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Class in session! Learn your lessons from 2022

No matter how you feel 2022 went for you personally, there is a way you can still make 2022 better, even after 12/31.

How? By looking at 2022 as your teacher. As they say, experience is the best teacher, but to take advantage of its lessons we need to make a plan to review what happened and apply that knowledge to ourselves in 2023 and beyond. Then you’ll be able to look back at 2022, no matter what happened, and say “That was a great year because it taught me so much!”

Use 2022 as a springboard to bounce back, bounce up and bounce forward.

We have a tendency to not want to look back at the past, especially when it is unpalatable, but that’s a mistake. We can only learn from the past when we engage with it and assess the causes and effects of what went wrong as well as what went right - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I came to a sobering realization recently. Each year I create a document that outlines my goals, strategies and tactics (GS&T) for the coming year. As I prepared to do that this year for 2023, I took a look at the goals I had set for 2022. Gulp. I knew I had missed some goals, but I was shocked to see just how badly I failed. Sobering indeed!

It’s time for me to go to school. Here is my process for using past experiences as a teacher.

IDENTIFY your most impactful experiences - both positive and negative. It helps if you kept a journal or wrote down your goals for that year as I did. You can also look back at your calendar to jog your memory.

For me, a big impactful experience was missing my revenue target for the year. Note that the experience was not a single event but overall performance.

ASSESS your commitment. Ask yourself - which of those experiences would you like to have again and which ones do you want to avoid? Are you committed to making that happen? How important is it to you? Since I want to avoid underperforming financially again and it is VERY important to me, I know I need to prioritize that.

If you are not motivated to act - you won't.

This entire process should be done with positive and negative experiences, but since we usually learn more from the negative, let’s approach this as if we are wanting to fix something.

ANALYZE the causes. Consider all the factors that contributed to the bad experience or poor performance. Which of those factors can you control or influence? Missing my revenue target had a variety of causes, most of which were within my control.

For example, I spent too much of my time on tasks and projects that did not contribute to generating revenue and not enough time working on booking business.

SET the goal. Your goal may be to keep a specific event from happening again in the future, or to make an overall improvement in the problem area. Set a goal that you can realistically achieve. I will be setting a new revenue target, but perhaps not quite as ambitious as the one I failed to reach last year.

PLAN your Strategies. Your strategies are what you generally need to accomplish in order to achieve the goal. For example, to increase my revenue as a speaker, I know that getting referrals is key. The key is to have a product so good that people who have seen it will want others to share it with others. So I need to continually improve my speaking programs. Therefore, my strategy will be: to improve my programs to the point where I get at least two referral bookings from every presentation I give.

DEVISE your tactics. Tactics are where the rubber meets the road. They are the specific tasks you need to do in order to implement your strategy. One tactic I will use for improving my programs is to mine deeper for novel and surprising ideas and insights. This is just one of several tactics I plan to use.

IMPLEMENT your systems. You will not be successful with your tactics, and therefore won’t succeed with your strategies, unless you create systems for getting them done. For example, I will be setting specific time blocks on my weekly schedule to do research that will uncover those new insights, which I will use to make my programs more compelling, leading to more referrals and ultimately, higher revenue.

Also think about the internal obstacles that hampered you last year and build your system to mitigate those. For me, I recognize that I mentally under prioritized program improvement in the past, so I need to keep top-of-mind the fact that my #1 overall goal is to increase revenue, that I am committed to that, and that sticking to the system is necessary to get there. I will write down the goal and keep it in a place where I will see it every day. For example, I may write “Better programs lead to more referrals and higher revenue.” This covers the goal and the strategy.

Blazing ahead

There is no shortage of year-end review articles and video segments in the media, but few of us do a detailed review of our own year. If you don’t learn from the past, you are destined to repeat it. Let the experiences you had and the lessons you learned in 2022 pave the way for a more successful you in 2023.

Remember - 2022 can be a great teacher, but only if you show up for class, take good notes, and set yourself up for some amazing future success.

Think well - live well.

- Steve Haffner, mind performance strategist

Want to learn more about improving your decision making and performance?

Click here for my free book, 7 Strategies for Making Better Decisions


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