"It was a very good year . . ."

It's one of my favorite Frank Sinatra masterpieces:

But now the days grow short, I'm in the autumn of the year, And now I think of my life as vintage wine, From fine old kegs, From the brim to the dregs, And it poured sweet and clear, It was a very good year.

Today is Thanksgiving. It IS the autumn of the year. And I ask my clients and colleagues to look back over the past year and see what was the vintage wine (the stuff which worked) to the dregs (the stuff that didn't).

We're not all perfect — and in my case, far from it. :)

But it's a waste of a good year not to review your highs, your successes — your home runs:

  • What new clients, customers or projects did you get?
  • Who did you meet and befriend — who grew your business or prominence at work?
  • Where did you go? On purpose and by accident?
  • When did you do it? Did you plan and act or just bump into it?
  • Why did you do it? Were you assigned or asked by a client — and it took you out of your comfort zone?
  • How  did you do it? What were the steps which made it special?

But it's just as important to step back and look at some of your mistakes, your wrong turns, your plans which went awry:

  • What obstacle came out of nowhere and threw you for a loop?
  • Who was a waste of time to work with — who hurt you, your business, or career?
  • Where did you go where it took a lot of resources and didn't pay off?
  • When did it happen  — did it happen multiple times? When did you procrastinate or put things off?
  • Why did you do it? Were you pushed into it? Did you feel you HAD to do it? Obligation or just laziness?
  • How  did it affect your career or business? What were the short term and long term effects?

Some people might say "Forget about the past — focus on the present and the future."

From this perspective, I agree. But everyone has to take some time during the year and assess what got them there and ensure they repeat the successes and the actions which streamlined their progress.

And they need to understand the wrong turns and what impact they had on their progress. It's only then you DON'T make the same mistakes again.

In any event, take today and have a relaxing, restful, tasty and filling Thanksgiving.

You've earned it.