As we enter December I want to say “kudos” to my fellow business professionals and entrepreneurs. Most of you have more than survived 2015, and you will be celebrating the upcoming 2016 with gusto. Getting to where you are today has probably not been without its trials… and errors. But, like most of us, you have learned from your mistakes and enjoyed successes.
What, specifically, have you learned this past year? What events are noteworthy? What would you want to tell someone so they could profit from your experiences?
You Have a Story to Tell
Often we get so caught up in our every day routines that we forget to look back at the events that have gotten us to where we are today. What events occurred this past year that have contributed to your success? To answer that question, make December a month of reflection. Here are a few questions you might consider:
· Who has supported you during the past year? Your spouse? A mentor, colleague or business coach? A religious leader? A friend or neighbor?
The list is endless. Who would you list as members of your support team?
· What difficulties have you faced and how did you overcome them? Were finances a struggle? Did you have family situations you had to deal with? Have you had a difficult time reaching your business goals?
Once you have identified the trials you endured, list the steps you took to overcome them. Save your list for future recollection.
· What successes have you enjoyed? Did you have a child graduate from high school or college? Did you make some business decisions that had a positive effect on your job? Have you reached personal goals you set for yourself?
As you reflected on the bulleted items, I’m sure more thoughts came to your mind of things that had both a positive and negative impact on you. I encourage you to capture those thoughts by writing or recording them so you can share them with others.
Share Your Story
I often hear people say, “Who would want to read about the things I have done in my life?” To them I respond, “The people you love and who love and respect you.” Your children and grandchildren will want to know and learn more about you and the values you hold true. Your posterity can learn from your experiences.
Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” By sharing your life stories with your children and grandchildren you can help them endure the hard times in their lives. Your stories can help to strengthen their resolve in trying times and provide solutions to similar problems.
Sharing your life stories allows your posterity to know you better and to gain a respect for who you are. Your life stories will provide them with a legacy that is about more than the fame or fortune you may have achieved - it is about the life you have lived.
Set aside time each day or week for reflection. Perhaps it will be first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night. Maybe every Sunday would better fit your schedule. The important thing is to just do it!
During this time write your thoughts down. Whether you write a paragraph or two or a page or two, it doesn’t matter. Soon it will become a habit. Just think - in a year you will have enough memories captured to create a book of your life stories. You can then have them professionally bound, or you can fill a binder.
During this time of introspection don’t limit yourself to just this past year. Instead, take a journey down memory lane recounting early adulthood, adolescence, and childhood events. What occurred during those years that influenced you to become the person you are today?
Sometimes it is difficult to remember the things that have occurred during those years, and if you are like many of us, you may not have kept a journal. That’s why I wrote the book, Your Legacy, Your Life, to provide various activities that will help jog your memory. The book will guide you through the various life stages and provides memory prompts to help you recall those important events.
Taking the time to capture your life stories can be an introspective activity that will help you better understand why you do the things you do, both productive and non-productive, good and bad. It’s a great way to identify the things you need to improve on so you can make 2016 the best year ever. Most importantly, sharing your stories with others provides a gift that will be cherished for generations to come.
Lyn Fisher is the author of Your Legacy, Your Life and I Wish You Happiness: Creating an Ethical Will for the People You Love. She is the president of YL Enterprises and co-creator of http://YourLegacyYourLife.com website developed to help people capture their memories and family stories before it is too late. She is a successful entrepreneur and founder of four business ventures.