Can you believe that 2024 is only days, (yes, days) away?! It feels like just yesterday I was putting pen to paper to set my intention for the year ahead. With that said, as the year winds down, now is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and conduct a mini-evaluation of our professional journey, using our simple guide. So grab a pen, take a seat, and let’s get started.

Reflect on the Journey

So, you’ve found a quiet spot and limited any distractions – let’s start by taking stock of the year that has just passed. Stop, breathe and consider the path you’ve traveled this year. As author Henna Inam shares in her Forbes article, reflecting on the year gone by allows you to craft authentic and meaningful goals for the new year. Ask yourself:

  • What worked well that I am grateful for?
  • What was challenging or disappointing?
  • What were my most meaningful moments?
  • Where did I fail, and what did I learn?

The career journey is rarely a straight line, and it’s in those twists and turns that we often discover our greatest strengths.

Put Your Performance Under The Microscope

Now, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty. We are all familiar with performance reviews in the workplace, but how often do we actually conduct a self appraisal? As Harvard Business Review shares, it’s worth investing your time in a self-appraisal and getting it right because, done well, it’s a chance to boost your credibility and increase your impact. In order to conduct a self-appraisal successfully, follow these three steps:

  1. Separate yourself from your work, putting the focus on your outputs, not who you are as a person. Distinguishing between both will allow you to objectively review your performance, swapping “I am” to “I delivered”.
  2. Open yourself up to self-critique and thoroughly consider your accomplishments, downfalls and areas for improvement across the year. Taking a step back from your situation to critically analyse your performance will enable you to uncover elements of focus, for example skills you would like to refine or improve.
  3. Seek out another point of view on your performance, whether it’s from a colleague or manager. Taking stock of an outsider’s perspective will allow you to validate your own thoughts, or alternatively identify new areas for development.

Feel vs. Want to Feel

Take a moment to pause, close your eyes and consider how you feel about your career at this moment. Are you content, proud, or perhaps even feeling a bit restless? Remember, it’s okay to feel great in some areas and less so in others! Now, envision how you want to feel in your career over the coming 12 months. What emotions do you want to associate with your work? This question can unveil desires and aspirations that may have been lingering beneath the surface, and can aid you in developing both short and long-term goals. Use these six steps to help you create the life and career of your dreams:

  1. Make your goals all about YOU.
  2. Follow the SMART framework to set your goals, ensuring they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
  3. Prepare for failure, and plan how you will navigate this.
  4. Enjoy the journey as much as the results, appreciating the progress along the way rather than fixating solely on the destination.
  5. Remember to celebrate along the way, keeping yourself motivated by acknowledging the little wins as you work towards the end goal.

Pride in Progress

You’ve heard me say it time and time again, but only because it’s so important: Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. What are you most proud of this year? It could be overcoming a challenge, successfully leading a team, or mastering a new skill. Acknowledge your achievements and the hard work that went into them. Taking pride in your progress is not just about recognition; it’s a source of motivation for the future.

Surprises and Learnings

Life is a rollercoaster, full of surprises, just like your career. What unexpected moments or lessons stand out from this year? It could be a project that took an unforeseen turn or connecting with someone that you look up to, just as I did with author Susan Colantuono. Embrace these surprises as opportunities for growth and learning. They add depth to your professional narrative and shape the resilient, adaptable professional you are becoming.

Looking Ahead

As we approach the end of 2023, let’s take a moment to reflect and set the tone for the future. Consider embracing self-leadership through a thoughtful self-audit, aligning your actions with your goals. Recognise the value of foresight as a crucial leadership skill. Allow your aspirations to gently guide your path, offering yourself the advantage of looking ahead with a sense of purpose.

So, how did you go? For me, personally, the opportunity for continued growth in my year never ceases to amaze me – it re-energises me for what’s to come next. The End Of Year Career Audit is not just a reflection but a strategic tool for personal and professional development. Your brilliance shines through your journey, your accomplishments, and your resilience. As we wait to ring in the new year, use this opportunity to shape the blank canvas that is 2024, reflecting, reframing, and renewing your commitment to your career.

An Invitation Just For You…

And finally, if you’re looking to achieve MORE in your career in 2024 and want to hit the ground running in the new year, I invite you to join my free 2-hour career planning session in January. Places are super limited and only open for a short time, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below to join our mailing list so you don’t miss out.