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066 | Reflecting on 2022 – looking back to look forward
Episode 666th January 2023 • HR Coffee Time • Fay Wallis
00:00:00 00:29:20

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It’s too easy to just keep cracking on with work, moving forward and forgetting to take a step back to appreciate the progress that has been made and learn from the previous year. In this episode of HR Coffee Time, career coach Fay Wallis talks through 10 reflection questions, sharing her own answers to them. This episode is also available as a more detailed blog post/article.

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Fay Wallis:

Welcome back to HR Coffee Time, the weekly podcast to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR career without working yourself into the ground. And talking about working yourself into the ground, you may have noticed that there has been a two week break in the podcast. If you listen to it every week, I took Two weeks off over the Christmas period, without warning you, I'm sorry, my 11 year old was horrified when I told him this and said, Mum, you have to make sure you tell everyone if you're taking a break.

But it was a bit of an unscheduled break. It had been so busy with everything to do with the HR planner, the hardback version was way more popular than I had expected, and just the packing and posting. and sending out and emailing everyone about it took up so much time I found myself working weekends and then trying to cram in everything to do with christmas so by the time Christmas was rolled around I really felt I had to take my own advice and make sure I don't end up burning out.

Fay Wallis:

That's why there has been a little break. But I am now back, having had a nice break over Christmas. I hope that you have had a lovely break as well. If you're wondering who was saying this to you because you've not listened to the podcast before, hello, I'm Faye Wallace. a career coach who specializes in supporting HR and people professionals, and I'm also the founder of Bright Sky Career Coaching.

you about reflecting back on:

But if you have the free PDF version of the HR Planner, or you have your hardback version, You'll hopefully have spotted that the very first section is called looking back to look forward. In there, there are 10 questions for you to answer to help you reflect on the year. And I promise it doesn't have to take very long.

Fay Wallis:

It can take longer if you want it to. I ended up taking ages on this activity this year, probably the longest I ever have done. But that's because I thought I would actually write down my answers in an article. If you're interested, you can read the full article on my website, I've called it Reflecting on 2022. Looking Back to Look Forward, and I go into real detail in my answers there.

But for today, I am going to talk you through what the questions are, How you might want to approach answering them. And I'm also going to share what my answers are as well, because I think it can be really important to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It's all very well for me to be saying to you, Oh, why don't you try this and it will really help set you up for a great year.

But if I'm not doing it myself, well, that's not very convincing, is it? And I really do have to give credit to my friend, Jo Lott, who you may remember has been on the podcast before. She did a brilliant episode as a guest for me talking about imposter syndrome. Jo has her own business as well, and I noticed that she publicly publishes a review of her business every December.

Fay Wallis:

I've had Bright Sky Career Coaching for six and a half years now, and I haven't publicly published a review every year and I thought what a great idea because hopefully it's going to help future me look back and see all of the work that's happened over the years and just remind myself of what happened because it's incredible how quickly things become a bit hazy and you forget the details of stuff but also as I already mentioned I'm Hoping that it helps show to you that it can be a useful activity, a worthwhile activity, and hopefully it's going to encourage you to do your own reflections as well.

Fay Wallis:

If you haven't got a copy of the planner, then don't worry, you can get the free PDF version by going to the website, Bright Sky Career Coaching, or you can just jot down the 10 questions, I'll read them out to you now. So let's get started. The very first question is, what did you achieve? And I've written here, small wins are just as noteworthy as big ones.

Because if you're anything like me, especially if you've been working hard, it can be easy to forget that you have achieved things. If you're constantly looking forward at the next thing you want to do, then It's really easy to slip into feeling, oh I could have done more, or I should have done more, which is just not helpful thinking at all.

So to figure out what you did achieve, what I would recommend doing is just have a quick look through your calendar. I use my Outlook calendar all the time, so to do this activity I just sat down and skimmed through all of the different months of the year to see what it was that I had booked in at certain days.

