Your Year in Review

With only 30 days left left until a new year, it is that time where people start to take stock of what they have done and look ahead to what can be. As you reflect on this journey, we encourage you to take an integrity check or to develop a habit of appreciation by creating a Gratitude Jar.

As you celebrate festivities with family and friends, celebrate the past 12 months as well – you deserve it! Reviewing your year is a great exercise of mindfulness and living in integrity.

In this post you will find, 17 questions to help guide you in reflecting on the past year. We invite you to sit down with a warm cup of cocoa with your journal and pen to write out your responses, or to think about them in your head.

Read over these 10 questions that get you ready for 2018, here!

17 Questions for 2017

  1. What was your proudest accomplishment this year, either personal or career related?
  2. What are three words that would describe your year?
  3. What did you learn about yourself this year?
  4. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
  5. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
  6. What were some of your core values that stuck with you in tough times?
  7. What topics did you enjoy learning most about?
  8. What habits did you intentionally create and keep in 2017?
  9. What advice would you give your early 2017 self?
  10. What is your biggest disappointment or regret this year?
  11. How did you manage your stress level this year?
  12. What held you back this past year?
  13. Where did you find inspiration this year?
  14. When was a time this year that you felt inspired about the work that you do?
  15. In what ways did you change the lives of others this year?
  16. In what area do you feel you have improved in the most?
  17. What was your aha moment of the year?

Where we found inspiration for our questions:

A Few Words from Paul: Risk is Scary

Risk is scary.

Like watching a movie when you know something is about to jump out, but they keep you waiting and waiting and waiting until BOOM! That kind of scary. I get tingles in my stomach just thinking about it. Why do so many of us feel this way about risk?

I think I know why.

How would you like to be running for President these days? How would you like to be running for anything in the public eye? Shoot, just think of how long you wait before posting something on social media that could be perceived as “edgy” or controversial. Or maybe you don’t do any of that and just sit tight in your own little nest we call the comfort zone. Ahhhh.

It is so hard to take a risk for fear of being seen unfavorably. In fact, I believe it keeps us from living in possibility.

LSH-all-banners-LO-RES-13Don’t do anything stupid. Make sure the right lens filter is used for your picture. Double check your spelling. Ugh. It is so tiring having to spend so much time to be seen in a good light. And what does it do for us other than perpetuate the myth that we all have it figured out and we are perfect. Worse yet, it encourages us to be right and never be wrong. If I don’t risk speaking out or sharing myself, I will never be criticized or judged. No chance of messing up.

In an age where everything we do is monitored digitally, we can’t afford a mess up because it will eventually come out when we do something big, public, or courageous. Risk is something we just can’t afford. Or can we?

What if we all got a little bold, a little brave, a little less concerned about the outcome, a little more inclined to jump first and show the way? What sort of world would that be? I know it would be a messy world for sure. We would make a lot of mistakes. We would be held accountable…and, we may just achieve a breakthrough.

That is the cost associated with not taking a risk. We will never know what could have been.

We ask Institute participants, “What would the world look like if everyone led with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible?”

We will never know until we take a risk and try.


Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.

A Few Words from Paul: Time

How do you get something that is hard to find, contrary to how we typically think, and absolutely essential to us learning and growing?

I’m talking about the space to reflect. To stop. To get off the treadmill and think about what is going on.

At the Institute, we build in time for reflection as a part of the curriculum. I think about this often when we look at adding something new to the curriculum because often reflection is the first thing we think about removing when we need more time. Just like training is the first thing to go when budgets are tight, or time with your partner is sacrificed for the kids, or working out gets put aside when you have a deadline at the office.

Stephen Covey speaks about putting the “big rocks” into your day before the “small rocks” take up all of your space. What are your big rocks? Are you making the time to address these big, important issues that are essential to your happiness and success?

My guess is that we all struggle with this. In fact, I think we stress about it so much that we give up and go back to playing Pokémon Go. We engage in distraction that eases our pain, takes away the pressure, and keeps us busy on the “small rocks.

So how do we take time to reflect, train, think, exercise, and such?
I would suggest that LSH-all-banners-LO-RES-5we get clear on two things that drive every decision we make – pain and pleasure. Most everything we do is driven either by what pleasure we get from that activity or what pain we avoid by not doing that activity. Once we get clear about whether pain or pleasure is driving our decision making, we can begin to think about how we structure our day. We can begin to make decisions that focus on the pleasure we get more than the pain we avoid.

When we get to the point that we enjoy taking time to reflect more than we fear the pain of missing the next Twitter conversation about House of Cards, we begin to put those “big rocks” into our lives that ultimately result in new learning, new habits, new perspectives.

I’m not saying that we should completely avoid distraction or not be motivated by pain. I am merely suggesting that choosing to focus on what is truly important today that also makes us very happy is a heck of a way to go through life. It beats being busy in minutiae, high blood pressure, eating donuts, and being exhausted with nothing to show for it after years and years of doing so.

How am I choosing to use my time?
What am I choosing to do with the time I have?
And, are my choices reflecting my purpose and values?

That, my friends, is living and leading with integrity.

Reflect on that for a bit and keep your head up when you are searching for Pokémon.

Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.