‘Tis the season for lists. The year’s best movies, books and music. Its worst moments and biggest losses. And don’t forget the list of 2016’s biggest celebrities (James Corden?!).
Lists are a popular format for capping off a year because they boil down an unwieldy 365 days into something far more manageable. A list provides a concrete platform for reflection and (let’s be honest) argument. But most importantly, the process of putting together a list prompts us to take stock of the year in a way that gives us a chance to improve on its shortcomings.
As we get ready to kick 2016 to the curb, put this powerful format to work for you. Here’s a short list of lists that will help you put a lid on this year and start 2017 right.
New and improved skills: When taking stock in this area, don’t forget to give yourself credit for both hard skills and soft skills. Mastering the art of visual storytelling is important, but building your problem solving and conflict resolution skills may be even more so. And if your new skills list is short, make professional development a bigger priority in 2017.
Most surprising successes (yours or someone else’s): Did a colleague’s recommendation that you labeled a bust turn out to be a boom? Are you dumbfounded that a competitor saw success where you didn’t even see opportunity? Find inspiration from people who went down paths you would never have followed.
Most surprising failures: Seth Godin’s recent blog post points out that the pursuit of perfection can be an enormous road block. Taking stock of this year’s failures reminds us that we can’t always plan our way to success. But when something doesn’t go as planned, we can be ready to learn from it.
Near misses: With awards season just around the corner, “It was an honor to be nominated” will soon be a predominant theme in celebrity interviews. But, come on. Red ribbons aren’t satisfying, and they don’t pay the bills. They do, however, offer rich opportunities for introspection. What went wrong? Is it fixable? How do we adjust? Compiling a list of 2016’s near misses could reveal an imminently fixable problem and help you make 2017 a blue ribbon year.
Best ideas that didn’t come to fruition: We’ve all got them – those ideas that we loved but just couldn’t get done in 2016. No matter why you had to shelve the concept now is the time to take it down, dust it off and figure out how to make work in 2017.