Fay Wallis:

And you also might want to have a look, if you have to do a formal annual review for work, you may have some things written down there. You might also want to ask your colleagues and your friends and your family for some feedback or some prompts or reminders about some of the things you have done. It's completely up to you how detailed you go in on this.

But to share my answers with you, I separated them out into two sections. I wrote down my Bright Sky career coaching achievements and I also wrote down my achievements for HR Coffee Time, the podcast that you're listening to right now. My achievements that I've written down, I'll just whiz through some of them, were Making the scary but also exciting decision to evolve the business in September to make its focus purely on supporting HR professionals like you with their careers.

Before that, the team at Bright Sky had been supporting HR professionals, but we were also working with anyone in their career so any sort of professional could come to us. I had realised, for lots of different reasons really, that my passion really was in Working with HR and people professionals my backgrounds in HR having the podcast had just dived me Back into that world in so much more detail I was getting to work with so many wonderful HR professionals and just found I had a values alignment with them So I made that decision.

Fay Wallis:

It was quite late in the year. It was in around about September. And it was scary because I'd spent six years building up the business. A big part of it was outplacement support as well, and I decided to step the business away from doing that outplacement support. Part of that decision came from the fact that I had created and run Bright Sky's first ever group coaching programme for HR professionals Inspiring HR.

The pilot version of that ran from June to July, and the established version, then ran for the first time from October to December. After running it for the first time in the summer, I just thought, I absolutely love doing this work. It's so rewarding by really diving into the issues and challenges that I know HR professionals are experiencing and supporting them in upskilling themselves and building their confidence.

Fay Wallis:

This is really where I want to be spending my time. So that felt like an achievement creating it and it was from that that I then partly decided to slightly. Other achievements were that I managed to get better at letting go of the amount of one to one coaching I've been doing, because I was very lucky to now have a really talented, committed and fantastic team of associate coaches working alongside me at BrightSky.

And that has really allowed me to focus on building things like inspiring HR, getting the HR planner out again, and making sure it's an improved and even better version than last year, and being able to continue with this podcast every week, whilst knowing that our one to one coaching clients are being really well looked after by other Bright Sky team members.

Fay Wallis:

And I actually took my own advice from one of the earlier episodes in the podcast, which was all about making sure you're measuring your success. When I looked through my calendar, I actually added up all of the one to one coaching I had been doing, and I would encourage you to look at using some metrics to help you realise what you've been doing and how much you have achieved, because I had completely underestimated how many people I had personally coached or mentored this year.

When I added it all up, it was 41 people in total who had had between one and seven sessions. They'd all had one to one coaching or mentoring from me, but the majority of that had taken place in the first six to eight months of the year because I started to take a step back from it. So that I could focus on everything I've already talked about and that doesn't include the one to one coaching that I do as part of the Inspiring HR program.

Fay Wallis:

Because although Inspiring HR is a group program, you do get to have three one to one sessions with me as well. But I didn't want to completely, uh, disregards the progress and the achievements the business had had at the beginning of the year. Before making the decision to evolve the business, we had four larger outplacement contracts this year and outplacement had been a big focus for Bright Sky.

I had really wanted to build our reputation in that space as being a credible, caring, uh, really high quality provider of outplacement. So we'd had four larger contracts and we'd had positive feedback from them all and it was really rewarding knowing that we'd been able to help so many people cope with their redundancy news and move on to their new roles.

But I hadn't tracked the exact number of people throughout that. One of my real lessons from this year actually is just how helpful data is and that I need to get better or I would like to get better at making sure I'm tracking some of these things. And then finally, for a Bright Sky achievement, the Hardback HR Planner has been really popular this year and been getting lovely feedback.

Fay Wallis:

I've had such nice messages from people and seen some wonderful posts about it on LinkedIn and Facebook. We've sold nearly 250 copies, I think we're just about to sell out actually, and I hadn't expected that at all. I sold 90 last year, I sold the hardback version as a trial for the first time last year after I was asked by some of the people who had downloaded the free PDF version.

