As you look at the time between now and the end of the year, you have a unique opportunity, available to you only once per year. You can take the time during what remains of December to look back before you launch forward into 2018!
Reflection is Good for the Soul
So many professionals get wrapped up in the ongoing pursuit for “success,” whatever that means to you. Generally, you compare yourselves to others’ and wonder why you weren’t able to achieve the success they did. Don’t despair. Rather, think about taking the time between now and the end of the year to reflect on your practice, your overall satisfaction, and your dreams and goals for 2018. Generally, it is a calmer time of the year (unless you’re a CPA caught up in year-end deadlines). Many clients are taking time off over the holidays to spend time with their families. I know you value this time too, but it’s important to set the tone for next year. It’s analogous to finding time at the end of your busy day, to identify your To-Do’s for tomorrow, except your looking at planning for 12 months versus what you need to accomplish tomorrow.
Why is Reflection So Important?
First, it allows you to step above your practice, to look down at what you have built and to adopt a more objective view of your year in 2017. I have discussed in a previous article how important it is to Be the CEO of your Practice by working ON your practice versus just working IN it. If you can take some time right now, refresh your memory on the concept of “You are the CEO of your Practice: Now Think Like an Entrepreneur.“ If you are REALLY motivated, you can watch the webinar I recorded on the same topic. It is literally impossible to develop a plan to move forward if you don’t step back and assess things like, what went well this year? Where did I have successes? What did I do that wasn’t successful? How did I improve my skills in 2017? Am I happy with the revenue I generated? Where did that revenue come from?
“Reflection” Sounds a Little New Age for Me
Yes – everyone in every practice needs to take time to reflect. Think of how important it is for you to reflect on your client’s situation before you give them any type of advice. Many times I need to remind professionals to apply their own processes on themselves! Never would you give advice to your client without first asking many questions to better understand the current situation your clients are facing; to help them reflect on the important aspects of their live, career, relationships, or other aspect of their lives. So what’s a person to reflect on?
Tips on What to Reflect on at the End of the Year
Focus on the picture above; my motivation for this blog post. Think of the reflection you and your practice have cast this year and ask yourself:
- What have I done that makes me feel very proud?
- How have I reached out to new contacts to build my referral network?
- What will my revenue be this year?
- Am I happy with my revenue?
- What do I want to earn in 2018?
- Who are my VERY best referral sources?
- How did each of my best clients in 2017 find me?
- What action can I take to create more clients like my best clients?
- What aspect of my work did I most enjoy this year?
- What did I try that didn’t work very well?
- What is my niche – the area(s) I am best known for in my field?
- Why do my clients hire me? If you don’t’ know, ask a few of them!
- What really makes me unique in my field – what expertise do I have that most people in my profession don’t possess?
- On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much did I really enjoy my life this year?
- Did my focus on work harm any of my personal relationships?
- How do you define “work-life balance?”
- Are you achieving this balance in your life?
- If you could wave your magic wand and create your new reality, what would it look like? REALLY think about this one.
- What are the gaps between your ideal reality and what you experienced in 2017?
My Promise to You
If you take the time between now and the new year to reflect on 2017, you will be extremely well positioned to meet your goals in 2018. I challenge all of you to answer the questions above. If you give thoughtful and reflective responses, please feel free to confidentially share you answers with me. I promise to you that if you take time to reflect on your life and career in 2017 by answering the questions above, I will spend an hour with you – at no cost – to help you lay the foundation for a productive and profitable 2018. Beyond that, by answering the questions above, you will gain perspective on what REALLY matters to you. Because, really, that’s ALL that matters.
A Note From Terrie
Prior to founding PSM, I headed the marketing department at three of Minnesota’s largest law firms. My staff and I led all business development efforts for the entire firm as well as for practice groups and individual lawyers. I created, implemented, and managed highly targeted and results-oriented marketing strategies. Learn more >