Learn more about planning for 2024 with the Growth Navigator Workshop HERE.
I carry on from last week and offer an intimate insight into my practice of year-end reflection. I reveal my 10 thought-provoking questions for self-reflection and discuss how it fuels my intentional planning. This year, I've chosen to fully embrace the holiday spirit by pausing all client work in December, gifting myself some time for rest and rejuvenation.
In preparation for planning in the new year, these questions -- I feel -- should be part of your reflective process as you introspect on the year gone by and think about what has to change for the upcoming one. These questions will guide you to spot areas of resistance and define what you're prepared to welcome or bid farewell to in 2024.
As I share the questions, I give context and elaborate as best I can, so here are the questions in their entirety in case you are listening without a notebook in the moment!
1. What are 3 things I'm proud of having accomplished this year?
2. What have I learned that I can continue to work on next year?
3. What am I willing to fight for / stop fighting against? (or Where have I been throwing up resistance in my life or business?)
4. What am I willing to show up for in 2024 / leave behind in 2023?
5. Who am I going to be? What am I going to do?
6. How do I want to live each day going forward?
7. What is it important for me to do with my time each day / week?
8. Who deserves space in my life? Who doesn't?
9. Whose opinion of it all do I care about?
10. What characteristics of the next version of myself do I want to cultivate next year?
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Welcome to the Business Blast for Me podcast, where we question the sacred truths of the online business space and the reverence with which they're held. I'm your host, sarah Kahn speaker, strategic consultant and BS busting badass. Join me each week as we challenge the norms, trends and overall bullshit status quo of entrepreneurship to uncover what it really takes to build the business that you want to build in a way that honors you, your life and your vision for what's possible, and maybe piss off a few gurus along the way. So if you're ready to commit Business Blast for Me, let's do it. Hello, hello, blast femurs. We are nearing the end of November. This episode is coming out the week of Black Friday sales and Thanksgiving in the US, and it's starting to now feel kind of like the holidays are very soon upon us, right, that impending period of oh shit, things are getting busy, and then, oh shit, it's the end of the year and then, oh crap, it's now January and I'm starting to feel the pressure of that. I don't know if that makes sense, but there is this weird kind of pressure that tends to start happening around this time of year when it comes to things like planning, when it comes to things like reflection and looking back and looking ahead, and last week on the podcast I shared how I prep to plan and the fact that I do not do any planning for the next quarter or even the next year in December. I wait until January to do that because I like for all of this Christmas-tide kind of fog to go away first, because this time is exceptionally busy for everybody, whether you celebrate something or not. But it's also a time that really requires a lot of emotional and mental energy. And I feel like if you plan now and again, there are people who plan during this time of year and they thrive and that's wonderful. I'm talking about me. Planning at this time of year feels so full of expectation. I don't know why, but it just does. And this is one of the first years where I have really kind of decided uh-uh, I am taking a full-on holiday. In the past I have taken a holiday, but I will. Generally I've had clients still launching over the Christmas break, so I've kind of been available and you know I'll. You know work on my website and tinker and whatnot. But this year I am legit taking two weeks off at the end of December Like I'm not doing any client work. I'm not going to be talking to people in a business context, like it's just going to be me chilling, doing whatever I want, maybe reading a little bit, because God knows I haven't read a book all year. I'm just going to take some time for myself and I feel like that space is necessary. And if I sit down and say I have to plan and I have to reflect and I have to do all my journaling in that time period, it just feels like I can't relax. So I'm going to do my reflection now so that come mid-December I can actually just take it easy and then, when January rolls around, I can start my planning because I've done all the reflection. And it's always kind of fun to do reflection now and then like come back to it in January and go huh, because it's almost like looking at it from a different perspective, right, like looking at it from the other side of the mirror, if you will. And even though I always say there is no magical line over which you know when you cross that line, suddenly you got carte blanche. Time is a flat circle, it's a construct. You can start your planning whenever you want. I just like to do my reflection and my prep now so that when January comes, that's done, I can look