1) Year End Review/Planning For The New Year – Here is a very useful exercise for those of you interested in reflecting, learning, setting meaningful intentions and consciously moving ahead on something important in the new year.
2) Other Resources – The usual potpourri for you. This month I have included links to videos sharing some surprising science on stress, some observations on the mind’s obsession with thinking/worrying and a short article sharing some of the best practices for enhancing your relationships.
3) Coach’s Corner – Finally, for my coaching colleagues, I have an announcement about January’s affordable practice development program, an offer for those of you needing more mentor hours for your ACC or PCC renewal, and a video sharing some of my best tips regarding sample sessions.
As the year draws to a close this is an excellent time to step back from the day to day tasks, reflect on what is truly important to you, and begin to contemplate what, if any, changes you may want to pursue in the year ahead.
Every year at this time, I lead most of my clients through an exercise that they find very valuable. I would like to share this process with you. To ensure whatever you may commit to this coming year will be worth the effort, and truly deliver meaningful results, please consider these topics.
Before You Move Forward, Look Back
Taking the time to look backwards before we begin to plan for the new year, greatly enhances your ability to access your your creativity, insight and perhaps gain a bigger perspective as to what is truly important to you. Slow down. Get yourself comfortable and take a few moments to carefully consider one question at a time:
What was your greatest success/accomplishment in this last year?
What did you learn about yourself from your success?
What was your greatest disappointment this year?
What did you learn from it?
Overall, and from the perspective of your whole life, what was this last year about for you?
Beginning A New Year
Having seen where you have been, consider, what your biggest dream or vision for the year ahead is. In other words, if this next year would be truly successful and fulfilling for you, what would you most like to accomplish? Please take the time to consider any adjustments/changes in the most important areas of your life such as; career, relationship, health, personal development, finances, spiritual life, etc.
Will the changes/goals you are considering align with what you really want and deliver enduring happiness and value?
How might you need to grow, or change your mindset, to successfully accomplish your vision? Another way of asking this is who do you need to become to be the person that would be able to achieve your goal? (Here we are pointing to the reality that most of our big changes require us to grow.)
What beliefs, assumptions or behaviors will you need to revise or let go of to succeed, be more happy or loving?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how emotionally engaged are you to making this change? There is good science that tells us that if you are not at least an 8 out of 10 in terms of motivation, your chances of success plummet. (So if you are not sufficiently inspired to make an important change, take the time to connect more deeply to the benefits, or the reason why, you want the outcome.)
Moving Into Action
Once you get clear on a vision for what you genuinely want to accomplish in the year ahead, it is very important to actually convert that idea, into some plan and action.
It is said a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Give some thought to the first step, the action that will initiate the process of change. Think through the other/next specific actions you will need to take to successfully move you towards your goal.
Designing Support You Need
With recent advances in social psychology and neuroscience, we now know there are many changes we can accomplish on our own. However, the bigger changes that require a change in mindset, or require us to move past existing habits and beliefs and develop new behaviours, are very hard to effect on our own. Willpower is simply not enough to ensure your success in these bigger, adaptive changes. (Which is one of the reasons so many of our resolutions and change initiatives fail.)
So, if you are going after a bigger change, give some thought to designing a few support structures to keep you on track when things get tough and distractions, discouragement and self-doubt begin to erode your resolve. The simplest of all structures is finding a partner, or better yet a team, that you can share this journey with. Having at least one person that shares your goal, and who can remind you why you are doing what you are doing, when the inevitable challenges come up, can greatly enhance your chances of success and the enjoyment you receive from the whole journey.
Reach Out For Help If You Need It
If you are unclear on what you may want to change in your life, lacking clarity or motivation or simply unsure what really will deliver significantly more meaning/success/happiness, then don’t be afraid to reach out and get some professional support. Life is too short to settle or otherwise not be true to yourself.
“There is no real change without first engaging the emotions.”
– Attributed to Carl Jung
2) Other Resources
For those of you who frequently encounter stress, here is a Ted talk by psychologist Kelly McGonigal who share some rather unexpected research that indicates how you think about your stress may have a more important impact on you than the stress itself.
Here is a lovely video of Alan Watts on the habit of the mind to think and worry too much. And for those of you who want to actually reduce your gratuitous thinking, fussing, judging, worrying, analyzing next year, here is a link to UCLA’s mindfulness center and their collection of free meditations.
For those of you working on your relationships, here is an excellent article that summarizes some of the best practices to take your relationships to the next level.
Here are a few resources specifically for my coaching colleagues.
Needing More Clients?
If you are one of the thousands of coaches still trying to track down clients one at a time, and you want to get individualized, affordable and experienced support to develop a coaching business that suits your personality and attracts far more of your ideal clients – naturally, with high integrity – then you might want to check out this long-running, transformational program. Registration is now open and we are starting in January.
(Here is a new video that briefly describes the program.)
Needing More Mentoring Hours?
If you are applying or renewing your ACC or PCC credential with the International Coach Federation, and you need to accumulate 10 hours of working with a qualified Mentor, then you may be interested in this. Over the past year I have been contacted by many coaches attempting to accumulate more Mentor hours in an affordable way. This has motivated me to draft out a program that is a combination of small group calls and individual mentoring with me that meets existing ICF guidelines and shares deeper teaching on the core competencies drawing from; positive and developmental psychology, neuroscience, mindfulness, myth and the great spiritual traditions. If there is enough demand, I will complete the design and roll out the program early next year. So I you are interested please email me and I can tell you more.
For the newer coaches in the crowd, here is a free video I put together to help you create more value for your potential clients in your sample coaching sessions. Enjoy S.