Ellen SaksenEllen Saksen

It's That Time of Year...Reviews and Retrospection

The end of the year naturally forces at least a modicum of reflection in most individuals. To look back over a period of time and make an evaluation is healthy and smart - just like I assume most business traveling women like myself strive to be.

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The questions we face now might involve taking a risk and aiming for a bigger position with more responsibility, asking for a raise, trying to rationalize how we missed goals, or maybe deciding to leave an employer (because few raises can compete with a salary bump when you jump ship). Heady stuff.

I asked our amazing community of accomplished business-traveling women at Go Jane Go for some help with my own end-of-year evaluations and I got this great advice:

1. Dial a Friend - I personally always start here. I'm fortunate to have women in my life I look up to in matters of career and life. I call them often. They are the inspiring forces in my lives who know how to help me measure my ambitions and goals against my fear and impatience. When is it worth the wait? When is it time to jump?

2. Crowdsource - I have the luxury of being able to ask the women of the Go Jane Go community for help too - and wow are you a generous an experienced bunch. You always give me challenging ways to discern and take action.

3. Look at Those I Would Emulate - There are people out there I don't know personally but I admire. I read up on them to see how they got where they are today - and usually there is a nugget of wisdom in there for me.

4. Dig into existing resources - my friend Tracy is the CEO of the Women's Job Search Network. Both she AND her service is full of guidance. Emily Marko is a visual storyteller and helped me map out my whole company - she can transform any idea into a clear story. Danielle LaPorte's desire mapping helped my soul mate gal pal see her way into an Ironman competition. Life coach Kristen Forno helps clients look forward and make a plan for how to get there.

5. Make a list! Duh. Listing pros and cons seems simple but it often REALLY helps.

6. Books! - I have favorites I go back to for inspiration; Still Life With Woodpecker, Imagine it Forward, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, A Uterus is a Feature Not a Bug - to name a few. Please, add yours too in the comments below!

7. Trust your gut - unless as one member of Go Jane Go put it; "...unless you have a lying gut problem."

Retrospection is necessary and good and important to career advancement. The end of the year makes me contemplative as I try to figure out where all the time went (networking events, fundraising, kids!) and what I actually accomplished (less than I wanted, more than last year). Making an effort to sort out the past offers rich rewards and a better perspective. I'd encourage all of us to make sure to work in a little kindness too and consider how much we all shoulder along with career. We can set the bar higher for next year, even if it means staying put!

Journey On, Janes!