Posted in January 2008 - written by Michael Carroll
Reflecting on 2007 and looking forward to 2008
The personal development industry prides itself on its action orientated mentality with motivational speakers shouting “take action now” to whoops of “yes” from the hyped up people in their audiences. The frenzied action that follows is often wasted as the individual soon loses focus.
Their energy becomes spent and their rainbow dissolves long before they get even close to their pot of gold. While this may sound negative, it is a reasonably accurate description of what can happen. Particularly when action is taken without really knowing what pot of gold you are seeking, before you go wildly chasing rainbows.
Knowing yourself and what you really want is crucial to personal success. This level of self awareness provides you with a means of channelling your time and energy in an effective way. The question is how do you increase your level of self awareness so that you know your efforts are well spent and will deliver the success you want?
Take time to reflect?
As 2007 is now at its end you may want reflect on how your year of 2007 went.
Did you have a vision for 2007 and set meaningful goals? Did your goals materialise, and if they didn’t were they not meaningful or did they just change? Did you forget what you wanted and get caught up in life, rather than living it? Was there no need to work out a vision or goals because what you want is so intuitive and natural you just make it happen?
Here are some questions to help you reflect.
Your 2007 vision
 Did you have a vision for 2007?
 Did the vision materialise and if so, what were the key leverage points? If no what happened for you?
 Did you partially actualise your vision for the year? If so, what was the difference in when you were on track and when you weren’t’?
 Did you not have a vision?
 If you didn’t have a vision, what materialised. If you were unsuccessful, what was happening with your attention? If you were successful how did you direct your attention?
Your 2007 goals
 Did you set concrete goals?
 Did you get ALL your goals, if so, what were the key leverage points? If no what happened for you?
 Did you get SOME of your goals, if so, what was the difference in YOU when you got your goal and when you didn’t?
 Did you not set goals?
 If you didn’t set goals, what did you get and how? If you were unsuccessful what was happening with your attention? If you were successful how did you direct your attention?
Your personal space
Your personal space is a metaphor for how you direct attention and how you live. You could even say your personal space is a direct mapping for your inner thoughts. Here is an interesting process:
 Pick three spaces that are personal to you, where you have complete control of the environment of that space e.g. your office, your bedroom, your car, your desk, your wardrobe.
 Imagine you are another person, a person who has no direct knowledge of you and look at the space. Describe and write down exactly what you see, in descriptive and non judgemental language. At this stage you are ascribing no meaning to the space; it’s just like a police report, factual.
 Now review the descriptions from different perspectives (other than your own) what does this (bedroom, wardrobe, and car) say about the owner? Is it clinically tidy, is it full of self expression, or is it just a mess?
 How does your personal space represent other aspects of your life?
 What could you change in your personal space that would be representative for change elsewhere?
How well you relate to your friends and associates is indicative of who you are as a person. Remember you have choice in the people you pick as friends and associates (unlike family). Who you chose to spend your time with and what you do when you are with friends will determine quite a lot with regard to your self fulfilment and personal success.
 Pick at least three (maybe more) relationships. Think of friends, colleagues etc
 Take an observer position on each relationship. Make an image with sounds of you and the other person that is typical of how you relate. Be impartial as you watch the scene unfold, notice how each person (you and the other) responds and behaves in the relationship
 Now, be yourself in the scene, experience it through your own eyes. What does the relationship do for you, what are the benefits for you?
 Now, be the other person in the scene, experience it through their eyes. What does the relationship do for them? What are the benefits for them?
 Now step back to observer position and ask what adjustments you can make with your own behaviours in these relationships. Are there trends and patterns in your relationships? Are you hanging out with people where there is genuine mutual exchange and shared values or are you hanging out with people through habit?
So far you have reviewed and reflected on your goals and vision for 2007, the metaphors of your personal space and your relationships. You can now review other areas of your life if you wish, such as intimate relationships, career, wealth, and so on. You will find the observer position useful in your reviews as well as associating to your own and others’ perspectives in different contexts. The object of the reflections is for you to take learnings from the last year so you can plan the year ahead.
Where do you want to put your attention?
The level of attention and then focussed action you give to an area of life will determine how successful you are in that area of life. It is useful to be balanced in life, so all areas of your life are receiving appropriate attention. Think about all the areas of life that are important to you, family, personal relationships health, career and so on. From your reflections, where do you want to put your attention in 2008?
Create a vision
Imagine it’s 31st December 2008, you are at a New Years Eve party that you created for your nearest and dearest and selection of handpicked friends and associates to celebrate the passing of a wondrous 2008 and the greeting of a 2009 that you already know will be awesome (you can invite people you have not yet met yet in reality but who you want to meet). You are the centre piece with your loved ones at this party. You are just about to make a speech to all the people who are gathered around you. You smile, inwardly happy at your achievements. As you view this scene in your minds eye…….. answer the following questions……
 Who is invited to this party and who isn’t?
 You created the guest list which will include friends, maybe family, business associates etc. How are you relating to these people and what are the mutual benefits of each relationship?
 You are with your nearest and dearest, how are you relating to them, what did you do in 2008 that was special?
 Pay attention to your body, what did you do in 2008 to nurture your physical well being?
 You are mentally alert and at the top of your game, what did you do to develop your mind in 2008?
 You have had a great year financially, what did you do to create wealth in 2008?
 Acknowledge any tough decisions that were made?
 What else is poignant in the scene that you are really pleased about?
Now in the scene, let your speech unfold. Remember you are an observer of this scene, listen and watch as you hear the special acknowledgements and thanks you make to the people who have contributed to your life. Hear the 2008 success story come from you – in your scene.
This need not be just a vision make it your reality, set some goals.
Your goals will come in all shapes and sizes. The NLP well formed outcomes process is an excellent way to set goals. Here is the process.
Your goals will be:
 Stated in positive terms – attention on what you want
 Initiated and maintained by yourselfit’s your goal
 Described in specific sensory based language including the outcome and steps
 Achievable in more than one way to get the outcome you desire
 Structured so as to Increase choice
 Ecological they do not conflict with other areas of your life
Now take action
If you have followed through on the processes in this article, you will have reflected on 2007, you created a vision for 2008 and now have some concrete goals for 2008. Now its time to take action. If you have read my previous articles you will know about the ‘butterfly effect’ applied to goal setting. From your goals pick the smallest part in the system (of each goal) that will have the most leverage and take action on that immediately. This will set up the chain of events that will make the goal happen and the 2008 vision a reality.
May I wish you a thoroughly rewarding 2008.