Looking back to look forward

One of the habits that is now hardwired into my life and my business is taking time out to reflect. My natural tendency is to ‘do do do’ and not to reflect but it’s a skill I’ve forced myself to learn and love over the years and something that I now really enjoy and benefited from massively.

In fact, I love taking time out to think back on each month and recognise what happened, what I accomplished and what we experienced as a family.

I am always blown away by how many gifts the year provides us with - even in the hard times, there are so often little nuggets of wisdom or lessons that have developed a deeper significance as time has progressed.

This process of reflection helps me to notice and find these gifts in amongst the noise of life and is such an important ingredient for building a strong sense of confidence in who I am and what I do. It’s also something I encourage my coaching clients to develop as a habit too for exactly the same reasons.

During 2019, I realised many of my dreams - both for us as a family and for me as an individual.

  • I became an Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland

  • I opened my first international conference as a keynote speaker in Belgium

  • We travelled to California as a family and spent time exploring San Diego, Joshua Tree desert and Big Bear Lake

  • I became a founding member of the Glasgow Basket Brigade and through fundraising £10k, we were able to provide nearly 2000 people in need with Xmas dinner hampers ensuring they had a hot meal with all the trimmings

  • I was invited to speak on my business mentor’s stage in Orlando, Florida to share my story and successes with my peers

  • We spent a month in Spain as a family to break up the Scottish winter

  • I hosted my very first event in Edinburgh “Creating 2020 Vision’ and began to create and grow a community through my work

These are only a few of my achievements - there were so many more it blew my mind! And if truth be told made me feel pretty exhausted when I saw it all in black and white!

Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing or without its challenges.

My partner Charlie launched his campervan business this year which was a realisation of his life-long dream. It was wonderful to be able to give him a little of the support he offers to me each day!

However it definitely added to the pressure as we don’t have external childcare support. It really has felt very full on and intense at times and we are often counting down the hours and minutes till Maximilian has a nap or it hits bedtime! (I’m sure so many of you can relate to that!)

But it’s all been so worth it as we have truly created a life, partnership and family that enables us to be present, intentional and involved parents AND run successful businesses which serve other people and create more joy and meaning in the world, which is the ultimate realisation of our dreams and vision.

All too often, we allow life to sweep us along in a torrent of To Do lists and ‘busy work’. Never really taking the time to press the pause button and notice what we have achieved and the aspects of our life that can provide us with a deep sense of accomplishment and ‘enoughness’.

I talk to so many women who suffer from self doubt and imposter syndrome and taking the time to reinforce your successes and achievements is one of the simplest and easiest ways to turn your inner critic into your own best friend.

The other aspect of this is of course taking time to consider what you really want to achieve in the year ahead.

Creating a vision that excites you and gives you something to aim for will help you to stay focused, on track and make decisions from a place of certainty and confidence.

If an opportunity will take you closer to your overall vision and goals then it’s a solid YES! If not, more consideration and possibly a NO is necessary to enable you to stay on course.

This is one of the simplest ways to find more time to get things done - by stripping out the tasks and activities that DO NOT take you closer to your ultimate goals.

Easier said than done but doable nonetheless!

The fact this this year has been my most successful yet is not an accident it really comes down to these essential ingredients -

  • Know where you are going - invest time and energy in connecting with what you REALLY WANT to be, do and have in 2020 by creating a vision that excites you and create a plan to ensure you focus on the priorities that will lead to you having an amazing year

  • Learn from your past - What worked? When did you feel most happy? When were you most productive? How can you create more of those conditions? Get good at reviewing and reflecting and build this into your schedule

  • Create Habits that stretch your natural preferences and allow you to operate from a well rounded perspective - Learn to reflect, take action when you feel scared, analyse what worked and what didn’t and then use that data to course correct before setting off on the next leg of your journey i.e. a brand new year!

  • Know that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and work on creating and maintaining your confidence

I’d like to finish by sharing a little gift with you - the Creating 2020 Vision Coaching Workbook, which you can download here.

Schedule a date with yourself, take yourself off to your favourite place for coffee or somewhere you can have some uninterrupted ‘me time’ and use that time to reflect, celebrate and plan for 2020 - I know it’s going to be your BEST YEAR YET!

Mel Macintyre is the founder of Mel Macintyre Coaching and a WES Ambassador.

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