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Principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto.

Another year has gone by. Time passes, and stuff happens. What marks a year? Not the number of days but the experiences, the impact and transformation that makes you the leader and person you are today. Through this lens of reflection, take some time to reflect on the impact of the year behind – and get ready for a fresh year ahead.

The year behind

What went well?

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This continues to be the most important, yet often overlooked, question. It’s great way to complete a year – and worthy to ask at the end of a week, a day and even a project. In our busier-than-ever work lives, noticing the good is a crucial skill for resilience, success and wellbeing. Reflect for yourself – and with your team – to boost engagement and performance.

What was your proudest moment?

Pride is a healthy emotion that expands our personal resourcefulness and efficacy. In the speed of life and work, we often minimize our accomplishments and hurry on to our next challenge. Take stock of your shiniest moment – whether as a leader, co-worker or simply a human being. It need not be big by anyone else’s standards but feels worthy to you – so go ahead and acknowledge yourself.

What did 2018 teach you?

Growth is critical for career sustainability. Take stock of your growth this past year by listing the key lessons learned – large and small – and reflect on how the “school of 2018” prepared you for the year ahead.

Where do you need to clean up some ‘messy bits’?

No matter how well-intentioned and successful you may be in navigating work and life with grace, we all experience occasional “messy bits” in work and life. Perhaps there were mistakes made; communications mishaps; relationships compromised; or an opportunity to do some good overlooked?

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With whom might you convey some authentic atonement – or for those who blundered, some forgiveness and compassion? Don’t forget to forgive yourself too – we all make mistakes.

What made this year unique in some way?

It sometimes may feel like all years are the same – yet when we pay attention, something stands out that can define a time in our life. What key events, situations and experiences truly defined what 2018 was all about for you?

Give your year a theme

Send off 2018 with a theme by completing this phrase: 2018 was the year of … .

The year ahead

What do you want to create in the year ahead?

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Notice the word “create.” This isn’t about wishes. It’s about intentions. Get clear on your deepest intentions to create or transform something in your work life that truly matters for the year ahead. Recognize where you have some power and influence to achieve this. Then ask: What will you commit to in order to make this happen?

What do you need to learn in 2019 and who will be your ‘teachers’?

Start your 2019 learning plan now, and identify personal and professional learning goals. Perhaps some new technical and professional skills to help you get to the next level in your career? How about some personal and leadership development to ensure the best of you is showing up day-to-day with others and with yourself?

Don’t forget to surround yourself with “teachers,” guides, mentors who can help you grow, learn and stretch.

How will you connect with your superpowers this year?

Can you readily cite what your best talents, strengths and abilities are? Are you using and growing them in your day-to-day work and life? Spotting and acknowledging strengths in others? If you are a leader or aspiring to be one, make this the year to put greater focus on strength-based leadership where you know, use and grow strengths individually and as a team.

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What’s your game plan for rest and recovery?

Your success will be based not only on how hard you work, but also on how well you rest and recover. In our drive to do more and be better, this often gets overlooked. Are you committing enough attention and planning to ensure you rest, recover and replenish?

How will you be there for others?

Making others feel valued, appreciated and understood is one of the most powerful acts of humanity and kindness that one can show. As I wrote in a recent Globe and Mail article, this mindset and these actions create healthier workplaces, families and communities.

What’s your intention theme for 2019?

What stands out for you as you reflect on your intentions for the year ahead? Draw from your aspirations, learning goals, to create a personal mantra to hold on to. Complete this phrase: 2019 will be the year of ….

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In the busyness of work and life we often mean to do better but our to-do lists can sidetrack our best intentions. How will you make sure this intention stays top of the list?

Executives, educators and human resources experts contribute to the ongoing Leadership Lab series.

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