As we get closer to a new year filled with exciting new opportunities, it is a great moment to reflect on the achievements, the challenges, and the enriching experiences that we gained through the last twelve months. Committing to the rollercoaster of life as a High Achiever means that every intentional step we take has an incredible impact, often in ways that we cannot foresee. This is why it is beneficial to take a moment to slow down and really dive deep into all of those experiences that added to who we are, made us wiser, and transformed us.
Join us in this article to discover the powerful framework that can help you capture your wisdom, starting this year and turning it into a collection of moments of brilliance over a lifetime.
The Significance of Moments of Reflection
Year on Review is a framework we teach to the amazing Founders, CEOs, and investors we work with within our Founder and CEO Executive Coaching Programs, and who have practiced it for more than a decade. The essence of Year on Review is looking back on our experiences during the last twelve months to deeply capture their value and their significance, and make this the foundation for planning our next year and beyond.
Year on Review divides our insights into different categories. In the first phase of the exercise, it is possible that you will capture the insights on a high level, and as you come back to them, you will be able to add more depth and complexity by reflecting on how they made you feel, what meaning they have to you, and how they fit in with your goals and values.
Your yearly insights can be elevated by simultaneously working on a second piece: a live working document, which we call “My Philosophy,” where you add content every year, capturing the lessons, the wisdom, the insights, the reminders, the things to look out for, and everything you learn along the way. As you create your Year on Review, you can add the things that stand out the most to your ”My Philosophy” document. Capturing these insights allows you to connect to your wisdom and to capture who you are over time.
Diving Into Year on Review
Sit down with a notebook and a pen in a beautiful, peaceful, relaxing environment. Select your favorite song that allows you to connect with your own depth, memories, and wisdom. Start writing down a minimum of five insights in the first category, and allow yourself to go as far as your memories take you. If you need reminders, please feel free to go back to your journal, calendar, or photo gallery.
Some of the categories might be easier than others, so it is important that you allow yourself to stay with the exercise and go a little deeper. Keep in mind that you will start uncovering things that connect to other categories, and you can always come back to them for a second round.
As you move into the next category, play a different piece of music. Repeat the process for all categories.
What is your highlight reel for the year? What did you achieve this year? How did you live in line with your values? What was the theme for the year?
Think back on your year and capture the events that stand out. Anything from the groundbreaking moments to the little moments of magic or connection. From general statements to specific periods connected to any area of your life, including professional, company life, personal life, and lifestyle design.
Take time to reflect on why these highlights capture your imagination, and if there is any hidden wisdom in them that you can bring with you into the following year.
What did you learn this year? What did you discover? What have you re-learned? Which challenges did you overcome, and what did you learn from them?
Think back on your year and capture the lessons you have learned along the way. It can be anything, big or small, light or profound. Explore the significance of each lesson and how you can act upon the insights moving forward.
What were the great little moments that brought a smile to your face? What were the moments of deep significance? What were the moments of sense of accomplishment? What were the events that stood out during the year?
Think back on your year and capture the positive, special moments you have experienced. Allow yourself to really deep-dive into your memories and relive those moments of significance, connection, joy, love, and achievement.
Building Up Your Year on Review
So far, we have explored our light version of the Year on Review. If you wish to go deeper, we invite you to add the following two categories.
What are you grateful for? Who do you deeply appreciate? What are the small things that bring you joy? What are the achievements that you cherish?
Think back on your year and capture the little and big things you are grateful for. These can be big or small, specific for the year or general in your life.
What are the pieces of wisdom you have gained during the year? What do you want to remember and act upon in the future? What is the wisdom you have gained in connection to achievement and performance? What are the significant concepts that you want to keep in the forefront moving forward?
Think back on your year and capture the pieces of wisdom you have gained along the way: the theories, insights, quotes, and philosophies that have made a mark in your path.
Enhancing Your Year on Review Experience
Now that we have covered the philosophy behind Year on Review and how to achieve meaningful reflection upon your past year, we wish to share some tips for enhancing your experience with this practice.
- Doing the exercise with pen and paper is important for a heightened sense of awareness and commitment to the ritual.
- There are multiple ways of managing the time you dedicate to this exercise. One way of doing it is by blocking several hours in one sitting. An alternative is to engage with the exercise for a half-hour for the first round, letting it sit, then coming back to it later for another round. Whether you do it in one go or in several sessions, this is qualitative Me Time, so setting aside a block of uninterrupted time is essential to engage with this practice deeply. Explore the six different types of time for Founders in this article.
- Designing your environment will elevate your experience and help you get more insight out of your reflections. It can be anything from choosing music that helps you reflect and make your surroundings beautiful and relaxing with cozy lighting to moving to a different location. If the weather is warm, a spot by the ocean can be the perfect place to engage with this exercise. For colder environments, a buzzing coffee shop or a crackling fireplace can make for an ideal scene.
The Gift of Self-Connection Over Time
The Year on Review can be done at any point during the year, but most prefer to do it during the last few weeks of the year. The yearly ritual can create a great foundation for the year ahead by giving us a chance to capture and reflect on aspects of the year that have made a mark and how we can elevate ourselves for the upcoming year. You might even be surprised by what’s captured in your Year on Review, which is something our clients often express when we do it together.
It also gives us a place to come back to and compare how we have grown and what we have learned from one year to another. For High Achievers, in particular, it’s easy to barely acknowledge how far we have come and move on to the next goal, so the Year on Review gives us an opportunity to spend quality time with ourselves and reconnect to what matters to us.
Life as a Founder can feel like driving a Formula One car while playing chess with ten different opponents simultaneously, whose only job is to focus on this one game. This environment doesn’t lend itself well for moments of quiet and deep contemplation, which makes it even more important to prioritize yearly rituals that allow you to reflect and take in the breathtaking view from the mountaintop you just climbed before starting your next adventure.
So, before you commit to the next thrilling goals and plans for the year ahead, we hope you give yourself the gift of moments of reflection.
Founder/Executive Coaching At a Glance
Have you ever wished to have Yoda by your side, helping you choose between the million paths ahead?
Have you ever wanted a co-founder to magically appear to help you make the hard decisions that keep you up all night? Have you ever wanted someone to do for you what you do for everyone else? Someone who sees your potential and has your back?
These are just some of the ways Therése has been described by her founder and C-level clients on the journey they have taken together, as she made sure they received the support they needed.
Therése has been empowering High Achieving individuals for over 19 years through her transformative change programs where everything is done with a purpose.
Each journey starts with a first step based on your dreams and goals.
So the question is, whom do you wish was on your side, as you make your way through your own hero’s journey?