Comment: The gift of completion

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The best New Year’s gift you could give yourself, your colleagues, and your family is the gift of completion. And it’s free!

Completion is the antidote to that feeling of being on a never-ending treadmill in life. We’re always rushing into the next thing without stopping to review what we learned and accomplished and how we feel about the past. We end up doing the next thing on top of all the incompletions, hastily making New Year’s resolutions, and rushing into the next planning cycle, strategy sessions and big family decisions from a cluttered place.

This is crazy because we have all these emotions about things that didn’t go so well and perhaps even regret, but never discuss, take responsibility for, learn from, and let go. Conversely there’s things we’ve accomplished but haven’t celebrated. How many of my clients have had massive achievements and unless I remind them, they never celebrate? They’d just go on to the next thing as if their accomplishments are normal and not worth mentioning.

We cannot go on to what’s next in a clear and creative space when we’re dragging this ball and chain of the past around. Big organisations do this very badly. The most sophisticated have processes for lessons learned but they don’t go into how their people feel – proud, sad, angry? COVID should have taught us this matters!

There are four questions comprising completion:

  1. What have I accomplished?
  2. What do regret?
  3. What did I not do I said I would?
  4. What have I learned?

We need to say this in dialogue with other humans because we can’t think it. It only lives when the words are coming out of our mouths into someone’s listening. Saying it helps you let go.

So, what did I accomplish last year? It’s not about the things I did, all my activities, like 42 clients or 60 meetings or whatever. That’s not an accomplishment. For me my accomplishments are what my clients achieved out of the work we did together. Some took their businesses to new heights. Others made huge changes to their working and personal lives. For me those are huge accomplishments. I’m very proud of these guys and it’s good to write it down to savour.

What do I regret about the past year? I reacted badly and got angry with a couple of loved ones. And I avoided going deeper into the emotional and even spiritual aspects of the challenges my clients were facing. I kept it too superficial.

What did I not do? I said I’d have a good chunk of my book written by now, but I’ve only just started!

What have I learned? Selling one-to-one mentoring is hard. Even though I think everyone should do it, they don’t all agree.

Doing this exercise in conversation with my partner leaves me free of regret, and full of appreciation and gratitude.

Please give yourself the gift of completion. You’ll have a clear space to create from, which is the subject of my next article.

Main photo credit: Jess Bailey via Unsplash

Miles Protter

Miles has worked with thousands of people as a mentor and coach and now runs The Values Partnership, a professional mentoring practice, together with his wife Deborah. He’s also founded Men’s Business, a not for profit, dedicated to men connecting with each other, listening and learning together how to navigate life well.
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