The Personal Year in Review Session (to help you learn and grow)


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Today at a Glance

Review, year in review, year in review session, annual review

Today is Markus’ birthday — 43.

Another year, come and gone.

Also, the calendar year is nearing its end and presents us the valuable opportunity to reflect on the one gone and plan for the coming one.

It’s easy to tick off the former and focus on the latter. But if we fail to reflect we will eventually fail to grow.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”Margaret J. Wheatley

And we don’t do New Year’s resolutions. We found that you break most of them in a heartbeat.

Besides, January in Northern Europe is a bummer of a month. It’s cold and dark most of the time. Christmas time is cozy. It’s a hard time to be disciplined and roll out the new, better self.

Instead, we capitalize on the energy of December — the first snow, the final spurt of the year, dwelling nostalgically in the warm thoughts of traveling and adventure. We use December to look back and see the good and the ugly (but mostly the good!) of the past twelve months.

The goal of the Personal Year in Review Session isn’t self-flagellation. We use the following questions to refuel our energy and end the year on a good note.

If it was a crappy year, exercise forgiveness. If it was the year of your life, practice gratitude. If it was somewhere in between, draw your attention to the joy over the pain you experienced.

Last but not least it’s crucial to recognize what you can do better and grow from the drawbacks of the past months.

This issue shares the template for our Personal Year in Review Session. We hope that it will spark you to conduct your own before year-end, as we’re highly confident you will gain the same value that we have from the exercise.

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Here are the 7 simple questions that may change your life…

Question 1: What did I change my perspective on this year?

We often assume that we need all the answers before we can start. We think our role models have them all figured out. They don’t.

But what they do have is an open and flexible mind. A willingness to explore and change direction when they encounter that they are wrong.

They ask questions. Not for the question’s sake, but to learn and upgrade their minds. An upgraded perspective allows them to see problems from different angles and come up with creative and innovative solutions.

They embrace new perspectives as “software updates” to their brain.

The Personal Year in Review Session starts here:

What did I change my perspective on? What “software updates” did I have this year?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, what did I know for sure that just ain’t so?

If you can’t think of anything, that’s a bad thing.

Our Response: Our biggest shift happened when Ketty quit her job, we went all in with The Energy Lab and traveled through Mexico for 6 months. We had this idea for a very long time. But when you start playing the game it becomes real. It’s different than just watching from the sidelines.

You have your skin in the game and are forced to act. The perspective shift is subtle. But you feel the difference. If you just dip in your toe or do a butt-bomb — with a run-up.

Question 2: What created energy this year?

We use a framework we call the Energy Calendar (h/t Sahil Bloom):

In simple terms, the idea is that you reflect on your calendar from a day or week and color code the events according to whether they created energy (green), drained energy (red), or were neutral (yellow).

The Energy Calendar is a great, visual way to course correct on a weekly/monthly basis if there are specific activities that are highly positive or negative for your energy.

Then examine this on a macro annual scale:

  • Review your calendars from the year.
  • What activities, people, or projects consistently CREATED energy in my life?
  • Write them down.
  • Have I spent sufficient time on the energy creators or have they been neglected?

Goal: Spend more time on these in 2024!

Our Response: Our calendars from the year revealed consistent energy creation from early morning exercise time, healthy meals, and focused creative time. But also our “Daily Retreat” of 30-45 min. outdoor activity consistently gives us energy for the late afternoon hours (and better sleep).

Question 3: What drained energy this year?

Here you continue to examine your macro-scale calendar, but with a focus on the negatives:

  • Review your calendars from the year.
  • What activities, people, or projects consistently DRAINED energy from my life?
  • Write them down.
  • Did I allow the Energy Drainers to persist or did I cut them in real time?

Goal: Spend less time on these in 2024.

Our Response: Calls and video meetings depended highly on the people and topics, late heavy dinners, living in high altitude (Mexico City), dark cold weather, and projects that have fizzled out. We plan to take a few actions on this front: (1) More selective on who we meet and why; (2) More early light dinners or fasting (Ketty); and (3) Live in a place with consistent warm and sunny weather (Spain or Sicily); (4) Be more selective which projects we pursue.

Question 4: Who were the rubber bands in my life?

Rubber bands are people that hold or pull you back from your potential. You’re trying to push, full speed ahead, but they literally create a “snap back” on your life.

Rubber bands are people who will:

  • Belittle, put down, or diminish your accomplishments.
  • Laugh at your ambition and tell you to be more realistic.
  • Harm the quality of your environment through negativity and pessimism.
  • Make you feel bad by consistently showing off all they have (to remind you that you don’t have it).

