I love the start of a new year. I get excited thinking about all the possibilities it will bring and wonder what opportunities await. Of course it is easier to get excited about the future when you are happy with what transpired in the past. But allow me to challenge your thinking for a moment because fantastic years do not always translate into fantastic futures, just as miserable years do not mean a future of failures. To the contrary, it is often your worst years, and your biggest challenges, that move you to the future you were meant to live. If 2015 was a year you’d rather forget, use the following questions to identify your losses, learn from your mistakes, and turn your worst moment into your best year yet!
1. What Was Your Worst Moment in 2015?
For me, 2015 was a great year. I wrote a new book, The Results Map for Women in Biz, had the opportunity to coach and witness the rise of numerous entrepreneurs, and exuberantly launched my new program, The Results Map Experience. But not every year in my journey was like 2015. In fact during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 I faced a terrifying reality, we might lose everything I had worked so hard for. Even though things ended up ok in the end I carried the difficulty of those years around with me like a sack of rocks on my shoulders. Before you can set yourself free from your baggage, you have to first identify what it is, head on. Think deeply about your worst moments in 2015 and identify the one that hurts the most.
2. What Did You Learn From It?
Whether you know it or not, your past experiences impact who you are today. When I started my business, years after the initial sting of 2008 and 2009 had faded, I realized that I, like so many entrepreneurs, carried the fearful, reactionary, helpless baggage that comes when the money runs out, the resources grow scarce, and the clients disappear. I was almost paralyzed by the possibility of financial failure and my husband gave me an ultimatum – either go all in, or get out. My friends, do not let your fear overcome your belief. You started your business for a reason. Take the baggage of the past off your back, wrap your arms around it, and use it to strengthen your muscles rather than weigh you down. The first step is to think objectively about what you experienced and what lessons you can take from it. The greatest successes in our history were often preceded by great failures. Use yours to make you better.
3. How Can You Leverage It In Your Future?
Success is best forged by fire. You cannot become strong if you never have challenges to overcome. You cannot truly appreciate what you have accomplished unless you have experienced the pain of failure. And if you want to be wildly successful, you have to harness the lessons learned from the most difficult moments in your life to produce a greater future. I have spoken to countless rockstar entrepreneurs who all share the same basic experience in their stories, they were at their lowest point before things got great. It is what they did with those moments of pain, difficulty and failure that positioned them where they are today – as successful, amazing, inspiring business men and women. So when you look at your past, and identify those burdensome stones you have added to your pack, think about how you might use them to make a greater future. Do you have a better understanding of a segment of your client base as a result of your experiences? Do you see a need for a voice of change in your community or in the world? Have you found you can overcome things you never thought were possible and that you can use that strength to help or support others? Take some time to reflect on the positive implications that can come from the greatest challenges in your life and write down all the ways you can use what you learned to make a better future. For help with this, download the worksheet from chapter 3 of The Results Map for Women in Biz.
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