It has been another crazy year!

Are you feeling as exhausted and burnt out as I am?

For the third year in a row, just when we think we’re starting to see the light and the end of the tunnel, something else happens that kind of keeps us in the darkness.

I know, when I’m in that space, it can be really hard to see the positive.

But, I also know there have been some – even just one!

And, even if you don’t see them right now, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the great opportunities that you have taken advantage of over this academic year.

So right now, when we’re exhausted and just ready for a break, one really nice thing that we can do for ourselves is to take a moment and stop and reflect on they year, to find the positives – even if we don’t feel them right at this very moment.

This post was inspired by conversations with my private mentoring clients. I’ve been a coach or over 20 years, and one of the things I like to do in our private mentoring packages is help you see the ways that you are being successful. Because even when things are really stressful and really hard, like they might be for you right now, there is success. There is a bright light. There is a shining star somewhere in there. If you’re looking for a mentor to support you in finding those bright stars, find out more at:

In today’s post, I am going to offer you six questions that you might want to ask yourself to see what maybe has worked for you this year or ways that you’ve grown, and to see those positive, bright lights in what may have potentially been a very stressful year – exactly the way I do with my private mentoring clients!

The Questions

1: What were your goals at the beginning of the year?

Think back to where were you at at the beginning of the year…

  • What were you thinking about?
  • What were you hoping to achieve?
  • What were your goals?
  • What did you set out to do?
  • Where did you want to get to at the beginning of the year?

When you think back to the beginning of the year, you might also want to look back at any notes, journals or documents that you have from that time frame. That will help you recognize where you were at the start of the year. As we move forward throughout the year, we are accomplishing smaller steps towards our bigger goals, and often we don’t realize how far we’ve come until we look back. You might use this as an opportunity to make sure to document your start-of-the-year thinking in the future, so you have something to look back on.

As a followup to that question, you could think about:

  • How far did you get in those goals?
  • Where are you at now?

It’s okay if you didn’t achieve those goals, I know you made steps forward. Where are those steps that you can recognize today, based on where you were when you started the beginning of the year?

2: What are the things that happened unexpectedly in your year that turned out well?

Thinking about the year, ask yourself:

  • What were some pleasant surprises?
  • Did you make a brilliant mistake that allowed you to learn something new?
  • What were some of those growth opportunities that you had over the course of the year that you had no idea were coming?

When you look back on those unexpected events, you may recognize that you actually learned something from that experience.

I’ve been having a couple of moments like that recently, too! I’ve been working on a long-term project and feeling quite frustrated about it. When I said to my husband yesterday, that I don’t even think I’ve learned anything from this experience, he asked, “are you sure?” In that moment, I realized I could list three really important things that I learned going through that frustrating experience.

I’m not sure I would call it a brilliant mistake at this point in time because I still feel quite frustrated by it. Likely with a little more time, I will say exactly that it was an unexpected experience that actually taught me something I can use and apply in the future, which is super valuable

3: What opportunities did you have to grow or learn something new this year?

It might not be the thing you expected. It might be like question two, something completely unexpected. But I guarantee that you had at least one opportunity this year where you were able to learn something. When you think about that learning:

  • How can you apply that in the next upcoming year?
  • How can you apply that in your personal life?
  • How can you see connections to that learning opportunity that can help you continue to grow?

Sometimes we don’t recognize how much we can apply from challenging, unexpected or frustrating experiences until we stop and reflect for a moment. So even if you focus in on the things that seemed especially challenging this year, frame it in your mind as an opportunity to learn, and see how you can apply it in similar future situations.

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4: Who inspired you this year?

  • Was there a student, a teacher, a parent, a leader, someone in your community or your personal life who inspired you?
  • Was there someone who helped you think about something differently?

Often an external inspiration can help reinvigorate your love for whatever it is you love doing. If there someone over the course of the year that inspired you and brought some light into your life, I would also encourage you to reach out to them and say, thank you because everyone loves to hear that – and it will bring that connection even closer to you!

5: What positive feedback did you receive as a coach or a leader or a learner this year?

Formal or informal feedback all counts! This is something I talk about often with my private mentoring clients, as well as my clients inside The Coach and Women Who Lead. If you can document those appreciation moments that you get over the course of the year and keep them, they can brighten your day or help you reflect later on.

If you don’t already, I recommend keeping any positive feedback you get in a central place, you could keep them:

  • in a journal (even just keeping a separate journal to write down moments of appreciation, or to stick cards, post it notes or messages you receive inside).
  • on a Pinterest board, or another digital storage option, like a Google Drive folder or an email folder.
  • on an actual pinboard in your house, or a box full of momentos.

As long as they are all in a central place, you can schedule time to look back and reflect on and review that lovely feedback that you received over the course of the year. Even if it was just one thing that can brighten your day.

If you start a collection over time, you’ll have a lots of ways that people are sharing positive feedback with you. Being able to see that on a regular basis helps you remember all of the great moments and all of the great work that you’re doing as a coach.

6: What do you want to carry forward into the new year?

What’s something you learned, a way that you were inspired, a recognition of your growth that you want to carry with you into the new year? As you look ahead to the next year, it might even be something you think about over the summer break, something you want to apply in your personal life.

Even in another challenging year, after two previously challenging years, I know there is something amazing that happened over the course of this year that you can recognize and reflect on and bring with you into the next academic year!

Share Your Highlights!

I would love to hear about a highlight or an answer that you have to any of these questions, a way that you grew over the course of this year. Please leave me a comment here on this post, or even better head over to our Instagram or our Twitter and share your highlight from this year the moment that you want to share with others to reflect on this year.

Sharing will help all of us see all the different ways that we are all having great learning experiences even in these difficult times! Use the hashtag #coachbetter to connect with others too!

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Personalize Your Learning & Reflections with a Mentor

I hope by going through the process of thinking about these six questions helped you reflect on this academic year and helped you see the ways that you actually did grow, and ways that you were inspired, and that there were moments of opportunity that really did go well for you, even in a really challenging year.

This is a perfect example of the kinds of conversations that we can have inside a private coaching session in our private mentoring packages!

If this kind of reflective positive minded success oriented conversation is one that you would like to have as part of your professional growth, please head over to

I would love to support you in your professional goals right now, next month, next academic year! If you have a specific goal or a specific challenge or something you really want to develop into as an educator, I can support you.

Our private mentoring packages are designed for educators who have specific goals and would like the support of an outside sounding board and coach to help make them happen.

You’ll work one-on-one with your mentor as a thought partner, to help mediate your thinking and support you in achieving your unique goals in a timeframe and environment customized just for you.

Find out more: