In the Yearview Mirror

13th January 2020
Åsa Magnusson

We’re almost two weeks into 2020. How are things going?

I often find that starting a new year is as much about looking backwards as it is looking forward. We can get fantastic insights from evaluating the past year. What worked? What didn’t? What got you excited? What do you want to tweak? Once we’ve looked at these things, we can establish a way forward – as a stronger and happier person.

My start to the year

For me, the arrival of the new year has been a great opportunity to review and re-start. The past year brought with it a gentle, trembling beginning of a new online community for marketing professionals, sponsored by the IT Content Factory. It is designed as a safe place to ask for and get support on all things to do with marketing, careers, tools, systems, knowledge, media, and more. Being able to quite literally turn a new leaf and make a fresh start of it feels incredibly exciting – and there are truckloads of new things in the works for the community in 2020.

But as always, when you start something new, things don’t necessarily go to plan. We make mistakes, we fall down a few times, we graze a knee or two, burn a couple of fingers. This is all part of the journey, and the mistakes can play a key part in our future success – but we need to make sure they feed our growth. We need to take the time to review what actually happened, why, and how we can learn from it.

The yearview mirror

So, looking in the yearview mirror – what are the things we should pay specific attention to?

1: The successes

Take a look at the things that went well – perhaps even better than you imagined. Maybe there was a project you were dreading, but once you completed it you realised it wasn’t so bad and in fact you learnt something really valuable from it? Those are successes too. It doesn’t just have to be a roaring crowd-pleaser. It could be a tiny step you made in the right direction, or a decision you made that will have a big impact in the future. You’re the one who defines what your success is.

2: The things that didn’t get done

We all have things that sometimes drag out and take a bit longer than expected. But the key is to understand two things: First of all, what was the reason why it didn’t get completed? Did you not prioritise it? Did other people prevent you from doing it? Were you trying to do too many things at the same time? Were you missing the resources you needed?

The second thing to understand is whether or not this activity is genuinely important to you. Is this goal still important to carry into the new year, or can you let it go and just recognise that your efforts made sense at the time but they’re not something you have to focus on going forward? Perhaps there are other, more important things you should dedicate your time to instead, or maybe you can just set aside some time later on in the year to do it?

Sometimes we just keep the same goals from year to year, without realising that it doesn’t serve us and it’s not actually what we need. So it’s worth just taking a close look at our goals before blindly putting them down on our list of things to do in 2020. But – if it is genuinely important, make sure you give yourself all the chances of succeeding with it this year. Build a roadmap to completing it!

3: The passion

Take a moment to think about what you were passionate about last year. What made you truly happy and energised? Was there perhaps a new passion sparked, that you hadn’t expected? Think about your best memories of the year, where you felt the most empowered and excited. Could there be a clue there, as to what you should be spending more time and energy on? Whether at work or outside of work, we need room to let our passion flow out, because that is what ultimately will help us feel accomplished and satisfied with life. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to feel passion.

4: The people

Also, very closely linked to passion, is the matter of the people in your life. We all need to take stock sometimes, of whom we surround ourselves with. Do they give energy, or take energy? Are there people that cause unnecessary stress or grief, and if so, what can we do to reduce the impact they have on us?

Allow me to quote one of my favourite current philosophers and lifestyle guides Joshua Fields Milburn:

‘We can’t change the people in our lives, but we can change the people in our lives.’

What this means is that we can’t change the way other people behave, but we can choose to fill our lives with people who add more energy than they drain from us.

I’m a proud introvert, and if you are anything like me, you know how important it is to be selective with the people who are allowed space in your life. You can only deal with so much when it comes to human interaction, so make sure that you limit negative interactions and maximise the good stuff.

And if you’re an extrovert, be careful to not engage with the wrong people just for the need to engage. You may need to speak to a lot of people and collaborate with many different personalities, but do pay attention to how they make you feel. If at any point you experience anxiety or unnecessary pressure from someone, make a plan to address that either by shifting away from them, or by adopting a strategy for dealing with those interactions. Draw on the help of those in your life who are supportive and kind.

(And if you have nobody who is, give me a call. Seriously. I’d love to help in any way I can.)

Make this your year

We are surrounded by good advice and encouragement to make positive changes for the start of the new year, which is of course excellent. But don’t forget that you have the right to set your own agenda without feeling guilty.

If you want to make smaller steps this year rather than making big, bold, life-disrupting career changes, that’s perfectly fine. And if you do feel like creating a whole new lifestyle with a different job or setting huge, dramatic intentions for your future direction, that’s all wonderful.

But whatever you do, make sure you surround yourself with positive, helpful and caring people who will back you up when you need it.

Discover your community

If you’re looking for a safe space where you can work on yourself without any pressure and become the best marketer you can be, head on over to the Awesome Marketing Community. And who knows, you might just be the person another marketer needs to connect with and learn from. Welcome!