At the time I thought I'm really not sure about this, I've never created a physical product before, but I have a lovely friend who has his own printing business called Neil, and I remember calling Neil and saying, Neil, people are suggesting that I turn this into a hardback version. Would you be able to help me?

How do I do it? How much does it cost? How does it work? And he was absolutely fantastic and helped guide me through what materials I needed. He let me put the order in really late in the year when it was his busiest time of the year. So I'm really grateful to him. Last year we sold 90. I originally sold 50 and they sold out quite quickly, which is brilliant.

Fay Wallis:

why I ended up ordering some more from Neil. This year I had no idea if it would be the same level as popularity or not so I ordered 200 to start with and I was quite nervous that we wouldn't sell them because obviously it's up front quite a large cost but it, they did, they sold out really really quickly and I ended up ordering 50 more.

Then the HR coffee time achievement. This was really exciting because on starting up HR coffee time I had no idea If anyone would listen, if it would be helpful, if I was going to manage to keep releasing episodes regularly. Well, this year's been really wonderful for the podcast. It got listed in two top HR podcast lists.

episodes in:

Fay Wallis:

8 thousand unique listeners. That's actually been since the podcast started in, I think it started in August 2021. I have to just double check, it was July or August, because I wasn't tracking any of these metrics in 2021. So again, a big lesson for me here is make sure I'm tracking things. Now I've got this all written down, I know that next year when I look at the metrics, I'll be able to figure out what the difference is in downloads and listeners and things.

keep up doing everything. For:

Fay Wallis:

We'll see. I'm not sure which one of those things is going to work. The total number of ratings and reviews on Apple Podcasts was 41. If you are someone who has reviewed the podcast, I just can't thank you enough. It makes such a difference in encouraging the podcasting platforms to show it to other people who might not have come across it before.

Again, those numbers include:

The first business wasn't quite the right fit. I'm still having exploratory talks with the second business. We'll see what happens. Right, moving along. The second question is, what did you do to help others? Now I know because you work in HR that you'll be doing stuff to help other people all the time, all the time.

Fay Wallis:

It's just part of your work. So if you want to, you can record some of the things you're really proud of. of having helped with throughout the year, perhaps you've had a colleague at work having a really tough time and you've made sure that a lot of support is in place for them, perhaps you've introduced a new scheme at work that you know has had a really positive impact, or perhaps you are doing stuff outside of work as well.

I do not want you to look at this question and think, oh my goodness I have to do even more outside of work, that's not the purpose of it at all. But when I've answered this question, I have actually looked at what I did outside of work, and I'm pleased that I did because I'd underestimated how much I'd done.

I often think I would like to do more voluntary work, but I'd ended up doing more than I'd realised. That included coaching an HR Masters student at Kingston University, I volunteered as a coach for the HR Ninjas when they were running a Back to Brilliance initiative. If you're not in the HR Ninjas Facebook group, I'd really recommend taking a look at it.

Fay Wallis:

It's a fantastic community. I ran a free training workshop for the Ukrainian charity, which is called HumanitAid. They asked me if I'd be able to support their volunteers to train them to help build their confidence and skills when they're supporting Ukrainian refugees in finding jobs in the UK. Okay, so.

That was a really rewarding piece of work to do. And finally, I mentored two HR professionals for Let's Talk Talent's HR Mentoring Scheme. And again, I have put a link to that in the blog in case it's a scheme you're interested in being part of as well. And then finally I raised money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust by running three HR planner workshops for free and asking for donations from people who attended if they'd enjoyed the workshop and found it useful.

Fay Wallis:

Then question three is what are you proudest of from 2022? Hopefully if you've spend a little bit of time answering questions one and two, you'll start to get an idea of what it is you feel proudest of. And for me, it's definitely creating Inspiring HR, the group program, and it's also this podcast. I think it's because I can see the impact that Inspiring HR had on the people who went through it.

