One of my lifelines in self-employment is my annual reflection. This time of reflection requires me to pause and answer important questions honestly. Not only do I use this time to reflect on what I’ve learned, but I celebrate what I’ve accomplished. I hold space to acknowledge my work and my worth. And I take the time to articulate my new learning. These nuggets of wisdom guide me in the new year, and have the power to bring comfort in the moment and over time. My top two lessons in 2020?
- Stillness is my superpower. When I give myself space to process, and permission not to be in motion, I am more insightful, present to those around me, and productive.
- I need community. My introverted self was secretly just fine with less activities, less social engagement, and fewer spontaneous run-ins in public. But persistently, and to my surprise, I found my weeks are better when I experience them in community with others.
If like me, you are just now getting around to reflecting on 2020, or you’ve never taken the time to do an annual reflection – it’s not too late. Below are a few of my favorite reflection questions. Give yourself the gift of the time, space and energy you need to do this well. Find a comfortable place to work, block out at least 90 minutes, and remove as many distractions as you can.
I recommend you get a notebook and write these questions down as you go. You can summarize later in a digital file, but the physical act of writing requires you to organize your thoughts in a way that sticks with you. As you reflect on these questions, take the time to really absorb and celebrate what you have accomplished and overcome. These insights are the foundation blocks to setting your intentions for the upcoming year.
Note: Not all of these questions will feel relevant to you. Give yourself permission to select and respond to only the ones that resonate – and leave the rest.
Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.
Go back through your calendar and write down the major moments, milestones and memories that happened each quarter both personally and professionally.
April – June
Success and Growth:
What am I most proud of personally and professionally?
What new skills or habits did I develop?
What were the biggest obstacles I overcame?
How am I different?
What goals didn’t I accomplish? What got in the way?
What do I wish I accomplished?
What activities supported or degraded my health?
When did I feel most alert and energetic?
When did I feel most tired and in pain?
What was the smartest decision I made in 2020?
What did I discover this year that I want more of in 2021?
What is the best mistake I made this year?
One thing I discovered about myself this year.
Six things: Name six things you are really proud of. Take a moment to identify the problem, the action, the result and the skills you used to achieve this result.
|Category||Value (1-10) 10 is highest/best|
|Mind & Body|
How do my body and mind feel?
How do I feel about the quality of relationships in my life?
How do I feel about my physical environment?
How do I feel about my financial situation?
How do I feel about work and my career trajectory?
Am I connected to something bigger and greater than myself?
How do I feel about my personal growth and intellectual stimulation?
How often do I spend time without purpose or do something I can lose track of time doing? How often do I experience joy?
How do I feel about my life when I look at my scores above?
Which 2-3 dimensions do I want to focus on in 2021?
My top lessons learned in 2020:
How I best perform:
Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves- their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.
Taking the time to answer these questions is the first step in gaining clarity of what you want more of (and less of) in the future. The next step is to get really clear on where you want to go, how you will know you’ve arrived, and how you will get there. If you want a guide to help you through the process, coaching might be right for you. To learn more, visit: https://juliebollconsulting.com/coaching/
Glenda McCarty says
I love this list of questions. Do you have it where I can download the questions in a document or pdf?
Julie Boll says
Great question! Check out my courageous leadership strategic planning guide here which includes these reflection questions: http://juliebollconsulting.com/coaching/