Reflections and Lessons Learned

Yes, it’s that time of year again, and always, it’s arrived much too quickly. Every year we make our resolutions, many based on trends or what we think we should be or do. For this next round, let’s establish our new year approach based on how the previous year played out. And even better, on actions that will accentuate our better selves?
Instead of vague resolutions listed in a document, posted on a wall next to your desk or your refrigerator, receiving an occasional glance throughout the year, with minimal, if any, effort toward that goal, let’s try something different.
First, let’s reflect on the past year related to your employment status or business. We’re all moving so quickly that you may not think there aren’t any lessons to learn from the day-to-day of living. But let’s think back and begin with the significant good and not-so-good events.
For employees:

  • New Job – Failed Job Search
  • Promotion – No Promotion
  • Continuing Education – No Options for Growth
  • New Skills Learned – Same Routine

For employers:

  • New Hire – Poor Decision with New Hire
  • New Business – No New Clients/Customers
  • Great Vacations – No Time for Vacation
  • Positive Office Morale – High Turnover

If you look at the above sample scenarios, there are positive and negative, depending on how you look at the situation. For some, the status quo is acceptable, as you may feel each year has its ups and downs. For others, who want continued personal and professional growth, the second scenario in each option can be exhausting.
If “going with the flow” is okay with you, that’s cool, too, as everyone has their own perceived level of success.
But if you recognize areas where you could have done better or just plain hate that “it happened that way,” now’s a great time to identify options for positive change in the new year. There are no bad mistakes unless you continue to repeat those mistakes.
Let’s use a couple of the examples above and see the potential of how you can approach them differently.

New Job - Failed Job Search

If you found a new job last year and are happy, that's awesome.

But, if you actively searched for a new position with no meaningful offer, there are things you can do to plan for the next attempt.
  • Is your resume in order, with only truth on the paper? It’s easy to embellish, but a savvy employer will know what questions to ask to separate fact from fiction.
  • Did you practice with a colleague or recruiter to hone your interview skills? You may be the most experienced with all the needed skills, but it’s lost on the employer if you don’t know how to relay that information.
  • Are you interviewing with a company but need help understanding the culture of a potential company? That information isn’t always public but is critical to the life expectancy in an organization as it needs to be a good fit.
  • Have you reached out to a qualified solutions staffing firm? When you partner with a firm entrenched in your industry of interest, they will have insight into more opportunities AND help you understand the culture and how to put your best foot forward.

New Hire - Poor Decision with New Hire

You made a new hire, and that's fantastic.

 If you took the necessary steps during the interview process, you should be on your way to building your team. If it’s not working out as you envisioned, or you still have the position to fill, to follow are some critical steps, among others, to ensure a successful hire.
  • Create a detailed job description. Now is the time to write down the position’s responsibilities so that the future employee knows what to expect. Be realistic, as there’s nothing worse than a dispute over what was presented as the job role after the candidate joined your company. If this isn’t your cup of tea, talk to a professional recruiter who can help you outline the description so that it’s clear for everyone.
  • Define your culture. It may seem insignificant, but if this isn’t part of your communication with a potential employee, it could mean attempting to put a square peg in a round hole. A quick example would be hiring someone who is very “corporate,” where wearing a suit and a more structured environment makes them function at their best. But your culture is super relaxed, with lots of loose slang, and communication happens in no formal manner.
  • Consider working with a recruiter. A professional recruiter can manage the above scenarios so you can avoid the adverse outcomes you may currently be experiencing. And the bonus is you can locate someone who understands your industry and already has connections to candidates that will help make your company shine.

There are so many more things to focus on from the previous year but if you know what you want to happen, identify where you may have taken a wrong turn. It’s now the time to take the steps needed to be proactive about getting on the road that will take you there.

To follow are some other useful blogs that can help you reach your goals. There are many others if you enter keywords into our search, but to follow are some examples of how you can take action.

