Of endings and new beginnings
Creating annual reports and plans is important not just for organizations but also for individuals
It’s that time of the year again! The winter season signals the year-end and tells us that a new dawn is approaching. As I see it, this “change of year” symbolism is important for two reasons: One, it allows us to take stock of the year that has gone by and second it provides us with the hope of being able to start afresh and not get weighed down by the past.
This symbolism of closure and a new hope is well imbibed by organizations as most of them prepare their annual reports of the current year and create annual plans for the new year. As individuals, we can also undertake a similar exercise to chart our way forward. Listed below are the five key ingredients that form part of my annual transitioning exercise:
Say Thank You:
I feel it is important to look back and thank the people who helped you along the way. It is important to recognize that one’s success is to a large extent unfeasible without these people in our lives and we need to let them know that.
Our daily life is besieged by a vast and endless continuum of deadlines. Hence, we often miss out on the chance to pause and reflect on ourselves. Look back on the year gone by at the highs and the lows, the missed opportunities and the hard won battles. This exercise is important to learn more about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses and how we are perceived by others. It is also important that we look back at how we helped others, built relationships and gave back to the world. Before we can take on the world, we need to know ourselves. Ideally, introspection should be a more regular feature of our lives, spending some time alone with ourselves.
Our world is changing around us rapidly. What used to work till yesterday has been made redundant today by evolving needs and disruptive technology! The only way to remain ahead is to keep abreast of changes that are happening and this is where social communities like Twitter, Linkedin, Quora etc. help. As these ideas evolve, we need to educate ourselves, unlearn and relearn. Luckily, as the need to learn increases, the facility to learn has also become more reachable; communities of interest and MOOCs being two such avenues.
The rationality of our thoughts often weighs down our ability to dream. Use this opportunity to dream; imagine if you were unconstrained by realities of financial responsibilities, of family duties, of your existing job and role, what is it that really interests you? An ex-colleague of mine had an idea for creating a social community of artists. He worked on it for a few years alongside his work, till it gained enough traction for him to dedicate himself to that.
The first four steps all converge in this final step of planning. Quite a few of us stumble our way through life, undirected and unaware of our potential. Some ingredients that go into making a good plan include building a big dream with small practical steps. Prioritize to retain focus, and build visible milestones that prevent disenchantment on an ambitious goal which may take you through many troughs before you finally make summit. The plan should include a budget for investing in your own growth. We often expect our organizations to invest in our training but don’t realize we are the biggest shareholders in ourselves and should focus and invest in enhancing our skills.
Wish you all a very happy new year, may the year bring you new opportunities and challenges and may you find the inner strength in yourself to grow through them.