Yesterday, a client – let’s call her Fiona – contacted me to set up her next session. I asked her if she’d had a good Christmas and how she’d spent New Year’s Eve.
‘Lovely Christmas, thanks. As for New Year, well, we had great plans to spend it reviewing 2017 and planning the coming year for our business as well as for the family. The children were all set for a sleepover with their cousins, I’d printed out a huge document I found online with questions for us to work through, we’d got a simple but delicious meal planned and a bottle of fizz on ice for midnight.
‘And then a sickness bug came along and all those plans went out of the window!’ Fiona laughed. ‘So we’re now back at work, the children are back at school later in the week and that document is gathering dust on the dining table along with the Christmas letters I never got round to sending out.’
‘Are you planning on completing the document?’ I asked.
‘Honestly? No. I just can’t see us having the time – the website said to allow 3 hours to make the exercise worthwhile. I’ve got about 20 minutes! Got any ideas?’
We continued to chat and by the end of our conversation, I did indeed have some ideas. If, like Fiona, you would like a quick but meaningful exercise to help you reflect and look ahead, read on!
Whilst talking I’d doodled ’20’ on my notepad and that had led me to doodle ‘2018’ too. Because I like a visual pun, I came up with 6 questions, each with 3 responses, so that we have 20 minutes to find 18 answers. Grab a pen and paper, set a timer and you’re off:
Question 1: write down three things which went well in 2017
Question 2: write down three things which were challenging in 2017
Question 3: write down the names of three people who made a positive difference to you in 2017
Question 4: write down three areas in which you would like to develop (professionally or personally) in 2018
Question 5: write down three specific goals you’d like to achieve in 2018
Question 6: write down three ways in which you’d like to make a positive difference in 2018
This is a deliberately speedy exercise – go with your first responses, no over-thinking. Your answers are headlines, not in-depth editorial pieces. Once it’s done, set it aside for a few days. When you’re ready, re-read it and put some action points in your calendar.
I emailed the questions over to Fiona yesterday lunchtime and she got in touch this morning to let me know that she and her husband had both done the 20:18 exercise last night. ‘It felt great just to get some words down on paper. We worked on it separately so we’re planning on finding another 20 minutes at the weekend to read each other’s notes and make some plans.’
Today’s pebble for your thoughts: will you take 20 minutes to find 18 answers to help you craft 2018?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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