Can you believe that we are almost 6 months into 2014?
I was shocked when I looked at the calendar since it feels like just yesterday I was bringing in the New Year.
Like any good milestone, though, mid year is a great time for some reflection. It’s time for you to do a mid year review.
So, how are *you* doing?
Are you making forward progress on all the great things you set out to accomplish?
Or are you feeling like you have completed a lot of stuff, but it hasn’t been the most strategic things you set out to do at the start of the year?
Or maybe you are new here and you haven’t even set yearly goals.
Well, no matter where you are in your process, now is a great time to do a mid year review and map out the rest of the year. After all, if you don’t do it now – when will you?
We have been working on a little guide with a set of worksheets for our notebook project that is all about planning and making things happen, and so the rest of this post is essentially that: a jump-start to a productive rest of this year.
If you want the biggest advantage in your career and life, the best thing you can do is hone in on what drives you. [ tweet this! ]
This is usually a combination of things: knowing what really matters to you, what motivates and drives you, and what makes you exceptional.
The first part of any long-term plan should start with this formula. These things that, when combined, make up you – in all your special awesomeness.
Uncovering your strengths & skills
The first place to start is with what makes you special. These are your talents, skills, and abilities – your superpowers. Knowing what you are best at allows you to capitalize and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
Sometimes these things are the things we love to do – the stuff we are passionate about. Other times our strengths fall into what we are just naturally good at. If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, then this is a great time to consult others.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What things do people seek out your help and advice on?
- On what subjects are you considered an expert?
- What do you do really well?
- Where do you focus your learning time? What skills are you trying to build or improve?
And keep in mind this can be a work in progress; you don’t have to figure it all out right now. Keep it near your desk and revisit it every month or so to revise and update. You are always changing, so it makes sense that your strengths and skills will too.
Defining your values & principles
If your strengths address the question of “what?”, then your values and principles answer the questions “how?”. These things are the underlying beliefs that steer everything you do – they help define who you really are (or who you want to be).
All the great things you do will mean nothing if you aren’t living your life in harmony with your valuable and principles. You are remembered by how you lived, not by what you accomplished. For example, if you read Steve Jobs’ eulogy, the things that are mentioned were his love for his family and his passion for beauty – not what he did day to day at work.
How do you want to be remembered by the people that matter to you?
What values do you embrace?
List out the values that really matter to you. In the worksheet, there is a list of ideas to spark some inspiration that you can use to outline these values.
Crafting your purpose
Now that you have thought through your strengths and values, it is time to tie them together into your purpose. How can you leverage the things that are uniquely you to improve the world? Make a difference in the lives of others?
One way to answer this question is just to keep putting down answers. Write anything that pops into your head. Do this over and over again. Try to come up with at least 20 things.
If something in there hasn’t made your heart sing, do another 20. Repeat this until what you have written truly embodies what you want to do in life.
If you get stuck, you can take a break and come back to this in a week, or even in a month. When you come back to it, read over what you wrote previously. Are there any statements that evoke emotion for you? If so, highlight those and then try to create new permutations of those ideas. When you land on your purpose, you will know. It will resonate with you and it will hold true now and again 10 years from now.
Reflections on the past
You can’t know where you want to go without looking at where you’ve been. Given time, your experiences become assets and make you that much better. As you think back on the past, here are some questions to stir your thinking:
- What were your big victories?
- What were your speed bumps?
- What fears did you conquer? Did anything hold you back from your full potential?
- What were my favorite moments? Think about who you spent the most time with, and when you were the happiest. When did you laugh the hardest?
- What inspired you?
- What would you have done differently if you had to do it over again?
- Is there anything you left unresolved or unfinished?
Where will you be in 5 years?
One of the hardest parts about thinking about the future is that it is unknown. Therefore, to establish a 5 year plan, it is best to start with the things that we know for sure now. After that, try to fill in the details for the things you don’t yet know. Focus on what you want to happen. Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be with? What will your days look like?
Setting your mid year review goals
When you are super smart and talented (like you, superstar!) it can be hard to focus on just a few goals. Most of us are multi-faceted human beings and are capable of so much amazingness that it can be a challenge to pin down the key goals that should really be front and center. That being said, if you let shiny objects distract you, then you may neglect to make progress on the things that really matter.
So far you have looked at your strengths and your values, reflected on your past, and thought about the future. Now it is time to brainstorm and put all that thought into some concrete, directed actions.
One great way to do this is to think through each area of your life and identify the things you want to do, the things you should do, and if you have stuff that doesn’t fall into either of those buckets – add them to your wildcard list.
What do you want to do in the next year?
- Business & career
- Money & finance
- Family & relationships
- Attitude & spiritual
Yourself – physical & personal
Then once you have each area established and the things you want to accomplish clearly laid out, go through each goal and complete the following sections:
- I want to…
- I will know I am successful when…
- Date accomplished: ______________
For each of your goals, add them to an overall goal summary for easy reference. Put this goal sheet somewhere where you will see it often. Paste them in your notebook or put them up next to your computer, for example. Each week when you go through your weekly goals (like in your weekly ninja planning session) you can review your yearly ones too and try to incorporate some of your steps into that week.
How will you make the most of the rest of this year? You can do amazing things if you know where you are going. Do you have the best map possible?