Looking Back to Move Forward by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC


As we reach year end, it’s natural to pause for reflection on the past year and to anticipate the year to come. One of the best waysindex to ensure productivity and mindfulness in the coming year is to combine those two efforts into an exercise that helps you use the past to shape the future.

As the year ends, take the time to reflect on all the things that went well in your business, and to consider what you can do to replicate those things in the coming year. Set goals to go even further than last year, if appropriate, using the data from this past year to help you list the tasks you must carry out to reach your new goals.

Take a look, as well, at the things that didn’t go as planned in your business. Were the goals the wrong goals to begin with? If the goals were appropriate, list the things that got in your way and kept you from reaching the goals. Adjust for the coming year and mark your calendar to check in on your progress and make adjustments quarterly.

Reflect on the things that brought you happiness this past year. Whether it was a great vacation, extra time spent with family, or rewarding volunteer work, be sure you’ve noted its impact on your life. Then, make sure to include more of it in your plans for 2018.

Finally, make note of the things from 2017 that caused you unhappiness. Determine how you can rid your life of these things, or at least minimize their impact on your happiness. If you have toxic relationships, vow to fix these or leave these.

Once you’ve reflected on all these areas of your life, be sure to take into account new things you want to bring into your life in 2018. Have you neglected to pursue interests or relationships because of work or other commitments? If so, make a plan to add these activities to your life.

Every year brings a new opportunity to improve our lives. Reviewing the past year and using its events and results, both good and bad, can help us to see the areas where we are excelling, as well as those where we need to make adjustments. As you celebrate this holiday season, don’t forget to look back and look forward.


The Value of Reflection by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC


One thing most business owners and executive leaders have in common is a well-developed work ethic. In fact, they can often be called workaholics. It is this drive and ambition that allows you to do great things. However, working too hard can also get in the way.

Over time, too much work and too little play does more than just make Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. It makes Jack/Jill less productive and may also reduce their ability to think outside the box.Reflection

Not only does working too much tire you, but it also reduces the amount of time you have to really think about things. Your mind and your body get caught in a routine of doing things the same way over and over. This muscle memory keeps you moving, but doesn’t help you recognize when it’s time for a change.

Time away from work not only gives you the chance to rest and recharge your body, but it gives you time to think, as well. As you reflect on your life and your business, you will likely get a new perspective on some things. It’s important to take time away from work regularly, and to do so with intention.

During your time away, plan to reflect on your business. It’s wise, in fact, to make a list (at least mentally) of two or three things you want to think about during a long weekend or a vacation. Keep the list short and simple, and don’t schedule the rest of your activities around it. If you let yourself relax, the subjects you need to reflect on will probably pop into your head at just the right time.

You see, it’s much easier to come up with a great marketing idea over a glass of wine on the patio sometimes than in an all-day strategy meeting. Quite literally, during the meeting, you’re trying too hard. When you take the pressure off and let your mind wander at its own pace, brilliance can happen in a flash!

Some of the best business decisions ever made took place on a boat on the lake, lying by the pool, or during a mountain hike. Never feel guilty about taking time away from work to relax and to think – it can be the greatest unplanned strategy session ever.