Reflect & React Part I: I Want To See You Be Brave
Note: This is the first part of a three part blog series regarding preparing for 2017.
Another year is in the books. What did your 2016 chapter look like? What did you accomplish in your professional and personal life this year? What are you most proud of and why? Who did you welcome into your life and how have they impacted you? What was your biggest failure this year? Why did you fail? Are you still pursuing it? Why or why not?
While most people are focusing on what they want to accomplish in 2017, I am taking a step back to reflect on 2016 answering questions like those above. (The third part of this post will focus on how I am using my reflection from 2016 to shape my goals and plans for 2017.) Reflection is a powerful tool, and while a lot of us do it subconsciously, taking the time to sit, think, and write without being interrupted is pivotal. Writing down lessons learned, things accomplished, motivations uncovered, and dreams desired are important steps to personal and professional development. As the saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” If your past was perfect by your definition, then carry on… but for the rest of us, take some time over the next few days to consider how your 2016 and even prior years can impact your 2017.
I have spent a good chunk of the last week thinking about my 2016 as well as using different resources to prepare for 2017. I love podcasts, and I recently started listening to #AskGaryVee hosted by Gary Vaynerchuk. My first introduction to Mr. Vaynerchuk was from a case we were assigned in one of my MBA classes that discussed how he grew his parent’s wine business into a million dollar company by taking it online and creating winelibrary.com. Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and a digital marketing genius that in 1996 correctly predicted that the Internet was about to change the way we do business. He has made millions of dollars by investing early on in Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and other companies. In the podcast I listened to this week, Gary said the number one characteristic he would give people to enable them to be successful is self-awareness.
How do you achieve self-awareness? Self-awareness is something we all have the ability to realize through reflection. What prevents us from taking time do reflect? While some people may use lack of time as an excuse, I would argue that when it comes to things we really care about and matter to us, we make time. So, if you care about yourself, but still do not make time to reflect, Gary would argue the reason is fear.
Is the fear of uncovering your strengths, weaknesses, passions, dreams, dislikes, etc. greater than the fear of maintaining your status quo? If not, then start NOW! Self-awareness is a journey that includes taking the good with the bad. If it is, then I dare you to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are completely, 100%, without a doubt, happy with where you are in your life, who you are as a person, what you accomplished this year, and what you will accomplish next year.
It isn't easy; things that are worth it rarely are. But it can be life changing. As Princess Merida (Who I love because she is unconventional, Scottish, sporty, knows what she wants and a complete badass with a bow. Plus, there is no rule that says an inspiring female has to be a "real" person. ) from the movie Brave says:
There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.
Be brave to be the best you in 2017 and beyond.