Before we roll into 2020 with a new vision and a new decade, stop and have a good look at 2019.

Celebrate all of the successes you created. Take time to give yourself positive feedback on the year you just manifested.

  • What did you do well? Start listing! Don’t stop until you reach at least 30. You can do this, easy.
  • What would you like to do more of?
  • What projects do you want to pick back up again in 2020? Expand? Fine-Tune?
  • What distractions do you want to clear out?
  • Come up with an overall theme for the year you just achieved and celebrate it tonight. Maybe it was the “Year of Engagement” “Social Media Development Year” “Wrote my First Book Year” “Broke $100,000” “Broke $1,000,000” 

If you are looking back at 2019 with discouragement and disappointment, I suspect a couple of things are going on:

You are filtering out the good, the awesome, the value. (That is what gets filtered out by negative emotion.)

You have a disempowering definition of failure.

And, you could use a bit of support. Support is everywhere.

I used to think failure was a person. Me. How did this happen? Over time, my business (back when I was a website designer) stopped being a separate entity and became me. So that when a failure happened in my business, instead I said to myself, I am a failure. This level of associating into your business often happens for solopreneurs but can also be a real risk with owners or upper management of larger businesses as well.

I could not quit. Close my business. Quitting meant that I was wrong, that I was failing, that I had wasted time and money and stress on being a failure. As this went on, I could not even change directions let alone pivot. Any admission of “wrong” meant I was wrong – as a person. Back then I could not hear the lie in this belief.  Cue the burnout story!

And that also prevented me from realizing truth.

Failure is brilliant.

Success is NOT the absence of failure. Success is built on a foundation of many failures and adjustments. Success is not perfection – it is meeting (and sometimes exceeding) expectations.

The best way to build a triumphant, magnificent business (and life) is to seek out failure like you are on a treasure hunt. Each week find the most valuable failure you can find and dive into it. Now that does not mean go out there and create failures on purpose. It means allowing yourself to be aware of them. And to be brave enough to create them. I think it is a Google statement that “50% of your goals should have a 50% chance of failure.” I like that. It reminds you to be bold, play, test things out. And to expect things to be… less than perfection.

Allow yourself to be aware of the failures, mishaps, screw ups.

At first that can sound scary, I know. The instinctive reaction may be to pretend nothing is wrong, plug your ears and yell la-la-la when failure tries to show up. Until, that is, we realize that failure is data, feedback, hugely valuable, one of the best ways to improve and fine-tune what we do!

Remove the negative emotion through this Perspective Exercise.

Failure shows us what needs improvement. When you can proactively find things that did go wrong – or almost went wrong, they are filled with learnings and growth that give you inside information into what will be a true improvement.

What would have made this work?

Did I forget a step? 

Should I build clearer expectations in advance?

What positive learnings can I take from this?

How should I edit my client process? My offerings? 

Who can help me turn this from an issue to an opportunity?

These days if I cannot see failure, I go looking for it. (Because it is there! Humans, remember.)

I actually have a coaching session (or two) in my breakthrough process that starts with:

How satisfied are you with our progress?

Are we progressing fast enough?

What would you like to be different, faster, slower?

What is missing?

What are the best/worst things so far?

Where to Look – a Scavenger Hunt

A/R not being paid

Client giving you a hard time

You are not tracking progress

Working too many hours

Guilt

Spouse seems disgruntled

Worrying when you are not at work

Feelings: isolation, fear, doubt

Overspending in advance

Can’t get testimonials

Anxiety

Aversion to the phone

Things taking longer than expected

You lie when asked “How is it going?”

Now here is a secret: do this exercise WITH someone else. It feels safer, it brings in empathy, acceptance and an added energy of problem-solving creativity.

Make it a habit. And, do the same for them.