Hard to believe we just turned the corner into a brand new year.
And even though we complain about how fast time goes, we still couldn’t wait to get here. Right?
We lean forward, trying hard to see around the curve, wondering what’s ahead. Hoping for good things. Crossing our fingers. Saying our prayers.
Perhaps last year was great for you, even if you didn’t do half of what you planned. You’re still excited about where you’re heading, and ready for a fresh start.
Perhaps it was a hard year, and you’re more than ready to tell it goodbye (and good riddance!) for all kinds of perfectly good reasons.
Either way, we’ve just started another trip around the sun.
But there’s one last thing to do before we turn our gaze from what has been, and step fully into What’s Next.
We need to take a delicious moment to appreciate.
And sure, that can mean all the things you usually think of.
It can mean appreciating the good things in our lives – family and friends, our health, our ability to earn a living, the roof over our heads.
It means appreciating the sun that is finally out as I’m writing this – after what feels like 40 days and nights of rain. Argh.
For some of you, heck, it may mean appreciating that you’re still in the game, no matter how hard the road or how long the journey.
But I want you to do more than that.
I want you to appreciate you.
Many of you are way too hard on yourselves; all you think about is what you didn’t do, where you fell short, what went wrong or what you haven’t accomplished.
And most entrepreneurs I know are naturally restless spirits. We’re always thinking about what’s next, what we can create, where we can go with our lives and our businesses.
And we constantly criticize ourselves for all the goals we haven’t reached yet.
Last year was the year you were going to run the half marathon, but you didn’t.
Or you were going to get that first book published, but you didn’t.
Or maybe you were going to break six figures…but you didn’t do that, either.
Yeah. I know.
And yet – you did do so much.
Way more than you realize. Even if, right this second, you can’t think of a single thing.
So maybe I can help. :)
Try this little exercise.
Get out a notebook, or your favorite journal. Grab a pen you love, a fresh cup of coffee or tea, and plant yourself in your favorite nook. Leave your phone in another room with the ringer off (do this!), and ask your family to leave you alone for a while.
Allow your mind to wander over the past year, and all that happened.
Some of it was really hard – sad, scary, exhausting even. If you need to cry a little, cry. It’s okay.
And some of it was incredibly awesome – fun, fascinating, surprising even. If that makes you grin a little, grin. No one’s watching. That’s okay, too.
There were moments when you weren’t sure you were going to make it through the day. And there were moments when you couldn’t believe how good life could be.
Now, look over the questions below. Answer them all, or use them as prompts to journal wherever your thoughts take you.
Take a moment to notice any feelings that come up, too.
Ready? Here we go.
1. What’s one place you went that you’d never been to before?
It could be anywhere from Bali to a new restaurant or an unexplored back road in your own county. I went to San Diego for the first time in my life, and paddled with sea lions. So cool.
2. What’s one thing you tried last year that you’ve never tried before?
A new recipe? A new software? Or maybe something bigger like an art class, or over the top like jumping out of a plane. (!) I did my first webinar – which was a total bomb! I don’t care! I did it!
3. What’s one thing you’ve said that you couldn’t have said before?
Did you speak up when no one else would? Maybe you asked for help – finally. I started saying no – and I intend to get better at it.
4. What’s one thing you learned that you never understood before?
Did you read a book that gave you a new perspective? Did you hear a talk or attend a class? Perhaps a life experience brought you new wisdom or insight…
5. What steps did you take that you couldn’t have taken before?
Did you give a talk? Offer a new program? Get your first client? Write your first blog post?
6. What blessing did you see that you would have missed before?
A special gift from a friend? A compliment from a client? A kindness from a stranger? An unexpected check in the mail?
7. What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before?
That you can really can do this? How have you surprised yourself?
8. Where have you gained clarity when you were foggy before?
As you learn about yourself, what you love, what you have to offer, that fog starts to lift. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting clear on what you don’t want.
9. Where did you find courage where you’d hesitated before?
Hurdles you overcame? Hard days you got through? And what strengths did you discover that you never knew you had?
10. Where did you build confidence when you’d struggled before?
A year ago, you never knew you could do this, and here you are, doing it just fine. What is that?
As you reflect on all you tried, accomplished and learned, take a moment to soak it all in. And as you turn around, ready to step fully into this year, allow yourself to feel just a little bit proud.
You got through it, didn’t you?
You’ve done way more than you realized, haven’t you?
No matter what. In spite of everything. Life is good.
And you’ve done well.
Appreciate the awesome human being that you are.