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Engage the Power of a Year-end Debrief

December 15th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Productivity, Vision

“A result is not an accomplishment until it’s recognized.”
Joe Dominguez

Over the last few days, I’ve been spontaneously thinking about the past year, wondering “How’s it gone? What’s happened, really?”

This time of year offers us a powerful opportunity to take a leap forward, by pausing for a year-end debrief.

Elite athletes take time at the end of a game to replay video footage, review the plays, debrief what worked and pinpoint the next areas of growth. We can empower ourselves by doing the same thing with our businesses and our lives. A potent debrief includes three parts: savouring, celebrating and learning.


We purpose-led business owners live high-paced, fully engaged lives. We’re often moving so quickly that we barely notice what we’ve accomplished! The first step in debriefing is to pause, slow down and get present to what’s happened this year. Psychologists researching the keys to true happiness have confirmed what ancient wisdom told us for years. Savouring our lives – the special moments and sweetest accomplishments – directly increases our happiness.


As we savour what happened this year, our results naturally come into view. The second step in debriefing is to give yourself some breathing space to ask “What’s happened that I feel pleased about?” and be curious. You might be surprised by what you discover are your most heart-felt, meaningful and cherished accomplishments.


Okay, let’s get real. Probably as you reflect on your year, the first thing that sprang to mind was everything you didn’t do. While it is uncomfortable to acknowledge these disappointments, failed intentions and unmet expectations, they are actually the “gold.”

As the philosopher George Santayana said, if we don’t understand history we’re doomed to repeat it. When we take time to see the facts of our past year and dig down to understand what they’re telling us, we can truly learn. This learning will equip you to start the New Year with a leap – right onto the next rung of the ladder of your dream.

For example, as I started my own year-end debrief in early December, I was surprised to realize that my revenue was down more than I’d expected. While I had made a daring decision to take on fewer private clients to free up time for writing, I hadn’t foreseen the full impact. Now I feared I wouldn’t be able to continue taking this practice. Discouraged and down heartened, I stared at the numbers until a niggling voice urged me to dive deeper.

For the next few hours, I pulled info, tallied numbers and probed assumptions. Gradually a picture came into focus, and it wasn’t at all what I’d first thought! My revenue was down $10,000 because I’d averaged two fewer sessions per week over the course of the year. Just two sessions! I was stunned that such a small slippage could add up to such a large impact. This clarity saved my precious writing time! Within an hour, I’d refocused my intentions for my private clients and felt a re-bound of confidence. By being willing to let the facts teach me and daring myself to challenge assumptions, I’d put myself on solid footing to start 2011 at a brand new level. And I know it was no coincidence that I had two new client inquiries in the next week.

Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take some time for savouring, celebrating and learning. Ask yourself, “What’s actually happened this year? What have I accomplished that I feel truly pleased about? What didn’t happen that I’d intended to create? What can I learn from this and do differently?” Every minute you invest in your year-end debrief will pay important dividends. You’ll release disappointments, increase your happiness and set yourself and your business on a more effective path. You’ll start your year with a fresh, new canvas just waiting for the promise of 2011.



2 Comments so far ↓

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