06 February, 2008

The Rigorous Review

Here we are 37 days into the New Year. So... how are you doing on those New Year's Resolutions? I don't make them. Because I don't keep them.

Instead I do something a little bit different. While everyone else is considering their goals for the new year, I spend a considerable amount of time looking back. The goal for my time with you today is to challenge you to consider looking back in addition or even instead of looking forward.

Now before you think I have some bias against goal-setting - I don't. But I have to tell you if you learn to rehearse and confirm the lessons you've learned in the previous year, you'll be far better off.

What I'm recommending to you is really much more intensive than getting away and dreaming of new objectives. What I'm suggesting is an investment of your time around the beginning of the each new year where you do a rigorous review of your previous year and make a log of the most significant lessons you've learned over the previous 12 months.

It's not too late to do it and, in fact, you can do it anytime - birthdays, anniversaries, any special day will work - I like New Years because of the generous amount of time I'm able to take off thanks to my employer!

So, if you're game, here are some thoughts if you're willing to take me up on considering a rigorous review of your year.

You'll need a good day to do the review. Here's what you'll need to gather. If you're accustomed to journaling, you'll need your journal. If you're an RMO staff, gather your Prayer Letters if you write them. You'll also need your calendar to make a review your appointments. If you're like me you use a computer extensively, I sort my files by "date created" and review all my created documents. Most importantly, I review my archived email and I review every email I sent during the year.

Alongside me during this review is a legal pad. On that pad, I'm logging the most significant personal lessons I learned during the year. And I'm rehearsing and confirming their significance before I write them down. Again, you're not reviewing for anyone else so no one needs pass judgment on those lessons but you!

Here are some of the questions I ask myself as I review.
1) What was the outcome of this exchange?
2) Will that outcome matter a year from now?
3) Did this outcome challenge my faith or grow me in service?
4) Did this outcome resolve a problem or improve a relationship?
5) Did this activity overwhelm me? Was I able to give it my all?
6) Did I receive recognition or particular satisfaction from accomplishing this activity?
7) Did I enjoy doing this?

These questions can help you review those most significant personal lessons each year.

So, without further adeau, I'll share with you some of my findings from last year.

* You can provide a remarkable wedding for your daughter for about the cost of a motorcycle.

* When you're pulling off a wedding, you really get the chance to see who your true friends are.

* After the wedding, take a week off with your wife - plan a getaway during that week.

* Be sure you prepare your groom/bride's siblings for the impact of their departure.

* Great strategic planning is redundant and hard

* Changing an organization to respond to great strategic planning is harder

* My most culturally relevant moment in 2007 was watching the movie CRASH with a black man and latino. It's rated R and rough.

* God will bless a decision but He can't bless indecision - Coach Mac

* My favorite quote of the year - "On the shores of hesitation lie the bleached bones of those who waited; and waiting, died."

* Never set a goal for an area or objective for which I have little or no control

* Pain is weakness leaving your body.

* Never fell a tree or cut wood by yourself

Again, there's a story around each of these that I could probably spend the rest of the year blogging about! But the point of this is to exhort you to not overlook one of the most powerful investments you can make every year. Review you're year. Note the most significant lessons. And when you finish, take the list and file it away under Annual Rigorous Reviews. Trust me, when you get older and people around you are counting on you for wisdom and you've begun to demonstrate the early evidences of alztheimers, you'll be glad you did this!

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said.

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