Hi there, good to be back. In my previous articles, I shared my thoughts regarding the Education Sector. However, my next 2 articles will be focused on Self-Leadership. So, lets start with The Art Of Self-Audit.
As this tough and turbulent year wraps up, it is expedient to carry out a comprehensive audit of our lives in preparation for 2021.
Reports from around the world paint a clear picture of how challenging 2020 has been. As at mid-December, almost 1.8 million deaths have been recorded from coronavirus. There has been an unprecedented decline in the employment rates of countries; for example over 1.69 million people are currently unemployed in the UK, it is projected to hit 2.1 million by mid-2021. In America, the number of persons currently unemployed stands at over 7.1 million as of November 2020. The story is not different in other countries including China and our own Nigeria were unemployment rate rose to 27.1%. In addition, many economies have slipped into depression and numerous businesses especially MSMEs have become bankrupt.
However, we can count these losses because we are still here. That in itself is a feat to celebrate. As we move forward, one question to ask ourselves is “What can we do differently in 2021 to make it a better experience for us?” In my opinion, it begins with a candid evaluation of the ending year. This time of the year reminds me of the words of Tony Buon, who said, “Great leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study and reflection.” Concluding 2020 with an honest review of your life prepares you to take on the new year with a clear sense of purpose and revived vigour.
Have you ever used a hand-held catapult? It is a small hand-powered projectile weapon that consists of a Y-shaped frame with two natural-rubber strips attached to the uprights. The other ends of the strips lead to a pocket that holds the projectile (maybe a stone or pebble). The dominant hand grasps the pocket and draws it back to the desired extent to provide enough power for the projectile. This is the science behind it, the more rearward the sling is pulled, the farther the stone will go, i.e. to go farther, you’ll need to pull far backwards. That is how life is sometimes, there’s a need to pause and deliberately glance back to go forward.
In reality, 2020 is now part of our history, but there is value in looking back at the events of the year to help us make informed decisions moving forward. The power of Self-Reflection cannot be overemphasized. It helps you to see yourself the way you really are. This way, you can properly audit your life and make informed projections for the coming year.
Most organizations review their activities in the year by carrying out annual audits. As we speak, many businesses are undergoing this exercise. The term “audit” usually refers to the examination of the financial report of an organisation and the evaluation of its departments – by someone (or an audit firm) independent of that organisation to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These audit firms are some of the biggest companies in the world as they are in high demand because of the services they deliver.
If organizations need to audit themselves, why shouldn’t individuals like you and I do the same to improve our effectiveness? Your life is your first business, you should borrow this practice and evaluate key areas of your life to honestly ascertain how you fared this year. Before I go on, let me remind you not to be too hard on yourself. You have done well to have made it this far, what is important now is drawing the necessary lessons to prepare for a better year in 2021.
You may ask; How do I do a proper audit of my life in 2020? Among others, here are 3 areas I encourage you to examine.
- Your Relationships
I cannot overemphasize the importance of building and maintaining the right relationships. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” To a large extent, your future can be predicted by the quality of people you surround yourself with. I am not talking about your acquaintances, I mean people John Maxwell refers to as your “inner circle”. Take a look at them; which toxic associations should you end? Which ones add value to you and need to be strengthened? As you commit to making progress in life, you must understand that mutually beneficial relationships ultimately lead to living a truly value-adding life. So, audit your relationships dispassionately.
- Your Learnings
2020 has taught us all a lot of lessons. One fact that was reinforced for me is that life is in phases and every phase will outlive its time. No matter how terrible a season is, it will surely “come to pass.” So what did 2020 teach you? What would you consider a learning curve this year? Also, what skills did you acquire? It doesn’t have to be a grand professional expertise; it could be cooking, driving, swimming or playing a musical instrument. Whatever it is, be sure to take these lessons to heart, using them to fuel your resolve for a better experience in 2021.
- Your Performance
It’s human nature to always have our sight on “what’s next”. But you need to appreciate what you’ve done to motivate yourself to do more. There’s also no need to be self-condemning. Just ask yourself these few questions and answer honestly; How much effort and energy did I put into this year? How well did I do with the goals I set for myself? Questions like these will help you evaluate your performance, identify your accomplishments and areas for improvement. This will position you to perform better next year.
Talking about appraising one’s performance, let me leave you with a story I came across some time ago. A little boy went into a drug store. Climbing a soda carton he pulled over to the telephone booth and dialed a number. When a lady picked up, the boy asked, ”Hello ma’am, can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?” The woman said, “No I already have someone for the job.” The little boy pushed further and said, “I will cut your lawn for half the price you are currently paying.” The lady responded, “I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.” Again the boy persisted saying “I’ll even sweep your curb and your sidewalk and….” The woman cuts in, “No, thank you”. The call ended and the little boy smiled as he replaced the phone receiver. The shop owner who observed the boy’s persistence all through the conversation and surprised to see his smile afterwards walked up to him and said: “Son, I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.” To his amazement, the boy said: “No thanks, I don’t need a job.” He continued “I was just checking my performance at the job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!” The boy called in to get a verbal appraisal for his job. That right there is an aspect of Self-Audit.
Friend, don’t shy away from having this end of the year honest meeting with yourself. It is one sure way to make 2021 a better year.
Remember, You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!