I really enjoyed doing it. It felt like quite a big challenge and something that took me. A lot of research to put into to get it off the ground, and as far as HR Coffee Time is concerned, oh, I can't tell you how much it means to me when I receive lovely messages from listeners saying that the podcast has helped them in some way.

that you're proudest of from:

Fay Wallis:

And that is, what did you do for your well being during the past year? Because I know how hard you're probably working, how committed you are to your work, and that it can be easy to put your own well being at the bottom of the pile. If you haven't done anything for your well being during the past year, I'd really encourage you to use this question to think about what you could do for 2023.

But for me, actually, having this question the year before, in the HR Planner the year did help kick me into action a bit. Also, having Adele Stickland on the podcast helped kick me into action as well, because she was talking about resilience and about how important things like exercise are. So, for the first time in my life, I've done more exercise regularly than ever before.

It's still not a huge amount compared to other people, but it was nice to be able to write down that I have gone to group tennis lessons fairly regularly, apart from having to take a three month break after I fell over and hurt my ankle playing tennis, and I've not been so good about doing it when the weather's been horrible in December.

Fay Wallis:

And one thing I have started doing since September is going to a local Pilates class, which I'm really enjoying. Question four is, what did you learn during 2022? Now, for me, learning is one of my values. It's something that I really enjoy. So I've probably put quite a lot in this section. I've I've noted down that I've been working with Nick Harris, who is my coach mentor and is helping me prepare to apply for PCC accreditation as a coach.

ming for. One of my goals for:

Fay Wallis:

We just had a few sessions throughout the year, but it was wonderful to have someone who offered works in a completely different business, just talked to me and give me some of her fantastic advice. She has a much bigger business than I do and had some fantastic insights that she shared with me. I've also noted down people who helped me with putting Inspiring HR together.

I'm not going to start listing off everyone actually, because otherwise I will be recording this episode for absolutely an hour. Ages. I also learned about myself, which I kind of knew anyway, but it was really confirmed over the last year that if I schedule in virtual co working time or body doubling time to work on specific tasks or projects each week, it really helps.

keep me on track with stuff, especially stuff I find difficult or boring to do. So one of my friends Tracy has been amazing. Every Monday we've met for an hour over Zoom and we both just look at our business finances together, make sure we've got everything with our accounts up to date, because I just find things like that so boring.

Fay Wallis:

I would much rather be with delivering coaching and training or recording this podcast or talking to you. So I have to really force myself to do the essentials as far as the business admin is concerned. Other things I've noted down is that I've learned how to get better at delegating and I've also learned masses from my wonderful podcast guests.

I feel incredibly lucky to have met some incredible people over the last year and I also became accredited to use Two be talent tools, so a tool around psychological safety and another one about building resilience. That felt like quite a lot when I wrote it down. I think, again, if you had just said to me or what did you learn, I would've said, oh, you know, a fair bit.

But making myself flick through the calendar made me realize, oh gosh, actually I, I've done more than I realized. I hope that you'll find that too, that you'll realise you've learnt so much more than you initially thought. I mentioned at the very beginning of this recording that my friend Jo Lotte is one of the reasons I decided to write the article sharing my answers to the reflection questions, while in Jo's annual review she had written down all of the non fiction books and fiction books she'd read, and I thought what a good idea!

Fay Wallis:

So actually for the HR planner for So before I think I'm going to look at including a section there for you where you can note down your CPD so that you're recording this as you go along instead of having to do what I've done which is go back through my entire Outlook calendar. So I have a list of all of the non fiction books that I read in 2022.

If you would like to see the list then of course just take a look at the blog which is on the website and I will link to in the show notes. And there are 17 books on there that I've read. There are loads of others I've started and sort of got halfway through on or given up on or I'm quite bad at trying to read too many books at the same time and flitting between them.

Fay Wallis:

So I want to make sure I finish off some of the other ones that I started. I always love having book recommendations, even though I seem to have too many books to get through, so if there are any books you'd like to recommend please do let me know. I'm always happy to hear about new ones, and if you decide to give any of the books on my list a try I'd love to know how you get on with it.

