October 1st is a date that has always held a special weight for me because it reminds me to take stock of all that has happened in the past year, and what is on the horizon for the year to come. That's right - it's my personal new year! And although my birthday isn't until October 20th, there are so many changes that are on the horizon for me, this year especially, that I may need all 19 days leading up to my 36th trip around the sun to reflect on the past, give thanks for my present, and set plans for the future. However, the first of October is also the beginning of the 4th quarter of the year. The final three months before we close the crazy chapter that is 2020 and begin a new story for 2021. Here are four things that I challenge myself to do each year for my birthday. The fact that I've pushed myself to complete it always shifts my mindset a little more, from fixed to growth:
No one could have predicted the multiple (and continuing) curveballs that 2020 has thrown us all. I'm working from home and juggling entrepreneurship with homeschooling with marriage with managing a household with the general raising of three children with starting new business ventures and ways to change the world. Your girl has got a LOT on her plate. But taking time to reflect on all that has passed, good and bad, does two things: first, it forces me to slow down and think about the events of my life. How often have you gone from day to day, barely remembering the events from the past week, let alone the past month? Reflecting forces me to stop, take stock and pay attention. Second, reflecting allows me to acknowledge areas where I've grown and areas where I still need work. Without this process, I'm more likely to repeat the mistakes of my past. Remember, you'll keep repeating the mistakes you've made until you learn the lesson!
2. Give thanks
The attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks for the good in your life is never a wasted endeavor. When you take the time to be thankful - for the people in your life, the lessons you've learned, the failures you've bounced back from, the steps you've taken to change your life and move forward - you might become overwhelmed. And I'm not talking about MAJOR, I'm talking about EVERYTHING. The little battles AND the big wars you've won. They all count. And they all add up to a life that YOU control and YOU create.
3. Dream big
Now we're looking forward. One of my favorite questions to ask my clients is, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" That question brings up so much, for me as well, because a lot of the decisions we make about our lives are driven by fear. Fear that there isn't enough. Fear that I'll get it wrong. Fear that I've run out of chances. Fear that they won't like me. Fear that I'm not really prepared. Fear of what others will say. And baby, once you throw that fear out the window? You can really start living your life. My mini-list for "Dream Big 36" (that's what I'm calling it): (1) Start a podcast, (2) develop my 90-day planner, (3) coach 20 people by June 1st of next year, (4) adapt my coaching methodology for teens and develop my mentoring program, and (5) finish the table of contents and 4 chapters of my first book. Ambitious? Maybe. Do-able? You bet your ass it is! NO FEAR - dream big!
Now that I've got my "Dream Big 36" short list, I've challenged myself to get the ball rolling. What does that look like? Well, first, I've got to break down these BIG goals into small, manageable chunks, with deadlines to hold myself accountable. Each Sunday, I take time to review what has transpired the past week and then I've got to look forward and figure out what I can accomplish in the next week that will help me to meet my goals - on time and under budget. Here are a few "rules of thumb" that I follow in order to hit my goals:
Pick the MAJOR deadline. This is the date that you need to have EVERYTHING done by. You will need this date to then set the deadlines for your smaller, benchmark goals.
Make a list of everything you need to do to accomplish the major goal. Let's pick one of my "Dream Big 36" items. If I go with start a podcast and my launch date/deadline is January 1, 2021, then first I've got to set a date by which to pick my platform, decide on content, plan out my episodes and whether there will be guest speakers, reach out to those guest speakers to schedule time, record the episodes, create marketing for the inaugural episode, launch marketing and ultimately launch the podcast.
Check in with yourself...OFTEN. I am a woman of lists and there are few things that make me happier than having a bunch of items that are crossed off and DONE. I have to check in with myself often to make sure that I am on track to meeting my goals. And if I somehow fall off the wagon? That's okay, because the check ins allow me to schedule additional time, change the deadlines on the benchmark goals if necessary and ramp up in other areas in order to hit the major deadline.
Celebrate the benchmarks. You better believe that every step I take in tackling each of my "Dream Big 36" goals will be met with celebration and jubilation. No time for just a quick pat on the back and to move on, no ma'am. I'm taking a moment to really appreciate what I've accomplished and give thanks for where I am versus where I was. It always brings it back to reflecting. Letting it all sink in to learn the lessons and allow those lessons to inform our future decisions.
So for my inaugural blog post (better late than never!), I want to ask, how do you take stock of your life as your personal new year/birthday approaches? And a happy birthday shoutout to all my Libras!