While many have been wishing you a Happy New Year, I would like to wish you a Happy Old Year. The Old Year will be great. The coming Old Year will provide so much for you. What we can expect from the Old Year will enrich our lives.
Why this focus on the Old Year? Because it may provide more for your advancement than the New Year. Who knows what is coming for 2012? No one. Who knows what happened in 2011? Everyone. By looking back and reviewing the old year, you can prep for the new one to come.
I am not the type to keep staring in the rearview mirror. I embrace the future and look forward to what might be coming over the horizon. But we cannot only look ahead. We must also look back so we reinforce the lessons we have been taught and gather the experience to build the future.
Let’s take a little trip looking back over the last year at some theoretical lessons you may have learned.
Did you land a new job or get a raise? Some may not have. Some may have been locked into their salary level due to lagging economic times. Some may have been locked out of the workforce due to reductions. Whether you advanced or not had an impact on you. You either learned to live with a little less or wisely used the wiggle room to recover or expand. Your choices have taught you lessons. The way you responded either proved you were resilient or challenged your resolve. If you responded positively, then you are prepared for 2012. If you had a little stumble, then you may have learned what might work better in the New Year. Either way, a lesson learned and you are stronger for it.
Did you learn new software or make some hardware changes? Take a little step forward out of your comfort zone in the embrace of technology? Good for you. You learned that it is not that hard to make certain changes while others are very hard. You learned that you and others can make strides forward and get the systems working. If you did not push forward, then you may have learned that waiting too long can cost you. Laggards are soon passed by. Not moving forward is actually slipping backwards. Maybe it was not your fault and the company refused to allow the progress to happen or could not afford it. Maybe you can learn from how you are able to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of older tools. That is a valuable talent.
Did you get some training? Those who took training in 2011 are poised to explode in 2012. Build on that newfound knowledge and press forward in the New Year. If you were unable to get formal training in 2011 it does not mean that you have to limit your expansion of job-related learning. In 2012 you could buy a book, surf the blogs, go to User Group meetings or embark on other learning adventures to lock in your value to your firm.
Did you have setbacks? Maybe you are glad 2011 is finally gone. Challenges in work and life may have derailed some of your plans. You can look for the small wins that occurred and be thankful for them. Then shake off the chains of the past and get cracking on what tomorrow might bring. Review what you had planned in 2011 and did not complete and see if it can be accomplished in the New Year or if it may be time to let go of that goal and replace it with another.
Looking back and building on what you did in the Old Year will make the New Year that much more exciting. Looking back and seeing that you may not have had much chance to expand in 2011 should energize you so you can focus on getting things done in 2012. Take some time to look at the past and then prep for the future.
Make the New Year one that will outshine the Old Year.