Reflecting on the Year That Was
As the year draws to a close, there’s a natural urge to shift our focus to the future. Before you do… what story did this past year tell? How have your chapters unfolded?
Let’s not overlook the art of personal reflection. It can illuminate your path forward and pave the way for a more intentional and prosperous new year.
Before we begin, let’s laydown a ground rule. There are some common barriers and excuses used by credit union professionals. Blaming the economy, time constraints, and comparison to others can distract us from gaining clarity. When we focus on external factors as the cause of our problems, we adopt a victim mentality. A negative mindset can hinder personal growth and professional development.
Instead, let’s focus on empowering personal responsibility.
Celebrate Your Wins
No matter how big or small, you’ve made progress. As a credit union professional, you’ve made an impact on your member’s lives. List your accomplishments and milestones. Consider any feedback or recognition you received from colleagues, supervisors, or clients. Revisit goals you set for yourself. Even if they weren’t fully met, partial success can still be considered a win. Remember: Progress, not perfection.
Learn from Setbacks
Setbacks and challenges provide valuable lessons that can help you grow both personally and professionally. Assess the root causes. Was it a lack of a specific skill, poor decision-making, procrastination or maybe difficulty in setting priorities? Perhaps it was excessive workloads, lack of setting boundaries, communication issues, or negative self-talk.
Resilience is a key trait in personal growth. Identify what went wrong and how you can improve in the future.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Are you well-rested, healthy, and happy? Take time to assess your physical and mental health. This could involve regular exercise, mindfulness practices, or simply spending more time with loved ones. As you start to tell yourself “yes,” you will also need to learn to say “no” to things that zap your time and energy.
Note Well: Sometimes well-being can be used as an excuse for not getting things done. You can over-schedule self-care. You can use it as escape from responsibilities or as a source for external validation or sympathy from others. You can even overly focus on well-being to the point of perfectionism. Seek a healthy equilibrium by setting realistic goals.
Seeking feedback opens us up to the potential for disapproval, which is why we rarely ask for it. Too often we can’t seem to separate self-worth from feedback. The truth, however, is you develop a growth mindset when you view feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth.
When you ask for feedback regularly, you’ll become more comfortable with it over time. You do not need to wait for your next performance review to ask for it. When asking for feedback, request specific and actionable suggestions. This can make feedback feel less intimidating and more practical.
Embrace Change with Gratitude
Change is an inevitable part of life, and how we embrace it can greatly influence our personal growth. Meanwhile, gratitude is a practice that involves acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of our lives, both big and small. By embracing change with gratitude, you will improve relationships, become more resilient, and find yourself more prepared for circumstances and challenges that lie ahead.
Remember this: the past year’s victories or setbacks have shaped the credit union professional you are today. With a resilient spirit and commitment to personal growth, you can take on this new year as an opportunity to write new chapters. Embrace the upcoming year with open arms, and make it your best year ever.
As Vice President of Brand Experience for Your Marketing Co., Frank Allgood works with credit unions to develop strong leaders, create effective training programs, and build powerful brands. Want to connect? Call 864.326.8740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.