“Success in any endeavor does not happen by accident. Rather, it’s the result of deliberate decisions, conscious effort, and immense persistence…all directed at specific goals”. – Gary Ryan
Yes, I know, we are still in the midst of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to want to go away, lots of people are fed up and burnt out, and I’m sure the last thing that you might want is someone telling you that you have the power to plan a year of “awesomeness” for 2022.
“Awesome” probably feels like a very far pendulum swing from how 2021 felt. I can hear your inner critic mumble about how “ludicrous” it is to think you have any power or how there is a “fat chance of anything you plan working out” or some similar non-motivating statement that will keep you on the couch in front of the TV coasting channels searching for a blissful escape.
However, here I am, telling you just that – you do have the power to audaciously plan a year of awesomeness, and whatever the year and life may throw at you, you can choose how you respond to it.
You don’t have to choose to be fed-up and burnt-out, and you can choose to get up and do something about it. If your inner critic is still whining, you might want to go back and read “The Power of You”, and then tell it to pipe down as you aren’t paying it any more attention (and maybe that should also be an intention for 2022).
The bottom line is – who would you like to be and how would you like to feel in 2022?
If you took action on your 2021 retrospective as I outlined in my last newsletter then you are off to a roaring start. If you missed that, or didn’t feel like taking action back “last year”, then take a few minutes to pause reading this newsletter, hop over to the 2021 Retrospective and take 20 minutes to do a quick retrospective. It will help you move into planning this year, I promise.
Step 1 – Brainstorming
Similar to the 2021 retrospective, we will start with some questions to get your creative juices flowing. Grab your notepad and work through the following questions. To get your brain flowing through your pen, start by writing the question and free-flowing whatever comes to mind. Write rather than type as that helps your brain unleash what you really are thinking.
As you work through the questions below, jot down your answers. Make note of the first thought that comes to mind – don’t overthink or analyze it.
Don’t try to separate personal and professional – you are you, both at work and at home and it’s all intertwined, so just let it all flow.
Answer each question before moving on to the next (if you feel blocked, write out the question to get going):
- Who do you want to be in 2022?
- How do you want to feel?
- What is working well that you want to continue?
- What do you need to start or prioritize?
- At the end of the year, what will you be celebrating?
- What do you need to let go of to make that happen?
- What do you want your impact to be (think about yourself, your family, community and professionally)
- What is standing in your way?
- What do you need to prioritize daily to stay energized (you might want to refer back to 2021 retrospective questions on what energizes vs drains you)
- What daily habits will help you move forward?
Read back through your responses. What jumps out at you? What surprised you?
Step 2 – Skills assessment
Next step is to assess where you are currently, so that you can develop your professional development plan. Yes, I realize this might sound a wee bit tedious and not as much fun as the last step, however if you are a bit fuzzy on your starting point, how can you ever get to your destination? Believe me, you are worth the short investment of your time on this.
To make it easy for you, I’m giving away a Power Skills Assessment sheet I developed for a keynote that I did last year for New Jersey’s Project Management Institute Career Conference. You can download it here, or if you are a member of the Solas Leadership community, you can download it from there.
Start with the Assessment tab. Again, don’t overthink it. Jot down the first ideas that come into your head – those are usually the best ones. And keep this document handy as you will want to keep updating it “live” as the year progresses.
Step 3 – Outline your goals and action plan
Nearly there. Based on the key areas for development that you prioritized on the assessment tab, outline your goals and plan in the goals tab.
Notice what makes you uncomfortable. This is where your primary opportunity for growth lies. As Ryan Holiday so aptly put it in his book title (which is a great read by the way): “The Obstacle Is The Way”.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” – Ryan Holiday
Make note of what you need to be aware of on sticky notes and place them on your desk or wall so you can see them daily. If you are aware of the behaviors you’d like to change, it makes it easier to notice those behaviors, and then choose another response in the moment as it occurs. (If you miss the opportunity, don’t beat yourself up, just try again next time).
Think about who might help you develop these skills, and who might you be able to help to develop their skills?
“We teach best what we most need to learn” – Richard Bach.
Step 4 – Book time in your calendar
Fantastic work – you did it – you have a plan!!
The next step keeps you accountable. I know you closed your email and removed all distractions when you started reading this article, so open your calendar and let’s block out some time daily so you can stay focused on being who you want to be in 2022, rather than letting each day and week slip away in a tide of busyness.
Personally, I like to bookend my days with a short 5-10 minute pre- and post- day planning. In my morning session, I jot down my top priority for the day, and then I try to get that done early in the day while I’m fresh. At the end of the day, I make note of where I ended and review my plan for the next day. This then allows me to wrap up my workday and walk away without keeping work stuff rolling around in my head. I make sure to end my day on Friday with this exercise for the week as this allows me to head into the weekend with a clear head focused on non-work activities.
To supercharge your accountability, check out my blog on OKRs and outline your professional development plan as OKRs by month or quarter. There is no stopping you now!
Step 5 – Your word of the year
Finally, to the easiest step. Now that you’ve gotten through all the brainstorming and planning, think about one word that might be a great reminder of your plan for this year. Think about the “new you” or who you will be in 2022. What word jumps out at you?
Put it on a sticky note and on your wall where you can see it daily.
My word for 2022 is “Joy”. My neighbor gave me a copy of “Untethered Soul” at Christmas, and 2 tips jumped out at me: “choose happy” and “choose not to suffer”. That seems like good advice to end on.
“In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you’re going to be here, be happy and enjoy the experience.”
― Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
I wish you a very Happy New Year!
Keep in touch and let me know how the new year turns out for the “new you”!