk on the beach, spend some time in quiet contemplation… do whatever you need to with the commitment to become complete with you and you.
The best part — and often the most forgotten! The year 2017 was great and challenging on so many levels, which is all the more reason why it’s important to celebrate. What were your biggest achievements? What were your greatest lessons?Where did you grow personally and in, your capacity to lead? What about the growth of your business, the quality of your relationships, and the health and wellbeing of your family? How will you celebrate all of the above?Celebration is a crucial part of the journey – don’t pass it up just because you haven’t reached your final destination yet!
The practice of Taking Stock invites us all to become even more aware of life’s gifts, the blessing of progress and evolution, and the joy of being conscious, active shapers in our own destinies. Engaging in this kind of deep reflection enables you to emerge grounded, present, and ready to meet the new year in all of its glory!