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A time of reflection

I don’t know about you, but at this time of the year I tend to spend quite a lot of time reflecting – first of all on the successes and failures of the closing year and then more importantly on the approaching year, what I believe it holds and what I want to achieve in it. So I thought I’d use my last article for 2012 to encourage you to do this for yourself, if you don’t already do it.

Find somewhere that you can be alone, get a notebook or a journal out and just write down what you consider your successes or achievements were for the year. Then write down what you feel that you failed to achieve this year that you had wanted to. Hopefully the successes outweigh the failures.

Look at where you were at the beginning of the year, in terms of your business or your job, your spirituality, your relationships, your personal development etc and compare that with where you are now. Have you improved since the beginning of the year? If not, why not? Then make a commitment to put actions into place to improve in the areas that you feel you have not progressed in.

For me, I know that some of my relationships are not as close as they were at the beginning of the year and it’s because I have not been deliberate in calling people, visiting friends or even just dropping an occasional e-mail.

Makes me wonder what I’ve been so busy doing. So next year I plan to actively cultivate those relationships that are important to me by doing simple things like having a friend over for tea and a chat or taking the time to make a phone call rather than sending an e-mail. What will you do?

One of the challenges I’ve given myself for 2013, is to do something I’ve never done before and that is to write two books in one year. This year I wrote a very short book (Arise & Shine) before The Merger Mogul, but it was so small that it doesn’t count; I’m talking about writing two full length novels and I’m very excited about it.

Quite a few people have asked me about a sequel to my first novel so I’ve started on that already and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started doing research for a historical novel set in Barbados and South Carolina and I hope to be able to travel to South Carolina to see firsthand the Barbadian influences there. This time next year, God willing, I hope to be writing to let you know that I have succeeded in meeting the challenge.

What about your business? Were there things that you planned to do this year that you didn’t do? I have to confess a big “yes” to that but I realise that in looking at my business this year, there were some services that I was offering that I was not passionate about, so I’ve basically gone back to the drawing board and said to myself: What am I really passionate about and what is my real purpose? I found that very liberating and now I feel that I can go forward into 2013 with a deliberate strategy and more enthusiasm to achieve the things that I’ve set my mind to.

Last week I received an e-mail from Ian Blanchard of Action Coach, with a story called The Purpose is…, which he has given me permission to reproduce since I feel it is very apt as we spend time reflecting:

We’d like to tell you a story that illustrates the power of understanding the purpose of your work.

Three workers were busy constructing a building when an observer approached. The first worker was dirty, sweaty, and had an unhappy expression on his face.

The observer asked the first worker, “What are you doing?” The worker replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The second worker also was dirty, sweaty, and had an unhappy expression on his face. The observer asked the second worker, “What are you doing?” The second worker replied, I’m making $20 an hour.” The third worker was dirty and sweaty but had a beautiful and inspired expression. He worked as hard as the other two, but work seemed to come more effortlessly for him. The observer asked the third worker, “What are you doing?” And he replied, “I’m building a cathedral.”

What are you building in 2013? Look at your work from the perspective of its purpose, not just the activities you are doing and may 2013 be a prosperous, productive and purposeful year for you.

Donna Every is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA who worked with Ernst & Young for ten years before starting her own Business Advisory practice. She has written four books including What Do You Have in Your House? Surviving in Times of Financial Crisis and the newly released novel The Merger Mogul.

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