Here’s a tool I didn’t even realize that I use. I’m not giving it a fancy acronym, because I feel like that would diminish the usefulness of this simple list of necessary questions:
Every fall I begin the process of assessing how I’ve done throughout the year and by the time the holiday’s roll around I have a pretty clear idea of exactly what I’ve accomplished. How about you?
Did you achieve your goals?
Did you exceed your goals?
How much money did you make?
How much did you make compared to last year?
Which of your income streams were strongest?
What unpaid projects proved the most fruitful?
Which unpaid projects helped your career grow?
And how much money do you hope to make next year?
Professionally speaking, how much time do you have to give, and where will you give it?
I don’t go through a rigid or formal planning process even though everyone says you should. Once I’ve assessed how I’ve done in the recent past, I find it fairly easy to tune in to my instincts and trust the direction that they point me instead of being overly mental or intellectual about what I’m going to plan next. How about you?
Which past successes can you build on?
Can you get and review feedback from those you serve?
Can you informally poll or bounce some ideas off of some trusted colleagues?
Who do you want to partner with in the coming year?
Into what specific projects will you invest the lion’s share of your energy?
Once I have looked at last year and thought about what to do next, I am ready to begin to envision next year. I realize that some people have five year and ten year goals, but I tend to keep those flexible rather adhere strictly to a plan that will probably end up altered anyway. I know where I’m going, but next year first.
And now I’m ready to celebrate my past accomplishments. Not just last year but the whole ride. How about you?
Who can you thank for their assistance?
What will you do to thank yourself?
How will you celebrate privately?
How can you create an annual celebration with others?
I work hard all year. It doesn’t do anyone else any good for me to pretend that a writing career isn’t hard work. It’s incredibly important to work hard and consistently over not just months but years! And it’s also important to celebrate. This year, I’m not just celebrating my accomplishments, but the accomplishments of my friends. My book publication, their book publications or deals, and our shared success.
It’s a lot to celebrate. But I am definitely up to the task!
How about you?
And stay tuned, I’ll be announcing some big success stories between now and the end of the year.