Monday, December 15, 2014

Reflect and Prepare

The end of the year seems to be the time we instinctively tend to reflect on the year we've just experienced. On one hand you want to reflect back on the good times and try to forget the bad. For those in high school or college this time of year provides a valuable gift, time. For those in the workplace there's the rare opportunity for some PTO.

Allowing time to reflect and look forward allows you to learn from your mistakes and act quickly before you make them again. What makes this time so precious is that there's enough of it to be able to do both.  The key is to take the time and do it. As you look back on this last semester, what were the factors that lead to your success?  It's not about having the right teacher or set of circumstances. It's about your actions and your choices. Did you do everything you could to get the outcome you wanted?

As an instructor I see examples of missed opportunities with nearly every student work product. Students go through the assignments too quickly or obviously don't understand the material (and won't ask for help or follow up when offered). Even things like missing class or spending the class time on Social media are missed opportunities to engage. Teachers notice how their students are responding and You better believe all of it directly impacts your grades. 

The same is true for those in the working world. Those around you know whether you are in the zone or phoning it in. They know who they can count on for quality work and who they can't. Those who can't be trusted are the first ones let go when the company is looking to trim the fat.

Here's the good news, a new opportunity is a calendar page turn away. How can you learn from your mistakes and deliberately set yourself up to be successful in the new year? Here's some things to think about it: What will your schedule look like? Do you anticipate a heavy workload in a particular class or work group?  What expectations should you have of your teachers/co-workers and what should they expect from you?  Be honest with yourself about your ability to perform and communicate. If you take the time to prepare yourself for the next challenge you may be able to achieve something that didn't seem possible at the end of the fall term. 

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