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Self-reflection Time

The Year-end Review Can Move You Forward

As we approach the end of the year, do you find yourself looking back with regret or with a sense of accomplishment? Does this review spur you onto new discoveries and endeavors, or does it have you wallowing in a pit of despair?

As we look back, the last two years have been pretty trying for all of us, especially here in the United States. We of course have had to deal with all the effects of the COVID pandemic. We’ve had political, social, and religious unrest, leading to rioting and the cancel culture. It has been a tough year or two. Through it all, we the people, are just looking to make a living, take care of our families, and pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Despite all of this, how and why should we evaluate the past year? If we follow a good year-end review process, we can find accomplishments that can inspire us to move forward with renewed energy and sense of purpose. We can also find lessons that will better prepare us for the future. Here are three steps to help us do that:

First, we need to do a critical self-examination. What values do you hold to be important? (e.g., integrity, forgiveness, hope, unity, etc.) How did those values impact your beliefs about the world, your community, and your work? How did your values and beliefs drive your behavior, and then the results you were looking for? If you suffered some hardships, were there things you could have done differently so as not to suffer? Or was there a purpose behind the hardships? No one likes hardship and suffering, but perhaps you were meant to learn something from them to improve your future or to help others in a similar situation. Try to capture the meaning in all you went through this past year, from a personal perspective.

Next, we need to evaluate the experiences we had. You no doubt had a lot of experiences this year, and while they say experience is the best teacher, it really is evaluated experience that is the best teacher. In other words, capture the lessons learned from each of your most valued experiences. These lessons can come from work experiences, family experiences, community or individual experiences. If you tried something new and different this year, perhaps completely out of character for you, what did you learn? Is there something that could be applied to new experiences next year? Learned lessons are critical to your growth and improvement.

Lastly, we need to apply what we’ve learned to add value to others. [unity, greater good] As people of faith, Pam and I believe we were put here to be in community with others, to not go it alone in this world. We believe our experiences and learned lessons are meant to not just benefit ourselves, but to also benefit others, for the “greater good.” People should be unified in the respect and dignity shown to our fellow man and woman. Thus, this least step is to take what I have learned this year and bring it to others so that they might benefit from my experiences. Perhaps that will help some to not suffer hardships and will help others to experience accomplishment and success. What about you? What have you learned that you can share with others that they might grow?

Our hope is that you will look at yourself and how the last year went for you, and whether good or not as good as you liked, prepare for a great year next year. Learn from your experiences. Envision the accomplishments and growth and impact you will have on others.

Lead On! And make it great!

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