While each season has its special delights and hazards (Spring allergies, anyone? Slipping on Winter’s ice? Enduring Summer’s humid heat?) I’m especially partial to Autumn. With mild temperatures, shifting light and vibrant, earthy tones, it’s a pleasure to experience it outdoors. And, between Autumn and year-end we’re bombarded with so many holidays to enjoy.
Yet, there are other ways to view Autumn, including a sense of panic that the year-end is approaching with little remaining time to complete ambitious goals that seemed so possible last December and January. If the unexpected emergency or opportunity showed up to need your immediate attention, taking your focus off the goals you pledged to achieve, here are some tips to remove the sense of pressure and end the year feeling accomplished and satisfied:
- Who cares?
I don’t mean to sound flippant but the question is reasonable. It’s possible your goals included recovering financial or marketplace losses, repaying debt, replacing a failed product/service offering. Maybe it didn’t happen as you envisioned yet it’s also very likely you made considerable headway, if not complete adjustment. Consider the reality that you made it to the extent you have, despite a changing environment, continued supply chain issues, the great resignation, employees who have bolted against a return to workplace norms and continued and changing Covid concerns. Sometimes, being aware of the planning, momentum, teamwork and overall effort that took place in the midst of daily, necessary operations deserves a major pat on the back – at least once.
- Look for the unexpected success
I’ll bet you have team members who, in addition to their daily tasks, have done something of which you’re unaware. Did someone learn to use a new tool? Streamline an operation? Re-organize a cabinet? Freshen some inventory? Reach out to dormant accounts? Without regular meetings, performance review or your pointed ‘what’s new or changed?’ inquiries, these could be unsung contributions others’ made on behalf of your business and your acknowledgement will not only make them feel great, it’ll uplift your spirit as well, realizing you have a team that wants to contribute.
- How can your team step up to support and contribute to company goals?
Speaking of contributions, while it’s great to find the surprises, it’s even better when you can direct your employees to do those specific things that will contribute to your next set of goals. And these are often agreed upon in performance review meetings. Do they know what you’ve been working towards all year? Do they know how they can speed the process through their job functions or initiatives? Keep the team aware of where the company is headed; employees love to contribute and then have those contributions acknowledged (and, of course, it’s a great win for you, too!)
- Applaud more often by breaking down the big, long-term goals into smaller, short-term wins
And, speaking of big picture goals, their distant deadline may sometimes make you forget what you’re working towards and why. That’s why we recommend breaking them down into smaller increments of 30 days; it makes it so much easier to see the connections between what you did last month and your ability to move ahead with the current goal. And, even better, it gives you far more reasons to feel great about a new, interim achievement!
- Let the pressure go
Finally, if the approaching year-end is bringing you down because the expectations with which you started this year have not come to pass, keep in mind: you’ve achieved far more than you often realize. The deadlines you imposed may have been unrealistic, thwarted by external and unexpected factors. And, worst of all: the pressure or disappointment you feel may be yours alone; let it go. Focus on all that was achieved, the opportunities to learn from setbacks, the continued growth – business and personal – ahead.