In the article I've written a little bit of a summary, I mean it literally is a one or two sentence summary on each book, apart from the ones that I didn't. love. So you can tell if there's a book I really liked because you'll see it has a little summary next to it. Then the next question is, which relationships did you develop and build?

like to develop and build in:

Fay Wallis:

I've just given a one sentence answer for this, so I've said I developed and built new and pre existing relationships with clients, other coaches, podcast guests, and my colleagues within the Bright Sky team and I just really did that as one sentence because actually this could have been so long if I wrote down every single person it would be an incredibly long article and probably not that interesting for anyone else reading it but for you you might want to write down every single person.

It depends on which questions resonate with you the most and which feel the most impactful for you. Question seven is what are you grateful for? Again, I've given a fairly short answer to this because I think throughout lots of my other answers there was, I was feeling a lot of gratitude as I was recording them, so I've just said that I'm grateful for my family, friends, the fact that we've all got our health at the moment, especially since all the worries throughout the pandemic, for all of Bright Sky's wonderful clients who have put their faith in us to help them with their careers, for the HR Coffee Time listeners who get in touch to say they're enjoying the show or to recommend future topics, for All of the Bright Sky team who do brilliant work, for being an HR Ninjas partner, I already mentioned the Ninjas, it's such a wonderful community, I really love being part of it.

Fay Wallis:

And then finally I put that I was grateful for having some time off over Christmas to recharge after a busy year. So what you're grateful for might be similar or it might be very different for you, but there's lots of science that shows by practicing Gratitude regularly, it's one of the things that can really keep us happier in life.

Because it helps us acknowledge all the positive things that we have going on. So, if you think, oh, I'm not sure about answering this one, I would just love to encourage you, Oh, please do give it a try. Then question eight, what did you find challenging this year? This may link in with your achievements because sometimes the challenges we've overcome end up being our achievements.

Fay Wallis:

For me, I've already mentioned one of the things I found challenging which was the decision to evolve the business slightly, especially I'd given myself a word of the year which was to consolidate, so I thought right I'm going to be really good at getting really good processes in place, really Make sure I don't start creating new programs and services.

But of course what ended up happening was, although I did that in the first half of the year, in the second half of the year, I was really excited to get started with new services again. So I didn't really stick to that word of the year. Probably my biggest challenge has been around mentally preparing myself for making the switch with the business, but also time.

Fay Wallis:

Realizing that I have to start delegating more, I just can't do as much by myself that I would like to. I've fallen behind with things like posting on social media to promote the podcast, it's just been too hard to fit it all in. Thursday nights tend to be quite stressful as I'm normally finishing things for this podcast release the next day, so I'd say that's a challenge I haven't necessarily overcome yet, but it will definitely feed into my goals for next year.

hat you'd like to work on for:

e lots of things I started in:

Fay Wallis:

Four, I think I've already mentioned, I realised Which I've kind of known anyway, but this has helped clarify it for me that it's a good idea to delegate more. Five, having proper documented processes in place makes life much easier. Even though it's hard carving out the time to do this, it feels boring documenting those processes.

ghts influence your goals for:

Fay Wallis:

Doing this reflection activity is not going to help you set all of your goals for 2023. There are other activities in the HR Planner that can help you to do that, and you may already have some brilliant ideas of 2023. What I found from doing this reflection exercise was that actually The goals it's influencing are the ones that I would probably naturally put off because they feel a bit more boring.

All those things around metrics and processes, it's just really easy for me to think, Oh, I'll do that another time, that's all quite boring. But actually I'd really like to make sure that as well as the exciting goals I'm going to be working on, which include setting up the HR Planner Club and creating a Write Your HR Strategy or People Plan in a Day workshop, that I make sure I'm getting those other things done too.

Fay Wallis:

Wrapping it all up, that's it, that's all the 10 questions. I hope it's been helpful hearing me talk through them. I hope it helps inspire you to answer your own 10 questions for yourself. And if you do go ahead and do the activity, then let me know how you get on, I always love hearing from you.




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