This is going to be an important series!
Get ready for four articles, showing you how to set strategy and build accountability in 2023.
This exercise might be the most important thing you do all year.
Here's how we'll roll downhill gathering momentum:
Whew! This is going to be personal.
OK, let's get to content.
Here's why the annual review process is important.
I consider this the most important activity I do each year.
There's a super interesting mental heuristic called The End Of History Illusion.
It basically says we don't think we'll change much going forward, but we actually change a lot.
The above link is for the actual paper, but here's a broader overview.
From our all-knowing friends at Wikipedia:
"Quoidbach, Gibert, and Wilson concluded based on this evidence that not only do people underestimate how much they will change in the future, but in doing so jeopardize their optimal decision making."
Let that sink in.
Especially "jeopardize their optimal decision making."
My take: if we don't take control of the direction we're changing, we'll change in the wrong direction.
That's your Why.
Here's your How.
Here are the sections of a killer annual review, with what to focus on for each.
You want to start with a few paragraphs on the year. The highs. The lows.
This is 100% reflective–nothing future focused yet.
It's mostly emotion.
Action: Take 5 minutes and start this now.
A scrap paper, Word Doc or Apple Note is fine. Just write.
What are you happy about from last year? Unhappy about?
Don't overthink it, just write. Your subconcious will guide you.
5 or 10 minutes of reflection is fine. Maybe 10 or 12 sentences.
This step forces you to pop up a level, seeing the year in one view.
It gets you out of the minutae task you were doing when you opened this email.
(But that espresso sure does taste good, doesn't it?)
This gets things rolling. Easy, right?
But buckle up.
Things get provacative in the next section...
Here, you'll score yourself in all domains in life.
I score myself school style, A, B, C, D or F adding the occiasonal + or - on the end for flair.
For life domains, I use the following six I learned in my good friend Shawn Blanc's The Focus Course.
These six areas have worked great for me but tweak if you want.
Since they're comprehensive, I always have some high and low grades, with my lowest grade ever coming in one area this year.
I gave myself a D.
That got my attention!
I'm competitive and don't like anything but an A. OK, really I don't like anything but an A+.
More on that damn D next week when I share my personal review.
Action: Give yourself a grade in each area above. This is about brutal honesty so write whatever score comes to mind about each section. Don't sugarcoat it.
You can give yourself the grades in about 5 minutes. Add a few sentences of color describing your grade if you want.
Sometimes I'll do a complete analysis of an area. My 2022 D grade motivated me to dig deep into why it happened what I needed to change in 2023.
Funny how the deeper analysis is usually connected with lower grades.
Feeling those lows is good because...
You can create future highs from past lows.
With that behind you, the next section will translate your past into the future...
NEXT YEAR'S LEADING INDICATORS
In this section, you'll translate your strategy into metrics.
This takes some 'splaining, so I'll show you how to do this in two weeks.
For now, just know one thing.
To be successful at BD, you have to measure yourself.
Notice I didn't mince words.
You have to.
That's because every other force in your world is against your long term success.
And BD activities are looooong term.
Short term headwinds against your long term success: Answering email. Delivery work. Internal committees. Recuiting. Performance reviews. Facebook.
There are countless more.
Everything else is screaming at you, distracting you.
Setting measures–specifically actions you can control–will set you up for success.
Don't do anything now on this. I'll set you up for success in two weeks, showing you my 2022 results and 2023 scorecard in detail. Numbers!
Now we're starting to finish up with the second to last section...
SUMMARY: NEXT UP FOR EACH CATEGORY
Here you'll start to synthesize and wrap up.
In this section, you'll recap the #1 thing you'll focus on in each domain: Spirituality, Physical, Relationships, Rest and Recreation, Vocation and Economics.
This is what you'll want to remember every week.
I'll show you how to do this in the coming articles, so don't worry about any specific action.
And then your last section will be...
This is a short few sentences that looks forward with excitement. It's important to wrap things up and look ahead, capturing the excitement of a new year, your rebirth.
Again, you'll see my example next week!
Let's close out this first of four articles.
Doing this annual process will let you recap your last year and set priorities for the next.
It will focus you on the most important things.
And keep you accountable all year long.
Long term goals and short term progress.
Week over week.
When you combine those things.
You can accomplish anything.
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