Media is filled with best and worst lists of 2014—best business books, worst movies, best "best of " lists, etc. Although they are momentarily appealing, they only share one person's subjective view of what good (or bad) looks like for the year.
What is more valuable is a comparison of results to goals. This is the only meaningful way to measure success and learn from the process.
Measuring your yearly accomplishments allows you to assess whether you achieve your goals. It also allows you to reflect on what what worked and didn't work and which approaches you should start, stop or continue to achieve next year's goals.
I tried a new goal setting approach this year based on a blog post by Chris Brogan written on January 1st. He recommended choosing three words "that sum up what you want to work on changing/improving in the coming year". It's a simple and effective way to prioritize, make decisions and keep track of your progress.
I chose my three words over two weeks. It was important that each one connected to my purpose of helping people and organizations be more successful by working in new ways. My three words are: purposeful, groundbreaking and global. I used them as guides as I choose how to invest my time.
Here's my assessment of my ability to achieve each one:
I had a purposeful year. The assignments I took on had meaningful goals, both for the organizations and people working on them—there were no 'change for change's sake' initiatives. Also, I took on many speaking engagements that provided immediate, positive approaches for attendees, including people going through a downsizing initiative, managers trying to motivate not-for-profit volunteers and specialists seeking to have a voice during constant change.
This was not a groundbreaking year. I did do a few new things this year including working in new industries and partnering on a keynote presentation with another author. Both broke new ground and were successful, but didn't reach the 'earth shattering' expectations I had set. I have learned that being groundbreaking in itself is not the goal, although things may be groundbreaking to achieve other goals.
I had a global year, both from business and mindset perspectives. Ninety percent of my assignments were with global organizations working on global projects. They all held fascinating challenges (and rewards) of working across multiple geographies and cultures. I have also developed many new international relationships. It's a global world and I feel good about my presence in it this year.
My analysis has taught me a lot about how choosing three words each year can guide my actions and behaviours. Taking stock at the end of the year is informing my next year's word selection too. More on them later.