It’s that time of year again. Everybody is doing it. Every big news outlet, most bloggers, analysts of all sorts, late-night talk-show hosts, comedians. So why not get in on the action?
What am I talking about? Top ten lists! Everyone else uses them; why not you? Even though we’re bombarded with them every year, what most people don’t realize is that the top ten list is an incredibly useful tool that every one of us should use.
The greatest growth in my business happened over four years. I was pushing hard every month. I couldn’t stop obsessing over goals we didn’t hit, new team members that didn’t work out, stars on the team that suddenly plummeted to earth. By the end of every month, all I could think was, “Man, what a lousy month!”
But on the first of each month, I gave out awards to inspire the team: best new salesperson, greatest growth, biggest breakthrough, etc. It was a parade of the best and brightest. So the night before, I would gather everybody’s final reports and start looking for the award winners.
Five minutes in, I would start thinking that maybe the month hadn’t been so awful. Ten minutes in, I would start feeling kind of good about what we had accomplished. In 30 minutes, I would be so excited to talk about the talent and potential of the team, I could hardly wait for the meeting. And I would have great positive energy to get us off to the best start in the next month.
Focusing on the negative is human nature. Our brains are designed to focus on danger and threats in our environment. If we don’t actively work to overcome that tendency, we lose sight of all of the good that happens. And that is a huge loss, because:The wins in life help build energy, confidence, and a positive attitude. Click To Tweet
Sure, you can do a top ten list of most embarrassing moments, humiliating defeats, or dumb mistakes. You should never experience a loss without learning the lesson behind it. But your big focus should be the best moments of your year.
When you use top ten lists to focus on the good things,
The exercise gives you a great, positive attitude for starting the new year and some important opportunities to learn and improve. This is one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself for creating a great year next year.
1. Create a separate list for every important area of your life. Create one for your business or career, your family, every important relationship and any big priority—health or fitness, faith or church, community involvement. Use the list to take stock—in the best way—of the things that really matter to you.
2. Make it fun. If it’s a list that involves other people, have them submit ideas, create a long list, and then vote on the top ten. If it’s just yours, include at least one item that’s funny or that just makes you smile. Try using photos rather than writing them out. (If you put photos on Facebook, Facebook offers a Year in Review collection.) If you record a lot of video, maybe you should create a highlights reel. These are great things to do with or for your family.
3. Write down the lessons. Review all your lists and write down what you learn about how you made the past year successful. Use those lessons to get yourself mentally organized for the new year. (Maybe alongside what you learn from the free Serial Winner Assessment.)
Once you make your lists the first time, you’ll start keeping an eye out for the things that should appear on the top ten next year. You’ll start focusing more on the positive and moving forward faster.
Happy New Year! Let’s make it a great one!