Take the scenic route
“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfilment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade,” said British horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll about the month of June. I do not know the first thing about horticulture, but I know she was on to something.
The eternal pessimist in me often grieves at endings long before they have arrived, so it’s often with a sense of joy and foreboding in equal measures welcome June, much too aware that after the first few weeks will come the Summer Solstice – the very sign, if you ever needed one, that all good things will come to an end, surely as spring follows winter, summer too shall fade away. Or perhaps in English poet Andrew Marvell’s words, “But at my back I always hear, Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near.”
While Marvell speaks of the virtues of seizing the day and making the most of world’s pleasure before Time’s winged chariot catches up with us, strategising for tomorrow is almost as much, if not more, important as seizing the day. Hence, for me, June always brings with it a mid-year assessment. I believe there is no time like mid-year, to reassess and recalibrate, if needs be, to forge ahead with revised and brand new plans for personal and professional development.
There are a few questions I find key in this exercise:
What did I set out to do?
Remind yourself of the start of the fresh, new year like the crisp white pages of a new diary or calendar. What did you have planned for the year ahead in terms of personal and professional plans? What were your New Year’s resolutions? What were the major tasks and goals you set yourself? Come June, take out a new sheet of paper and write all this down as the first step of your mid-year appraisal.
How much did I achieve?
There is no use waiting till the end of the year to give yourself an account of the year gone by, you may as well have a review mid-year to see how much you’ve accomplished of what you set out to do and how much you’ve still got left to achieve. Breaking the year in two parts will make it easier to have a clear vision of your road map and milestones and help you reassess the journey.
What will you tweak?
There is no progress without acknowledging the pitfalls along the way whether it was the goals you failed to accomplish or challenges you fell short of. Acknowledgement makes room for growth and sometimes it means you have to take a few steps back to leap forward.
Where are you heading?
It is sometimes likely to start the year with a goal in mind and wake up somewhere along the line to find out it has completely changed. This may be on a personal or a professional level. Say, you may have started the year with a plan to relocate out of your city or even country and you were promoted at work which had meant staying put. Or perhaps you had a significant other you were planning to take your relationship to the next stage with which has since fallen through… A mid year plan is the perfect way to recover from the setbacks or rejoice in the accomplishments while mapping out how they will impact on the rest of they year.
What’s the rush?
Ultimately the most important question you need to ask yourself during this exercise. We get so caught up in our plans, strategising for the future that, any little setback can seriously frustrate us. The aim of a mid year assessment is not to create another opportunity – like we needed any more! – to have a go at yourself for plans not actioned or resolutions not kept. It is essential that you take a step back, take it easy and take some time out to seize the day while you’re strategising for tomorrow. After all, if you’ve got a road map in place; what’s the rush? You might as well occasionally take the scenic route without losing sight of the destination.