As we wind down and start to bring 2023 to a close, it’s natural to feel reflective about the months that have passed. The dark evenings and the stark realisation that Christmas is just around the corner again can make us keen to tally up our successes since the last time we put the baubles on the tree. The Christmas holiday is also unique in that it's the only one where pretty much everyone stops sending emails at the same time, creating a shared time to pause.
For many of us, this brings up the question: “what have I achieved this year?”
Cue immediate thoughts of work targets hit, pay increases gained, extra responsibilities taken on and maybe even big personal achievements like buying a house, getting a pet or having a baby. You might even go as far as writing them in a list whilst you listen to Michael Bublé tell you it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Money is the biggest indicator of success…right?
It’s easy to focus on money or job title as a marker of success. We’re in a world that often gives status to those who ‘do well for themselves’. Unfortunately, the comparison that this creates can be tricky, as we struggle to feel ‘successful’ if others are seemingly achieving more than us, or if nothing ‘major’ has happened in our lives that year.
We can all bring to mind a friend or colleague that did better, earned more, was happier or more successful. Perhaps there are goals that you wanted to hit that others beat you to. But as the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy.
Almost without noticing, over the years I became obsessed with the number on my payslip despite protesting regularly that I wasn't driven by money....or to be more specific, wealth. It felt like the bigger the number was, the more successful I was at my job – a tangible demonstration of my capabilities.
It never occurred to me to take a moment to figure out what I actually needed and how much would be enough. As a result, whatever I earned was never satisfactory.
Looking at the bigger picture
These days, I keep in mind and am specific about how much is enough and also how much is too much. Yes, there’s such a thing as too much in my opinion – where the cost of earning it outweighs the benefit of having it.
I'm also clear on why I'm being paid in the first place. What is my work's purpose? Who am I trying to help, and why?
Within that lies some better score cards to reflect on the year:
How many people have I helped?
How many talks have I delivered?
How many team cultures have I helped to change?
When I zoom out and look at the bigger picture, not just the number in my bank account, I can get a greater appreciation for what I’ve accomplished. It’s about far more than the money.
Can you change your perspective?
So, when you’re reflecting on 2023, I challenge you to think on a more micro level. Whilst things like promotions and a stable salary are nice things to have, it’s about more than just the result. Don’t forget to think about the meaningful work and interactions that contributed to the end achievement.
You should also consider the personal achievements where you maybe have nothing physical to show for your efforts. What would your list look like if you noted that you were proud of how you handled a hard situation at work, or how you put boundaries in place to protect your mental health? If you could say you tried your best to be a loving, kind family member?
Want to spread the word?
Book me for a talk at your company. I use my own story and experiences to open a discussion, lift the stigma and encourage staff to use the resources available to them. You never know who might need it.
Want to change your mindset next year?
Join me for one-to-one performance coaching. Let’s work together to guide you towards gaining confidence and feeling in control in 2024.
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Your favourite posts from this year
The importance of a coffee and a chat. As the weather draws in again and things turn chilly, the same still stands. Better out than in.
The importance of recognising when you’re close to your limit and doing something about it.
Discussing the 12 stages of burnout. How many can you relate to? What can you do to make sure you’re more balanced in 2024?
We are all more similar than we are different. Sharing my experience of taking my talk to my rugby mates, and why I was nervous about that.
Taking the safety wheels off my metaphorical bike and realising I no longer needed the safety net of the packet of tablets I found in the back of the cupboard.
“Fine thanks, how are you?” The importance of being honest, and creating a non-judgemental space for others to do the same.
How can we reduce the stress of going away, and reduce the stress of returning to work so that we can enjoy a proper rest?
I was awarded the Best Employee Wellness Coach Award. I’m proud of that, and I hope my initiative to pay it forward has made a difference.
Deciding who to disappoint. Can we reframe saying ‘no’ as an opportunity to respect our own boundaries and be truly present for the things we say ‘yes’ to, rather than under-serving everyone?
You don’t need to suffer in silence – accurate mental health self-diagnosis is hard. Open conversations can make a bigger difference than you ever realise.
Feeling like the glass is half full at 50. Read to see a fantastic picture of me in a ‘50 and fabulous’ sash.
Educating myself for World Menopause Day. Let’s start the conversation and give everyone the opportunity to be heard.
I was a rugby player and now I’m going to be something else. Sometimes you need to leave something behind to give space to become the next version.
Let’s talk. Get in touch with me to learn more about how I can help you.