There are many points in the year when it is useful to pause, take stock and create and amend your future plans. And at these times it’s useful to reflect on all the things you are grateful for.


If you have a home, family and friends, and sufficient food. If you own a car, have taken a holiday, have sufficient money to live comfortably and buy gifts; if you have a job, are self-employed or own a company, then you are blessed and in a much better position than a high percentage of the world population. In short, you have a lot to be thankful for.

Thankfulness shouldn’t be something that’s confined to a single day - it should be something that we practise regularly. Those who appreciate what they have tend to be happier and more content individuals than those who do not; they also hold themselves open to receiving more. So gratitude/thankfulness is my first important life skill.


In addition to being thankful for all that we are and all that we have, it’s important to congratulate and reward ourselves in the same way that we do for others. As parents it is natural and necessary to speak words of encouragement to our children on a regular basis, for example when they struggle to learn a new skill, or as they prepare for exams. It’s also natural to reward them when they succeed – with a hug, telling them we’re proud of them, congratulating them or giving a financial or physical reward.

It’s also expected that we do the same for our employees or team members.

Why is it then that many of us find it so difficult to do for ourselves?

As a leader or manager you need to model the behaviour you wish to see in others. If you’re unable to recognise and reward your own achievements and success how can you be doing this effectively for others?

If you find this difficult then you need to take a moment to consider what stops you doing this for yourself?

Is it a feeling that you’d be seen as arrogant if you took credit?

Is it that you don’t think it should be necessary?

If so, then you’re applying different standards to yourself than you do to others! You are only human, even if you think you should be superhuman!

Is it a feeling that you shouldn’t be ‘wasting’ time thinking about these things for yourself, but should be doing this for others?

It’s a common myth that managers who aren’t physically ‘doing’ anything are doing nothing! Thinking is an increasingly important part of your role - after all, what is strategy and planning if not thinking through what might happen, what you want to happen, and how and when to make it happen?

Cultivate the skill of congratulating and rewarding yourself regularly and you will find it far easier to do with others!


A secondary part of looking back over what you have and haven’t achieved, and why, is to forgive yourself for those things you’ve not achieved. I believe that there is always a lesson to be learned if you’re prepared to search for it – something you can take away and either apply or avoid going forward!

In order to do this I believe you need to be able to draw a line under it – to forgive yourself, and to move on. Those who linger over the negatives can lose the energy and momentum to move forward, so learn to forgive yourself for inaction, mistakes, or a seeming ‘lack of results’; as I said earlier there is always a result or lesson there if you choose to look!


The fourth life skill crucial to all leaders, is that of dreaming or imagining. This is the ability to look out into the future and explore possibilities – to imagine how life/work/business could be; to decide how you’d like it to be. I’m a firm believer in Walt Disney’s maxim – ‘if you can dream it, you can build it!’ I truly believe that if you can get a clear enough picture of how your life could be then it’s a definite possibility for you. The way forward may not be clear, and may need to be planned out, but the ‘what’, the ‘end result’ can be your driving force.

So, if you’ve not already taken the time to reflect, to dream about the future, to congratulate and forgive yourself, may I make a suggestion? Do yourself a favour and take some time out today to ‘think’ and reflect.

Leave the planning till you’re passionate and enthusiastic about where you are now and where you’d like to be. I promise it’ll be time well spent – happy thinking!

Author's Bio: 

After experiencing unhappiness in her work and then a decline in her business results that affected how she felt about herself, her business and her life, Julie developed her breakthrough DANCE system to help business women reconnect with themselves to discover their own true path to success rather than simply following or modelling others. For free success information and details of her book Stepping into Success ...The 7 Essential Moves to Bring Your Business to Life visit