“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs
Happy New Year! Ah, the first week of January. Most offices are a buzz with tales of holiday fun and chatter about the upcoming year. It’s no wonder. January was named for the Roman god Janus – the god of beginnings and endings.
By next week, most of us will be fully into the new year and last year will rapidly fade into the depths of our memories. Yet, January is the perfect time to time to reflect on the past. After all, the past is where we can learn from our successes and mistakes.
Five years ago today, I founded Red Zebra Coaching & Consulting. Back then, I knew where I wanted the business to go. I had a business plan!
Yet, life is funny in that it doesn’t always go according to plan. As such, the company has evolved in a way that I never anticipated. Similar to the Steve Jobs quote – I now see the dots connecting in ways I never would have been able to design.
Thankfully, I have had an agile approach to business planning, which was critical for the company (and my sanity). It also guided me into amazing opportunities – like speaking at UCSF’s Mission Bay Gala in front of 1,000 people or meeting Lori Greiner from ABC’s Shark Tank. Most importantly, it’s afforded me the honor of being invited into so many of my clients’ businesses to support their growth. That’s what I truly enjoy!
This week, I’ve spent time thinking about the highs and lows over the last few years – what went well and what could I have done differently. I know that knowledge will be invaluable in the future.
The power of reflection comes in the learning and application. Here are some quick tips for you:
- Take time to reflect. Look back at your dots. How have they connected? What have you learned? Look at what worked well and what you could have done differently.
- Set goals and create a plan for the new year. What you can do to apply your learnings from the past?
- Be flexible. You may have to adapt your plan to a changing environment.
- Celebrate small wins. Small wins create momentum and lead to big wins. Always check in with what you learned!
On Red Zebra’s fifth anniversary, I wanted to say thank you to the clients and supporters of the company. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with each of you. Here’s to many more of our successes! Cheers!
Pictures from the UCSF Gala