at it and with the distance it looks a little I can look at it a little bit more objectively, instead of being in my feelings about it when I try to plan because that's what happens, I mean, for me. I don't know if it happens for you or if you can relate to this, but if I plan now, like as things are still happening and as I'm reflecting on what's happened, my planning tends to be a lot more emotional rather than intentional, and that's really the big thing for me. I want my planning to be intentional. I don't want it to be a reaction to whatever emotions I was feeling at the time when I was doing my reflection. So that's why I do the reflection now and then give it some space. So last week we talked about prep, right, we looked at reflection from a little bit more of a business perspective. This week I want to walk you through my 10 questions that I kind of use as a self reflection and just kind of a bigger reflection overall. So if you've been following the podcast, I do my mid-year reflection and I will usually do a little bit of that in January if I feel like I need kind of a top up. But this set of questions I do every year at the end-ish of the year and I like it because it forces me to really think outside the box. Now they came about actually as the result. I share these every year in my various Facebook communities, but this came about a few years ago when I had asked the question in one of my groups, like who journals, and the responses were quite mixed, but overwhelmingly they were I try, but I don't stick to it. Now, we all know the benefits of journaling. They are immeasurable. They are immense. There's research to support it. There's a variety of methods and ways and practices that you can engage in journaling like. There's gratitude journaling, future casting, brag, vent, desire journaling, which is like celebrations, appreciation, venting or, like you know, being like I hate this and then desires is like a wish list. There's letters to your future self. There's vision casting Like. There's all kinds of ways to journal. I'm going to talk about reflection today Now. First of all, I want to say this If you don't journal consistently, please don't make yourself wrong, for it. Consistent looks different for everyone and, honestly, as long as you do it when it means something to you. That's what matters. I used to make myself wrong for not journaling every single day and I have a squazzillion journals to back that. Point up, like I was joking on Facebook the other day, that the generational trauma I will leave for my children is just the sheer volume of journals that I have and the fact that I can't decide if I'm an analog or a digital. But that's a whole other podcast episode. So now, instead of making myself wrong for not journaling every single day, I definitely do it when I'm feeling like I need to unpack or unravel thoughts, because I am an outside processor, right, whether it's talking it out or writing it out. So that's when journaling means a lot to me and it really helps me get through things. And if journaling at all isn't your thing, like, don't make yourself wrong for that. Either you can still reflect on some of these questions. Maybe they pique your interest and you're like I'm going to think about them as I'm driving later today, or you can sit and think about them over coffee, like whatever feels right for you, and you can use all of them. You can use just the ones that feel good for you, the ones that pique your interest, or maybe you do one question a day over the next 10 days, like, however you want to do it, totally up to you. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but I just know that people have gotten a lot out of these questions and so I want to share them with you because I love you. You stuck with me through this entire journey. So these 10 questions that I'm going to share with you, they were cobbled together over the years, not just through journaling, but also through blog posts that I had read at some point, people that I'd been in contact with, people that I'd coached with, and even people I'd coached myself. And these questions now are the ones that I use at the end of every year to really look back and take stock and then look forward. And they've been really helpful, like I said, in allowing me to set intentions for the coming year, because I don't set goals or resolutions anymore. I've been around long enough to know they can actually be kind of counterproductive in a lot of cases, resolutions and again, I'm not saying that's how it is for everyone, but that's definitely how it's been for me. So I like to set intentions because that allows me to decide day to day how I'm going to show up, what I want to do, who I want to be, and if there is a day where I don't want to do any of those things or feel any of those ways, I give myself grace. For me, it's all about the flexibility and the ability to choose. So let's get into it. I'm going to give you the questions, I'm going to give you a little bit of context around them, and then you decide whether it's something you want to journal on, reflect on or whatever. So, question number one what are three things I'm proud of having accomplished this year? The