‘Taking Stock’ comes originally from the retail industry, where periodically the stock or (goods in the stockroom) are counted and valued. Just as a retailer is forced to evaluate their purchase decisions whilst adding up the value of their stock, (which quite frankly is lame liquidity), taking stock refers to people evaluating what has already happened and thinking ahead.
I was at a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, and the local radio station asked to interview me about Christmas. I’m sure they were expecting to hear about preparations, excited children, and decorating the tree, but instead they got something that took them a little by surprise. Because for me, while Christmas is certainly about all that, it’s also time to take stock of the year for my business, and start looking ahead.
I take stock by examining what’s gone well, what my key successes have been, and what I want more of in the future. I notice everything I’ve learned, the key skills I’ve developed, and experience I’ve gained. Then I consider what’s gone less well, what’s made me frustrated or disappointed, or when I’ve been let down. The whole process can take a few days as I let it all sink in and consider what I need to learn from the highs and the lows, in order to move forward.
Once I’ve taken stock, I start to look to the year ahead. Where do I want my business to be this time next year? What do I need to do in order to make that a reality? How can I use what I’ve learned this year to help me? Is anything that held me back last year, still an issue this year? Or have things changed? All of these considerations help me to formulate a plan to get ahead and keep on track when life inevitably gets in the way.
Where is your career path taking you?
Are you driving your career, or is your employer driving your career?
Are your clients driving your business?
Are stakeholders or shareholders driving your start up?
Are you in control of your career?
So now it’s your turn. (grab yourself a pen and paper)
1. What’s gone well for you this year?
2. What (or who?) would cause you to run for the hills if you had to do it again?
3. And what of the year ahead?
4. Are you prepared to continue working in the same role, with the same people, dealing only with people who speak your language?
Or are you looking to branch out into global projects with multinational teams?
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What do you want to be looking back on this time next year?