At this time of the year, it's only natural for us to evaluate what we have achieved (or not achieved) during the past 10 and a half months.
A few thoughts for when you're doing your reflecting ...
1. Consider the achievements in your personal life as well as those in your professional life.
Many people focus on their careers to such an extent that they neglect their personal lives, causing personal growth to become stunted. When this happens, personal relationships become one of the first casualties. Close, intimate relationships are very fragile, sensitive entities and require much care, nurturing and attention. Don't neglect those who are closest to you, expecting them to just understand" that you haven't got time for them. Relationships can die simply from neglect.
So often, the reason we put a lot of effort into our careers is so that we are able to improve our earning capacity in order to give those who are close to us a more comfortable lifestyle. It's both ironic and tragic that many successful people sacrifice their loved ones in their efforts to give those loved ones more.
2. Do a mindset check.
In order to keep your thinking relevant, you need to continually assess your mindset against prevailing mindsets. While certain mindsets are undesirable and never worthy of being embraced, others are enlightening and energising, and should definitely be embraced. For instance, if you still have a "live to work" mindset which dictates that work comes first and then everything else a distant second, your thinking is outdated. The new, mature mindset, introduced by Generation Xers is that we work to live. It is now quite an accepted view that people actually have a life other than that which they live in the workplace. People who have no life other than their careers are considered sooo old school and seen as objects of pity more than people to be admired.
If you're managing your employees with this outdated mindset and expecting them to offer all on the altar of the company, you're going to have a retention problem very soon. You won't be able to keep good talent when you're sending them messages that you're out of touch with the way they think.
Should you realise during the course of your self evaluation that the focus in your life has been a bit out of balance, change. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks - if they want to.
3. Forgive yourself for mistakes made in good faith.
If you've made a few mistakes this year, give yourself a pat on the back. That means you were pushing your boundaries and exploring uncharted territory instead of opting for the safety of the familiar. It's said that the person who never makes a mistake never makes anything.
4. It's important, though, to not make the same mistake twice.
If you've repeated the same mistake, you're either operating beyond your level of competence or you're not listening to what life is telling you. Either way, face the issue, forgive yourself and take corrective action.
5. Give yourself time to restore your body, mind and spirit.
You need to be able to return in the new year ready to continue growing, learning and changing.
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, @HRFuturemag, and he assists leaders to lead with purpose, compassion and self-mastery.