podcast is definitely on that list. This one can be tough sometimes because we have a very limited scope of vision and memory, and when I first heard this question a few years ago, I was shocked at how hard it was for me to come up with three things, like genuinely Over the entire year. Really, there's nothing that you're proud of having accomplished because we forget. And so what I started to do was I started to keep a weekly wins notebook and I have it in my Asana. Every Friday I get a reminder it's time for your weekly wins, sarah and I sit down and I just think for a minute like what did I do this week that I was either proud of, that brought me joy, that I celebrated, that I was grateful for. Those are all wins. They don't all have to be accomplishments, right, they can be things that just brought you joy but I write them all down and then usually I use that, as you know, when I'm having a really bad day or a string of bad days and I wanna burn everything down and I'm like life is shit, work is shit, I hate shit. I open that weekly wins notebook it used to be an actual journal, now it's digital, but I open it up and I read those wins each week and it really helps me A get out of my own head and, b, it helps me regain perspective. That you know. Yeah, I'm having a bad string of days right now, but it's not always gonna be that way, because it's never always been that way, and so if that's not something that you currently do, I invite you to pick up that practice. I think it's a really, really helpful way to kind of keep perspective on things and also because we have shitty memories. So, three things you're proud of having accomplished. If you're like I don't know, go back, look through your emails, your correspondence, look through your messages, look through your Facebook posts. I mean that feeling when you're looking through your Facebook memories, if you're okay, look, caveat, if you are a listener who is not a Gen Xer or an elder millennial and you're like Facebook, what now? Take this with a grain of salt. There's other social media platforms I'm sure that you can use in a similar way. But when your Facebook memories come up every week and you're like, oh, I remember that, like that's the kind of thing you're going for. So having a look and just seeing, like, what have I done this year? Who have I met? What have I discovered? What have I realized or come to terms with, like you can celebrate absolutely anything. So what are three things you're proud of having accomplished this year? Accomplished being kind of an umbrella term, all right. Number two what have I learned that I can continue to work on next year? Now, I haven't done these reflection questions yet, but I remember last year my answer was I still have boundaries that I allow to be crossed and I need to understand why the fuck I still do that and I need to continue working on them. And that's exactly what I did. And what's funny actually now that I'm saying it. Some of those boundaries I did get a lot better on, but some of them I still was a little flaky on, and I'm not making myself wrong for it. I'm just realizing where I need to still kind of have a focus next year, and that is on doing work that I'm good at and I can do but I don't want to do. I need to be able to draw a better line there. So what did you learn this year that you can continue to work on next year? Maybe it's a characteristic, maybe it's a thought process or a pattern of behavior. Maybe it's a boundary in your life or in your business that you get to decide what that is and you get to give yourself the grace to continue working on it, cause we are all works in progress and we will continue to remain so. Number three where have I been throwing up resistance in my life or in my business? Why and what can I do to change that or embrace that? Now? I remember a couple of years ago, when I did this exercise, I asked myself that question where have I been throwing up resistance in my life or in my business? And I had been very resistant to selling. Like I have a lot of baggage around sales. I think a lot of us do and I had to work really really hard over the last couple of years to understand why that's such a sticking point for me and really find a way that feels good for me to do it. And it's taken some work. I've hired support around it and not all of the support has been aligned, and that's okay, right, it's something that you learn. But I had to figure out, like, what am I still throwing resistance up around in my life or business and can I get support to help me through it? And so this year, yeah, that's the kind of if I'm gonna hire any support, it's gonna be very intentional around a thing that I'm throwing resistance up around, right? So ask yourself where am I still throwing up resistance in life or business and what can I do to change that or embrace it? Because with resistance, it's there to tell you that something either needs to change or you need to accept it and internalize it a little bit differently. Question number four what am I willing to show up for or leave behind in 2023? So what are you willing to show up for in 2024? Or what are you willing to leave behind in 2023? Now again, last year, I had decided that I