Every conversation I have had in the month of January, I started it with, “Happy new year, happy new decade! Think back to 2010 – the last turn of the decade. Where were you? What were you doing? It’s likely you can remember the city you lived in, the company you were with, and the role you had. You might remember something particular about a relationship, the age of your children, or perhaps a major milestone. But I want you to think about your mental state: where you were inside your head. Were you thinking of the coming decade and what you wanted to learn or how you wanted to grow? Did you celebrate any of that good stuff you had along the way: your achievements, milestones, etc.
In a recent conversation with 4 Signature Program alumni, as I walked through this questioning, one commented, “You made me stop and reflect. The last decade was so intense and full, that it flew by. I’m not sure I stopped to think about those achievements, let alone celebrate them. Do you have any counsel for how we do that better for the next decade?”
Here are my top 3 recommendations to incorporate so you aren’t asking this same question in 2030!
#1. Take a page from Bill Gates. Every year, he carves out a full week called “Think Week”. I find that almost impossible for me, and I believe I should not wait a year to do it all at once. So, I subscribe to “Think Day”. Slot one of these into your schedule once a quarter (once every other month if you can). My guidance is not to use this one day as a way to think about the business strategy or plans for your role. Take this day and get out of the office. Use Think Day to explore “what you want to become”. Be sure no one else has access to you during this day and find a place that helps you be creative. Let part of the day be a way for you to learn something new: watch a documentary, visit a museum, read blogs, or scroll through YouTube. You are likely to spark something unexpected.
#2. On the last day of the month, do an inventory of the month. I suggest you use these 4 questions to create your inventory: 1) Where have you grown? 2) What new thing have you learned? (It may be something that surprised you.) 3) Who made a difference for me in my life/work this month? 4) Who did I help – really, truly help – in their life/work? Do this with your family too! Have them fill out the 4 questions and share them.
#3 Once you have inventoried, lock in some celebration time. Do something for yourself for the area you have grown. Celebrate with your team – now. Don’t wait for the big company meeting to do a team breakout or take them to dinner. Celebrations should be consistent and frequent. Make them fun. Laugh. You are likely to have an impact on the team dynamics by building in regular celebrations, and your people will feel valued. Do this with your family too!
Finally, make sure you give gifts of gratitude to others. As you list who made a difference in your life/work, take a moment to send an email, make a phone call, or write a thank you card to tell them so! One of our Signature graduates bought a box of Thank You cards and proceeded to send one handwritten card every other week to people who had made a big impact on her life. She felt great taking that time too!
Be purposeful and celebrate your wins, and you will have fun looking back on these next 10 years.