In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese for ‘self reflection’. Hansei (反射) allows us to review goals set and reflect on how they went to see what worked so we can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so we can adjust and change direction.
I started publishing my annual review on my blog 3 years ago. See annual reviews from past years below,
Like many other bloggers and writer’s whose annual reviews I have read over the past few days, I am struggling to write this year’s review. 2016 in some ways felt like planet earth had been tilted off her axis!
Personally 2016 got off to a rocky start. I was unemployed (due to redundancy) and my beloved Dad was facing his second open heart surgery in January. Thankfully as the year went on it took a more positive direction for me as my Dad’s health continued to go from strength to strength and I started work with an exciting company committed to growth and committed to the change required to sustain that growth – #daa (Dublin Airport Authority).
I don’t think this positive change of direction was reflected globally as throughout 2016 we, as a planet and a race, struggled with the loss of many of our gifted stars from various genres, war, poverty, terrorism on a larger scale than I can ever remember, various forms of inequality and the results of the American election. Globally as personally there is much work to do in 2017.
A part of me would prefer to forget the annual review for 2016, move into 2017 and hope the global challenges faced by our planet and fellow human beings do not follow us into 2017. However, if life has taught me anything, it is that when we are faced with challenges it is then that we need to take a firm stand and plough on through!
So here goes, in no particular order, my annual review for 2016.
Destinations Mike and I visited this year include Abu Dhabi, Lanzerote and Cardiff. We also spent a few long weekends away around Ireland most notably enjoying a heatwave on Inis Mor during the hottest weekend in Ireland in years. Part of my goals for 2016 was to write more travel blog posts and so here are 2 blog posts I wrote on 2 interesting destinations with contrasting beauty – Abu Dhabi and Inis Mor.
Travel continues to be one of my passions in life, however time away from long haul travel has allowed me to focus on building my second website – more about that below! #Lean
Taking time to focus on building my new website also meant I didn’t do as much photography as previous years. Part of this focus was learning more about and growing my online presence.
Thanks to Michael Hyatt’s amazing book Platform, I learned more about growing a social media presence this year than I have learned in the previous many years since launching this blog.
If you are a blogger, writer or any type of a business owner and want to know more about growing your blog, readership and business through social media, I highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and the wisdom shared is easy to implement.
I worked with some friends on personal photo shoots this year which I enjoyed immensely and also was photographer on my very first fashion shoot with my friend Fiona Hayes from FHStyle and stunning model Becky Costelloe. Check out one of the many newspaper articles that covered images from our shoot. Watch this space 🙂
This year one of my goals was to understand more about personal finance. In this quest, I read Tony Robbins book ‘Money Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom’
Tony is a master when it comes to finance and in this book he not only shares his own wisdom but also leverages the wisdom of many of the world’s finest financial advisors to share their advice, insights and experience. Tony’s book is written in an easy to understand format for all levels of wealth which is why I liked it so much.
I have always known this but 2016 made me more acutely aware that no matter how much you earn or how much is in your bank account it doesn’t make you happy, make you a good person or heal you when you are ill.
In 2016 I continued to learn about social media platforms that I have been using for a long time and also started using new social media platforms – each new social media platform brings a new learning curve.
Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media and digital marketing the more I realise I don’t know.
Throughout most of 2016 I posted daily inspirational quotes to various social media platforms teaching me much about posting, scheduling and outsourcing on social media platforms – here is a 4 part blog series I wrote on these subjects last year. Social media changes each and every day and so there is always much to learn.
As mentioned above I started the year unemployed having been made redundant by a company that neither valued me or my skills. Professionally there are very few things worse than getting up every morning and going to a job where your skills, experience and contribution are not valued. From personal experience I can tell you it is soul destroying. This is the antithesis of a Lean culture where not only is every single employee respected and valued but they are developed, mentored and empowered to become the very best they can be.
I have been interested in and have been studying Lean for many years and my experience of being made redundant has made me even more committed to sharing the positive benefits of a Lean culture which I will do through my new website. Launch date yet to be confirmed, I am aiming for early January! Watch this space!
I am now blessed, lucky and grateful to be working for an exciting and growing company that not only understand that they need to change to grow and sustain growth but take focused and prioritised action to do so. This commitment to sustainable growth is what separates companies that change from those that don’t. #daa #GreatPlaceToWork
In 2016 I have become more aware than ever that so many people in our world struggle in circumstances that make no sense in such an abundant world – homelessness, refugeeism, inequality in all shapes and forms and politics driven by greed and power.
It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2016 but didn’t give as much in donations or time as I would have hoped. This is something I certainly need to work on in the coming year.
In January 2016 my beloved Dad faced open heart surgery for the 2nd and was by far the most significant event of my life in 2016. Everything else that happened in 2016 paled in comparison and significance.
There is no greater pain than watching someone you love and adore battling an illness. My Dad’s surgery and subsequent recovery has made me intensely aware of and grateful for every breath and every day my family and I spend illness free
For me, it is nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit that keeps everything else in good health.
‘Health is Wealth’ is a well known saying that is so so true. If you or one of your loved ones are sick there is no money in the world can give you or your loved ones back the health once enjoyed. I have always been aware of this saying and seem to hear it many times but it has never made more sense to me than it has in the past few years as I have watched family and family friends battling illnesses.
Just like the world of Lean and Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 20 metrics across 7 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2016 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow – slow but steady!
I also track metrics for each area of my life as in the sections above. This may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from them, they can become quiet addictive! #Lean
That’s it, 2016 was like most years, full of ups and downs.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.
May 2017 be a transformational year for you all.
Always remember small consistent changes will lead to huge transformations.
A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who shares this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt THANK YOU to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.
x x x
Note: The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.
Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years. Chris’s 2016 annual review can be found here which will give you an insight into why I follow him and why I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration for visiting every country in the world, he is a very inspirational guy!