was gonna commit to stop playing small. We had been talking about that a lot. You know a couple of friends and I and we decided 2023 is the year we play all out. And it's easy to say that this is why I don't like resolutions. But it's easy to say that where the work comes in is when you ask yourself, okay, but what does that mean tangibly, like, what actions do I need to take? And so, for me, this podcast was a huge action step. Right, if I'm gonna show up and commit to not playing small, I gotta start doing X, y, z. So ask yourself where you are willing, like, what are you willing to show up for or leave behind? But what does that mean in terms of action steps? What actions will you need to take? And you can also, if that question is still like not really computing, you can also ask yourself, like, what do you wanna leave behind that isn't serving you? And this can be relationships, this can be personal characteristics or beliefs or behavior patterns, right. But you get to ask yourself, like, what needs to stay in 2023? What do you need to bring into 2024? Question number five who am I gonna be and what am I gonna do? This one when I first asked myself this question, it blew my mind, cause okay, let me put it to you this way who am I waiting to become before I do the next thing that I wanna do? I'm gonna say that again who am I waiting to become before doing the next thing that I wanna do? Like, how many of us wait until we grow into that person, or we become this person, or we gain those characteristics, or we're always waiting to become somebody different before we do the next thing. When I'm more brave, I will do that when I become a better speaker. How would it feel to just be that person? You wanna be a speaker? Okay, just be a speaker. You wanna sell more? Okay, sell more. Yes, there needs to be action steps Like what do you need in order to be her? But how would it feel to just be that person and just do the thing and not overthink it? So ask yourself who are you gonna be and what are you gonna do? Now, we don't have to plan around that yet, but what action steps would you have to take? Cause, if you can reflect on that now, then next year, when you do your planning, like, okay, I'm gonna plan for those things so I can start to be that person Mind blowing, right, all right. Question number six how do I wanna live each day going forward? This one's pretty simple what are your daily priorities that you wanna make space for? What are the things that are non-negotiable For me? I'm gonna continue blocking off the start of the day and the end of the day, that is, for my children. I do drop off, I do pick up on purpose. Those are non-negotiable. So you can't book meetings with me certain times a day cause my calendar is 100% blocked off during those times. So what are you gonna do? How do you wanna live each day going forward? What are your priorities? What are you gonna make space for what's non-negotiable? And then question number seven actually kind of goes on from that what is it important for me to do with my time each day or each week? So this is where you get to ask yourself, like, what are my joys, where, and what are those things that like replenish my soul, give it refreshment and nourishment that it needs, and what are the things that are like key to helping me either grow my business, myself as a person, my network, where are the things that allow me to do what I desire to do? So this is like refreshment and replenishment of the soul and for me I know, even without having sat down and done this formally I know that I need to bring art back into my life next year. Art is something that, like, it's literally the only activity. Me sitting down and drawing is the only activity that turns my brain off or quiet enough that I can rest, and I have definitely not had enough of that this year. So that's gonna be a huge priority for me going forward. But what do you need to do? Maybe it's read more, maybe it's go for more walks, maybe it's take more naps, right? Like, what do you need to do to nourish yourself more next year? Number eight who deserves space in my life and who doesn't? Now we talk a lot about following and unfollowing and blocking and cutting people out, but you can also look at it from the other perspective, like who do I need to have more of in my life? Who can I invite into my space? Who do I wanna connect with more regularly? Last year, I set up a standing meeting with a friend of mine because I adore her and she is such a yin to my yang and we always have such amazing conversations, and so we have a 30 minute meeting in the calendar every single Friday and we don't always meet. Like sometimes we both know that it's a flexible meeting, like if there are other things to take priority, we do that. But just knowing that I have more of this person in my life just makes me a better person, and so when we talk about who deserves space in my life, it doesn't have to just be from the perspective of I gotta cut out all of these people or these groups or silence these people or unfollow these people. It's also I wanna spend more time with these people, like there are people that I follow strictly for the memes, 100%. And also what I've learned about