The year is almost over. I’m hoping you’re taking time off from work in this in-between time before the New Year begins. Even if you’re working, most people are still working slower, demanding less and the mood is lighter. You probably have more time to think now. Whether you’re working or not, this time of year is a good time to take a look at your work. I think it’s a good idea to look both backward and forward.
Look backward. When you look backward at this year, review each month. It will be easier to do if you go back through your calendar. What went wrong this year? Did some customers ruin your day? Did other people cause you distress? Did some projects get off track? You’ve got to know what didn’t work so you can do something about the situations next year. Now ask yourself why these situations happened.
You may find that some people were difficult to work with. They missed deadlines and as a result made your life miserable. Other people let you down in other ways. They were hard to work with by being too bossy or opinionated. There could be a lot of different reasons why these people made your life difficult this past year. There’s one more person to consider.
Ask yourself how you let yourself down. Did you want to start something and you didn’t? Did you want to stop something and you didn’t? Either way, you have to recognize what didn’t happen so you can do something about it next year.
Look forward. If you’re going to expect better results, now is the best time to create your plan for getting those results. You are relaxed and more clear thinking so your creativity should be at its peak. So, what will you do about the difficult people (including yourself) next year? If you work with those deadline challenged people, it’s easy enough to say you will build more oversight into their jobs.
Some difficult people are more challenging and may stump you when you’re planning a solution. First, ask yourself what was it that upset you. Did you feel bad about not asserting yourself? Now decide what you can say that’s polite and assertive. Think about the situations that occurred this year and plan on what situations are likely to occur next year. What would you say? Practice now so you’re ready. Now think about situations that could occur. This is the time to prepare what you would say and do.
You will get a lot of helpful information for your future business success if you look both backward and forward. Looking backward will tell you what works and what doesn’t work for you. Looking forward will tell you what you want from your life. Next year is just around the corner. I hope yours is filled with less bad drama, more good excitement and lots of success. Now is the time to go create it.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is a sales strategist and founder of Best@Selling, a sales training and consulting company. She wrote Monday Morning Sales Tips and works with sales professionals who want to sell more and close more business.