We just ended what many of us would describe as our worst year ever. In so many ways, our world was turned upside down. Every area of our lives has been impacted by COVID-19. For months, many of us have been saying, “I can hardly wait for this year to end.” But just ending the year on December 31 doesn’t really wipe everything away—unless we do something differently. Otherwise January 1, the rest of January, and all of 2021 could mirror 2020.
Here’s how to do it differently. As we end the year and begin a new one, I’d like to challenge each of you to spend some time reflecting. Where are you? Where do you want to be a year from now? Imagine it is December 31, 2021. You are really there. Another year has passed— both personally and professionally.
Now take a moment to find a piece of paper and write down your answers to the following:
1. List two professional highlights from all of 2021. Describe them as specifically as possible.
2. List two personal highlights from 2021. Again, describe them as specifically as possible.
3. What do you look like and feel like? Describe your appearance and health. Remember, you can envision your state of being however you want, but be sure to describe yourself in the present tense. This is you on December 31, 2021.
4. Now do the same thing for your family life, your social life, and your spiritual life. Where are you in each of these areas?
As you ponder these queries, remember that anything is possible. We are not taking today and projecting it forward 12 months. We are walking forward 12 months and saying, “Here is what I want to be true!”
Here are some quotes I have encountered over the years that I find helpful when engaged in such visioning and goal-setting processes:
“Writing crystallizes thought, and thought produces action. Don’t just think it—ink it!”
“He is no fool who gives up what he can never keep to gain that which he can never lose.”
“Across the fields from yesterday he sometimes comes to me. He’s the little lad with the great big smile. He’s the boy I used to be. And sometimes when he’s crept upon my knee and his thoughts have crept within, I wonder if he hopes to see the man I could have been.”
It’s All In the State of Mind
If you think you are beaten, you are, If you think that you dare not, you don’t, If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t, It’s almost certain you won’t. If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out in the world you’ll find Success begins with a fellow’s will— It’s all in the state of mind.
Full many a race is lost ere even a step is run, And many a coward falls ere even his work’s begun, Think big, and your deeds will grow; Think small, and you’ll fall behind; Think that you can, and you will— It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out-classed, you are; You’ve got to think high to rise; You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You ever can win a prize, Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man; But soon or late the man who wins Is the man who thinks he can.
—Walter D. Wintle (1905)
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass again.”
—Steven Grellet (a French-born Quaker who died in 1855)
So here’s to 2021. Mine is going to be very different than 2020. Not because I think circumstances will change that dramatically—but because of the choices I have made.
So, until next time—add value and make a difference.
Bob Pike, CSP, CPLP FELLOW, CPAE-Speakers Hall of Fame, is known as the “trainer’s trainer.” He is the author of more than 30 books, including “Creative Training Techniques Handbook” and his newest book, “The Expert’s Guide to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to Training.” You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook using bobpikectt.