myself this year is this also means not working with clients who don't respect the boundaries that I have set. Yes, it is on me to hold my boundaries, but people who don't understand the fact that my kids take priority, they will not be getting any more space in my life. Business or otherwise, it doesn't matter how much money they have, because it's just too much work to try and manage their expectations around that kind of thing. Number nine this one's very interesting. Who's opinion of it all do I care about? Oh, my friends, this one is key. When you feel resistance toward doing something in life or in business, usually someone's name or face or thoughts of them will pop up in your head, whether you realize it or not. Identify them, name them and then ask yourself if their opinion truly matters. Ask yourself what it is about them that is making you play small. Whose opinion of it all do you care about? Because if there are people whose opinions still have sway over you but you don't care about those people, we need to reconcile those two things. This one may be a question that you like take a day to just answer on its own. Whose opinion of it all do you care about? One of my favorite sayings is if you're not willing to trade places with them, their opinion shouldn't matter. I mean, there's truth to that, all right. And the final question, number 10, what characteristics of the next version of myself do I wanna cultivate next year? Now, this kind of relates to the question about who am I gonna be and what am I gonna do? Like just being the person that you wanna be. But we also get to intentionally cultivate certain characteristics. So who do you keep telling yourself you will be when blank? When I blank, I will whatever right Like when I will donate to charity, when I will be more visible, when I will get branding photos, when I will launch that new offer? When I got branding photos three times this year, do you know how freaking uncomfortable that was? Because I was not ready, like, physically I'm not in the best shape I ever was, but I got the branding photos because I thought to myself, how long am I gonna wait to really show up? And again, this goes back to my intention from last year of not playing small anymore. So I got those branding photos and, believe me, they have been life-changing. So where are you still telling yourself that that I will X when I Y? What is it about that version of you that you were waiting for? Identify the characteristics and then get to work cultivating them now, or going back to question five, just do the damn thing and step into that version of yourself now. It depends on your comfort level, but this one should cover a good wide range of you out there. So just do the damn thing. Or identify the characteristics and how do I want to cultivate them. What is it going to take? All of these questions really require some kind of action to be taken, and if I haven't set it before on the podcast, I've certainly set it on social media. But 2024 has to be the year where we prioritize taking action, because we have learned and we have reflected and we have done all of the things that we are supposed to do for years. Now is the time to actually put into action all of those things. Okay, I am going to say something that is probably very controversial and again, I want you to take this in the context within which I mean it. But I think you know enough and I think you've done enough and I think you have enough. It's time to now take action and let 2024 be the year that you do all the things that you have wanted to do since you started your business, and you know damn well. I'm going to say if you need support, you know where I am. I'm pivoting all of my offers next year to focus on what I'm really, really good at, and that is shifting perspective and helping you take action and holding you accountable to that, because I think that's something that we are missing collectively as a community right, accountability, support, someone standing beside you, walking beside you and saying, hey, remember this thing you said you wanted. I'm here to help make sure that you get it right and lovingly kicking your butt while holding your hand. That's what we need. And 2024, I think, is going to be a year of community, like prioritizing community and communal care. And so I think that, as you're doing your reflection, as you're doing your prep and as you plan because I don't know if you're going to plan before or after the new year, but I really would love to invite you to consider where you can start taking action to make all of this reflection not just a paper exercise but a stepping stone to your greater self. All right, my friends, as always, you can have success without the BS. That's my mission. I'll talk to you soon, toodles. That's it for this week. Thanks for listening to the Business Blast for Me podcast. We'll be back next week with a new episode, but in the meantime, help assist her out by subscribing and, if you're feeling extra sassy rating this podcast, and don't forget to share the podcast with others. Head over to businessblastformepodcastcom to connect with us and learn more. Thanks for listening and remember you can have success without the BS.