I can’t believe 2014 is almost over. What an amazing year.
As we enter the holiday season and end of the year it seems appropriate and timely to write something about “completing the year.” There are some powerful and useful distinctions associated with completion that have greatly benefitted me over the years. I want to share some of these with you in this blog.
Completing a phase, period, initiative or task effectively is just as powerful and rewarding as starting or executing these effectively. However, it seems as if most people tend to focus more on the starting and executing part. We underestimate the power and value of completing things effectively, not merely finishing or ending them.
Completing a phase, period, initiative or task is very different than finishing or ending it.
We don’t have to do anything for something to end. It is the nature of the world. Things begin, go through their cycle and end. A year, a project or a lifetime, it’s all the same. But, in order to complete things – or more accurately to be complete with things we need to apply a deliberate and mindful focus and awareness.
Let’s look at 2014:
When most of us take stock of the year’s events without the distinction completion in mind we tend to focus on the cold facts of what actually happened. In that context we tend to ask ourselves things like: “What did we and didn’t we do?” and “What results were achieved?” While some people find intellectual stimulation and value in trying to represent past events in the most factual, objective and accurate way, this information does not empower or uplift our spirit and soul.
In contrast, if we look at 2014 through the lens of completion we are compelled to push our thinking and reflection beyond the cold facts of what happened to the meaning of things. We explicitly focus on, and own our relationship to what happened.
In this space we tend to ask ourselves questions such as “What did we accomplish?” “What did we learn?” “Where and how did we grow?” “How are we better, stronger and more prepared for the future?” and “Are we satisfied and complete?”
In fact, the concept of success and failure is completely an interpretation, not a fact. We can emerge feeling victorious and successful even when we don’t explicitly meet our goals. And, we can feel defeated and like failures when we did meet our goals. The feeling of success or failure is determined by the completion conversation.
Completing the past enables us to put things in the right perspective and place. It helps us to put the past in the past so we can be free to focus on the future with a clean slate. When we see the past as complete we are always left feeling stronger and more empowered and excited about the future.
However, when we leave things incomplete, past incompletions tend to haunt us and cloud our thoughts, plans and aspirations for the future. We tend to become more hesitant because of past failures and/or blindly confident because of past successes. In both cases, we are reacting to our past and that is sub-optimal and de-energizing.
The good news is that we all have the ability to bring completion to the past at any moment of our journey, no matter what happened and what we are dealing with. We just need to take stock of the past, draw empowering conclusions from its events and then declare the past complete. It requires taking a stand. And, this takes courage. But, we can all do it if we want to empower ourselves.
As we are ending 2014, I am inviting you to reflect on your year. First, make the list of what happened. It’s useful to start there. But don’t end there. Ask yourself:
- What did I accomplish?
- What did I learn?
- Where and how did I grow and improve in the areas I care about?
- How did I forward my bigger personal and professional vision and purpose?
- What am I most grateful for?
- Who do I want to acknowledge, recognize or thank? (Make sure you tell them.)
Once you declare 2014 complete, you will feel a sense of peace, emptiness, calmness, centeredness and focus. In that space you can powerfully start creating next year to be your best year ever.
Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season and happy new year!