For employers:

For employees:


Try Gratitude for Better Health

When the holidays roll around, especially during Thanksgiving, many have an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and show appreciation to those they love. We even show more kindness to strangers with a friendly greeting or donating to a cause that means something to us.
During those times, we experience inner joy and naturally feel better. Now, what if you could hold onto that feeling all year? You can. And you’ll find it’s not that difficult to be grateful all year just by changing how we look at life.


Add a little pep to your step this morning.

To start, we need to take a step back to take multiple steps forward. Are you of a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty mentality? There’s no right or wrong answer, as many of us have trained our brains to work one way based on past experiences or the actions of others. For the latter, changing the negative feelings that inevitably enter our brains during the most stressful situations takes work.
Your day begins as soon as you open your eyes; how you look through those eyes is up to you. When that alarm goes off, give yourself a few minutes to look forward to the coming day with excitement. We may tackle many of the same tasks daily, but think about how you could cheerfully approach some of these mundane responsibilities.

For example, you have a standing morning meeting with your team to review the day’s assignments. Usually, you would go through the list of items to accomplish with everyone responding to things that pertain to them.

Before each person reports, ask them to start with what they’re grateful for that day.

To get the ball rolling, you can lead by example with something like, “I’m grateful for my team who helps to keep the company moving forward.”

Not only will this lighten the mood, but it will also show you appreciate the group’s efforts. And you’ll learn more about each other which boosts morale and productivity.

Incorporate this into each meeting, and you will notice a difference in engagement.

You don’t need the thing you’re thankful for to be huge. If we can recognize even the most minor things, we’ll find so much more joy in the day-to-day, which can raise us, so we’re stronger for the not-so-good times. Examples of smaller pieces of joy – some are things we take for granted every day.
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Pets
  • Co-workers
  • Your Job
  • Fresh Air
  • Music
  • Clean Water
  • Good Book
  • Seasons Change
  • Duct Tape
  • GPS
  • Food Delivery
  • Fortune Cookies
  • Spellcheck
  • Good Food
Say these things out loud. When you incorporate thankfulness into your daily routine, your outlook will brighten, motivating others to do the same.


A simple and classic lullaby can bring back grateful memories.

It’s the end of the day, and some parts were good, but some may have gone less smoothly than we would have liked. Ups and downs are a part of life, but when we try to find the good in the not-so-good parts, it makes everything much more manageable.
When lying in bed, back where we began thinking positive thoughts that morning, you can quietly reflect on your day. What did you experience? Was there something unexpected that made you smile? Did you look at a typical difficult situation differently, and by doing that, was it easier to get through it? If you’re open to it, try journaling before going to bed. It can be as simple as writing down unseen events that brought you joy. Or how you turned around a problematic moment simply by digging deep and finding a life lesson that made you, or someone else, smile.
Ask yourself if there are things you can proactively do to bring more joy to your life. When you break it down into small bites, it’s not as overwhelming, and you’ll find that it can be life-changing.

Are you miserable at work?

Possible actions:

  • Talk to your immediate supervisor to see if you can work together to make it better. If you’ve already tried this or are fearful of losing your job, the following action may be better for you in the long term.
  • Work with a qualified staffing solutions provider to begin the search for a place where you can contribute your experience and talents that will also make you happy.

Am I my own worst critic, where I am known as the "complainer."

Am I always angry?

  • EACH time something happens that makes you happy, say, “THANK YOU” out loud, even if you’re alone. When you realize there are so many things to be thankful for, that gratefulness begins to take over the defeatist mentality.
  • Get others involved. During stressful times, they say misery loves company, but wouldn’t it be good if you had a posse who is experiencing the same thing but with an approach of humor? You can always find something funny about a situation, and talking openly with others who understand makes all the difference in your outlook.

Spending every day with gratitude will draw others to the light you now have. And the bonus is when you lead a grateful life, the positive impact on your mental and physical health is enormous.

Start now and see the change it will bring.