How have I measured up in 2018? Reflecting on the learnings of the year on the eve of the Winter Solstice

I read recently that as we reflect on the year that has passed that we best serve ourselves not by assessing where we are in terms of our achievements but by reflecting on what we’ve learned as we negotiate the complexities and challenges of work and life – so we can use those learnings to make changes in our behaviour, attitudes and approaches in the coming year.

So as we approach the Winter solstice, the meteorological turning point of the year when the days become gradually longer once more, I’ve started thinking about what I’ve learned this year, what I want to celebrate and also what thoughts, behaviours and experiences I want to let go of.

In no particular order here are a handful of things I’ve learned this year…

  • Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forwards – don’t let ego get in the way of what is right for you
  • “Seek first to understand” will serve you well in pretty much any challenging human interaction
  • If you want someone to behave a certain way with you – you have to go there first
  • Kind self-talk is far more motivating than listening to the voice of the inner critic
  • If you appreciate or admire someone – tell them now – they won’t hear their eulogy…

So I’m wondering what you have learned this year, what you are celebrating and what you would like to release?

The Winter Solstice is a fitting time to pause and carry out a short celebration and release ritual – all you’ll need is a couple of pieces of paper and a pen, a candle, some matches and an open mind.

Here’s how it works:

Reflecting on the year – on one piece of paper write down all the things you want to celebrate as you look back on the year – think about the things that you want to acknowledge yourself for, as well as what you’ve learned.

Then put that piece of paper in an envelope and tuck it away somewhere for safe keeping.

On another piece of paper, write down all the things that you want to release from the year that has passed. Include any emotions, experiences and fears that you want to let go of – if it pops into your head and you want to release it, write it down.

Now (in a safe place!) set fire to this piece of paper and watch as those things are released to the air.

Next – hold gently in your mind your highest dream or hope for the coming year. What would you like to do differently? What is the quality that you most want embody?

With this thought in your mind – light a candle. Take a moment to take in the glow and beauty of the flame and to contemplate what you want for the year ahead. Then blow out the candle – sending your energy and wish out towards the coming year…

Wishing you a peaceful festive season

May the sun shine on you and yours in 2019.


Boldly-Go Leadership