Last week, as we approached the end of a particularly challenging 2021, I reviewed all my key achievements, accomplishments and things that made me proud that year. I looked across all aspects of my life: business, family and social life, plus my health and fitness. This practice of reflection is valuable in many ways: to instil gratitude, to learn lessons and to help with forward planning. I wondered, how successful was I in 2021, and what were the secrets of my success?
I filled a double page in my journal with about 50 successful events and achievements, and I was pleasantly surprised. Why was I so surprised? Firstly, I was not expecting so many (yes, I had actually forgotten many of them) but also because I knew that some of my annual goals and objectives had definitely not been met, and I was acutely aware of these! (It’s vital to remember that as much – if not more – can be learned from failure as from success, but that’s a blog for another day.)
The secrets of my success
The next phase of my review of 2021 was to consider the shared characteristics of my successes during the year: were there particular ‘superpowers’ behind them? What were the secrets of my success? After a while a pattern began to emerge and I noticed that there were three particular features my achievements had in common. Interestingly and, perhaps not surprisingly, these were also missing from the goals I didn’t achieve.
I was curious, inspired and excited. Are these the secrets of my success? Is this my magic formula for future success? Would it work for other people too?
Just about all my successes related to doing things I’ve never done before. Some were big steps and some small. Some were in new environments and some doing things differently in familiar environments. But they all involved going outside my comfort zone and investing time, effort (and sometimes money) into unfamiliar territory. Stepping into the unknown takes courage, but it is the very best place for us to learn and grow.
- Determination and planning
Those who know me know that I always set out to be successful and achieve ‘beyond’ (I’m not always successful, but that’s how I set out). I have a focused energy and positivity and I reverse engineer my plans and ask with imagined hindsight: “If that’s what I have achieved, what did I do to get there?” So, for annual achievements I think of the quarterly milestones, then the monthly ones, then weekly and sometimes daily actions to achieve such goals. It’s fascinating how easy things can seem when broken down into constituent parts like this, and then each week it’s a matter of progress not perfection. Like the tortoise in the classic fable, slow and steady wins the race.
- Love and abundance
I believe that we can either choose to live a life full of fear and scarcity or alternatively one of love and abundance. When I look back at the latter years of my corporate career, I can see many times when fear and scarcity were dominant in my life: not enough time, not enough people, not enough money, not enough support, not enough skill/knowledge/expertise etc. At these times we tend to be looking inwardly at ourselves, focusing on our insecurities and in doing so, physically manifesting them.
Now, I aim to approach life from a position of love and abundance, where I believe that there is ‘enough’ and ‘everything is exactly as it should be’, no matter what happens. I find when we can approach life from this angle, our state of mind is much healthier and the results far more exciting. After all, the state of our life is 100% related to the state of our mind.
Intentions not resolutions
As we enter 2022 and I think about my annual goals and objectives, one of the things I am adding this year are my ‘intentions’. My intentions are the ways in which I would like to live my life, no matter what circumstances I find myself in.
I know that staying this way 100% of the time is not realistic, but as an ex-boss once said to me, “When we aim for the stars, we might hit the moon”. Not surprisingly, my intentions are to live life
- With courage
- With determination and planning
- With an attitude of love and abundance
…each and every day.
What are yours? I’d love to know! Happy New Year and may 2022 be full of success for you.