By Angela D’Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web
Here we are once again moving rapidly to the end of another year. We are already planning and making preparations for all of the exciting events that are coming up in 2015. The beginning of anything is always exciting and endings can be slightly sentimental. The hardest part is sticking with our New Year’s resolutions and plans and managing to keep them going for a long as it takes.
What do you feel that you have accomplished with your business and personal life this year and where do you think you can make improvement? I think it is always a good idea especially over the holiday break to sit down and reflect on all that has happened, the highlights and the low moments, so that you can really look at everything objectively. It is good to be able to do this by yourself, but I also think it is very helpful to be able to talk things over with your spouse or significant other or even a good friend or business partner. There’s something good that happens when you can get someone else’s perspective. Sometimes when you look back and think that something has been a dismal failure someone can come in with a totally different perspective that makes you realize that occasionally good can definitely come out of disaster. I like to make lists and I find that if I see my thoughts written down it leaves a bigger impression on me.
I start by getting a big sheet of paper, (I still like to use real paper!) and I make two columns one for successes and one for anything that I feel didn’t go so well in the business, then I make two more columns for my personal life. I like to look back at all the plans I made for this year because it’s important to me to see what I managed to do with all of my plans so gallantly made at the beginning of the year. I try to look back at the year clearly week to week and month to month and write down in the two columns everything that I felt worked and all that I could have done better. The good news is that the good column is usually longer than the not so good one which in itself is a good morale booster. What I like to remind myself of is that it’s okay to make mistakes because that is how we improve and we are after all human beings and not robots and sometimes we are not perfect!!
When you are making your lists don’t forget to add the less important moments too because they are all important when you do your year-end assessment. Sometimes it is difficult to go day by day because I think my list would go around the block so I mainly go week to week. I carefully peruse my daily planner and that really helps to jog my memory.
Once I have made the lists it is time then to ask myself some frank questions. I first like to go to my success list to see how far I came with the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Quite often I surprise myself especially when I find that I have been able to progress further than my original projection.
Some questions I ask myself are:
1. Did I increase my bottom line?
2. Did I market successfully, what worked and what did not?
3. Did I increase my client base?
4. Did our staff and faculty have a positive year?
5. Did we do all the necessary repairs and do all necessary maintenance at the studio?
6. Did our students achieve their goals and have a great year?
These are a just a sampling of the questions that you might ask in reference to your business. Everyone will have their own ideas and questions.
Now for the personal side:
1. Did I reach the goals that I set for myself with my health?
2. Did I make sure that I devoted enough time to my home life?
3. Did I achieve a good balance between personal time and business time?
4. Did we put enough into our savings?
5. Did we take the time to have fun?
Again this is just a few of the questions I might ask myself. It is simply a fact finding mission. What I like to do is arrange a day to go out to lunch with my husband, Steve and he will also bring the answers to his questions. We have a lovely relaxed meal and go over all of the details and it always amazes us how much we get out of this yearly ritual. I got the idea some years ago when some good friends of mine told me that they always finished off the year by doing this and found that it really did tie up all the loose ends and put a close to the year. I thought it was a great idea and have been doing it ever since.
Steve and I also like to sit down with our staff and ask them to put their questions and ideas in and this really benefits us all because we are able to see where things went really well and where we need to make adjustments and we have a great lunch at the same time. It does us good to bask in our accomplishments and at the same time understand that we can make improvements that will benefit us all. It gives us a fresh outlook for the coming year and keeps us all on the same page. Take a few moments this holiday season to not only reflect back but also to look forward with hope and excitement.