Question 4 asks you to identify who they are.

Goal: Minimize or eliminate the energy you give them in 2024.

Our Response: A powerful mindset shift we need to embrace: It’s perfectly okay to let go of friendships along the journey. Just because someone was a part of your past doesn’t mean they have earned the privilege to be a part of your future. If someone is not supporting your goals and ambitions, it’s crucial to minimize the energy and mental space you invest in them. We recognized that there were individuals in our lives who once played a significant role but now bring more harm than good. They subtly undermined our aspirations or belittled our ambitious dreams. In 2024, commit to gradually separating yourself from these relationships and conversations. Remember, you don’t have to explicitly communicate your intentions to the other person, but you must be intentional about prioritizing your growth and surrounding yourself with those who uplift and inspire you.

Question 5: What did I not do because of fear?

We have to embrace our fears in order to get through them.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain

Fear warps reality — question 5 forces you to deal with it and think about it.

Dissect the fears that held you back:

  • What was the downside if you had taken action?
  • What was the upside if you had taken action?

Goal: Embrace your fears and tackle them head-on in 2024.

Our Response: Opening up online about what we aspire to create has brought in new friends, supporters, and opportunities. We’re still not entirely “building in public” but that’s our goal for 2024. We believe we can co-create a healthier planet Earth by helping as many people as possible to live a healthier life and pursue their dreams.

Question 6: What were my highest peaks and lowest valleys this year?

Your personal bias influences how you perceive your year.

  • The optimist sees all highs.
  • The pessimist sees all lows.

The objective of Question 6 is to take a balanced view.

Write them all down.

Reflect on why you summited the peaks and forded the valleys.

Our Response: Highest peaks: (1) We slow-nomaded through Mexico from East to West for 6 months, (2) 100% of our 1:1 clients were super happy and content with what they’ve accomplished, and (3) We finished the first draft of our book that we will self-publish next year. Lowest valleys: (1) We thought we would be self-sufficient within the first year without relying on savings, (2) Missed our pilot B2B project by the blink of an eye, and (3) Missed several ambitious growth targets on social media platforms.

Question 7: What did I learn this year that I didn’t know before?

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” — Socrates

The Personal Year in Review Session ends here.

Take a step back, zoom out, and regain perspective.

It’s easy to forget about our own personal growth in the day-to-day grind

Give yourself space to reflect on this one. Dig deep and think about the other questions from the exercise.

Write down what you’ve learned.

Our Response: We will detail our 23 learnings from 2023 in an upcoming issue! Stay tuned.

Conducting Your Personal Year-in-Review Session

Here again the 7 questions Personal Year in Review:

  1. What did I change my perspective on this year?
  2. What created energy this year?
  3. What drained energy this year?
  4. Who were the rubber bands in my life?
  5. What did I not do because of fear?
  6. What were my highest peaks and lowest valleys this year?
  7. What did I learn this year that I didn’t know before?

The Personal Year in Review Session is an exercise that can truly transform your life. We highly recommend it.

To maximize its benefits, consider conducting it in a small group setting. Start by going through it individually, and then gather with a small group of individuals who challenge your thinking and engage in intellectual discussions. Together, you can pressure test your ideas, question assumptions, and provide valuable feedback. This collaborative approach is an excellent way to reflect on the past year and set yourself up for a successful 2024, making it the best year of your life.

That’s it for today.

Hope you enjoyed it (and learned something new).

What’s going on in our world

This week, we made good progress in writing our book and creating valuable tools and resources for our awesome project. We are also in the process of finalizing an offer for two companies interested in collaborating with us. Additionally, we continue to share our knowledge and provide assistance to those who have connected with us through social media, particularly LinkedIn.

We have completed another 3-month coaching cycle with one of our amazing clients and now have one spot available for 1:1 work.

Before we wish you a wonderful weekend, we would like to share a podcast episode where Ketty was invited as a guest. The episode is titled “Bridging The Gap between Mind and Body Energy” and is hosted by the amazing Ambreen Nadeem. You can watch it here.

Ambreen is a psychologist and the founder of Psychology Talks. She is passionate about helping people understand psychology in their daily lives. Ambreen covers topics related to mental health and offers counseling, blogs, podcasts, and live shows to educate and assist people in their personal growth. She is also the author of the book “The Algorithm of Life.”

You can connect with Ambreen on LinkedIn here.

As always, stay fit, stay active, and enjoy your life.

Ketty & Markus

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