Ah, it is this time of the year again… Time to slow down, take inventory, and set the direction for the year to come. Perhaps you enjoy the feeling of being able to close a chapter of your book and have a fresh new start on a blank page as much as I do.
- How has last year been for you?
- What have you learned? About yourself, your loved ones, about life in general?
- How can you leverage this wisdom in the year ahead?
- And what are you grateful for?
For me, my father’s passing in August this year stood out. Despite the terrifying experience, I am grateful my wife and I could make it ’in time’ to Germany. I am grateful for the support we encountered during this time, grateful for good memories, and particularly grateful for everything my parents did for me.
Life is short, indeed. Do what you want and must do now, before it’s too late.
On the professional side, as a small business owner, I have always been cautious about expenses. However, my ambition is to be the best coach I can be. And so, this year, I invested a lot of time, energy, and money in advanced coaching education. I am particularly fond of having attended the ‘Science of the Art of Coaching’ with Paul Brown in Hongkong, and the ‘Professional Certificate of Advanced Study in Coaching Supervision’ with Tatiana Bachkirova and Peter Jackson at Oxford Brookes University.
The investment paid back, and I am grateful not only for the excellent learning experience but moreover for the new connections I have made with wonderful people from all over the world.
I enjoyed returning to the classroom as a student very much. And I have also taken on the challenge of switching sides: I happily accepted the invitation to teach as Adjunct Professor for Leadership in the Executive MBA program at Institute for Management in Salzburg, Austria. (Thanks for the little extra ‘push’ Paul Brown, Wim van Dorssen, and Jeff Cohen.) I learned that preparing for teaching is a highly enriching learning experience as well. And so, a few more pieces of the leadership puzzle fell just right into place.
- What really matters to you? And I mean what really matters to you, not what others want you to matter to you.
- How have you spent your time and energy last year?
- What percentage of time and energy have you spent on what really matters to you?
- Is this ratio satisfying? If not, what will you do differently next year?
Lucky me: since I started following my passion by entering into full-time executive coaching in 2010, my quality of life has improved significantly. My wife says she can see that I am nowadays much happier than during my corporate times. The reason is that what I do now and how I spent my time is so much more aligned with what really matters to me. The soul-searching that I did when I started my coaching journey has helped a lot.
To live a fulfilling life, you need to be clear on your priorities in the first place. So if you don’t have this clarity, yet, do your soul-searching now.
What needs to change so that the year ahead will be (even) better? More precisely: what do you need to change?
For me, apart from my father’s death, I’m very satisfied with how last year turned out. Not much that needs to change.
My focus for the last ten years has not changed, which is balancing five essential parts of my life:
- continue to find fulfillment by helping executives become even better leaders, thus making this world a little better every day
- continue to learn and grow, and get better at what I do
- grow my business
- stay healthy
- grow existing relationships and build new ones
The only change I want to make is to reduce the time spent on learning and instead focus more on the development of my business. I know, this is easier said than done: as a friend and teacher told me, I am professionally driven, not commercially driven. I take a lot of joy in learning (alas, how many books haveI bought this year that I will never be able to finish…), and putting myself out there selling myself is not ‘my thing.’ — So, hey, if you know someone who can do the business development for me, let me know, and I will be happy to get back to studying 😉
I hope this short article gives you some ideas to ponder, and I wish you all the best for the New Year. May you be well.