12 empowering questions to ask yourself at the end of the year


As you reflect on the past 12 months, you might be tempted to chastise yourself for goals missed and resolutions fallen by the wayside. After all, just 8% of you will stick to those  ‘new year, new me’ goals you set back in January.

Conducting your own personal performance review needn’t be a painful reminder of where you might have fallen short of your own expectations. Grab some quiet time for yourself and work your way through our 12 questions, designed not only to make you reflect on what’s gone well this year, but to better inform your next set of career goals, so you might just stick to them.


1. What have I done this year that most frightened me?

Have you volunteered to deliver a presentation despite your fear of public speaking? Stuck your hand up for a project you knew would push your time management skills to the max? Challenged a senior figure because you truly believed your way was best? Whatever it was, feeling the fear and doing it anyway is the sign of a calculated risk-taker, willing and able to step outside the comfort zone in order to develop and grow.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook:

Risk taking for greater success ( download PDF version)


2. What are my boss’s strengths and weaknesses?

When you critique your boss, it’s probably in the context of their role as your manager. Step outside the relationship and analyse what they bring to work as an individual. What would their closest ally, harshest critic, line manager, another direct report say? Now consider how your abilities can further enhance their strengths and limit the impact of their weaknesses. Act on this to go from ‘direct report’ to ‘junior partner’ – a mindset switch that benefits you, your boss and organisation as a whole.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook:

Managing upward with success (download PDF version)


3. Who is the best communicator I know?

The highly charismatic CEO? The department’s PowerPoint whiz? The diplomat who knows the right thing to say in the most contentious situations? The storyteller who has everyone on the edge of their seats? The senior figure who makes you feel really listened to? There’s more to great communication than wonderful oratory. As you think about how others engage or inspire you, consider how you can cultivate these skills within your own communication repertoire.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Powerful workplace communication ( download PDF version)


4. What ‘win-win’ situations have I created this year?

Can you recall an example of either a major or minor win you’ve secured? Whether it’s a salary increase, new company laptop, or time off in lieu, reflect on the actions you took that resulted in the outcome you wanted and how this ultimately also benefited the other party. How can you bring these qualities and techniques to bear in creating future win-win situations on an even bigger, career-elevating scale?

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Developing your negotiation skills ( download PDF version)


5. Whose LinkedIn profile would I most like to peek inside?

Who in your network nails social media? Maybe their blog posts are shared far and wide. Perhaps there’s someone endorsing their skills every time you log in. Consider what they’re doing – online and off – to stay digitally networked. Examine their profile (go ‘incognito’ if you feel more comfortable). What about their headline, summary, photograph or posts stands out in the sea of average profiles? What can you adapt for your own profile?

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Making the most of your online profile ( download PDF version)


6. What did I daydream about this year?

Everyone does it. Yet daydreaming is generally discouraged as a waste of time. On the contrary, say a range of professionals – from sports psychologists to billionaire entrepreneurs to neuroscientists – daydreaming, or ‘visualisation’ might just be help you realise a cherished goal. So whether you fantasise about chairing the departmental meeting, speaking at an industry conference or launching your own successful enterprise, carry on daydreaming your way to success!

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Visualisation for career success: a beginner's guide ( download PDF version)


7. Who’s in my workplace inner circle and why?

Think about your closest office allies and what shared experiences, beliefs and values have aligned you. How have these bonds allowed you and others to flourish during the good times and survive the bad? How can you extend your sphere of influence to become even more visible within your organisation? Step back from the day-to-day politics and look at the bigger picture: Where do you and others fit into the organisation’s present and future direction and what can you do to elevate yourself further?

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Navigating the organisational landscape ( download PDF version)


8. What has been my best idea this year?

What one solution have your dreamed up this year that has had the biggest impact on you and your team? Can you recall how the idea struck? How you shaped it from that initial spark into something you could communicate meaningfully to others? What other new initiatives chain-reacted from its implementation? Understanding your creative problem solving style is a great way to unlock the power of your own, unique imagination.   

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Unleashing your creativity in the workplace ( download PDF version)


9. Besides the need to earn a living, what has kept me motivated this year?

Whether it’s as simple as wanting to perform to the best of your abilities or as specific as learning a brand new skill by a set date, motivation is what keeps everyone – even big ticket lottery winners – setting their alarm clocks each morning. Getting to grips with your own relationship with motivation is important. It enables you to recognise when and why you’re firing on all cylinders and understand what lies behind sudden or prolonged depletion in your ambition levels.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Developing your emotional intelligence ( download PDF version)


10. Thinking about a goal I’ve still to meet, what have I done this year to inch myself ever closer to fulfilment?

Before you reach out and grab a passing opportunity, it’s worth considering how it aligns with your long-term goals. It ensures you channel your energy and commitment in the right direction. Make a list of the steps, however small, you’ve taken this year to bring you ever closer to the major milestone on your career journey.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Step up! Are you ready to put yourself forward at work? ( download PDF version)


11. What feedback has prompted the year’s biggest career growth spurt?

Praise is wonderful, and if your confidence has taken a knock, getting some unexpected and glowing feedback is a fantastic thing indeed. But often, it’s the constructive words, however initially unsettling, that enable development. Thinking about your 1-2-1s, appraisal process or the 360-degree feedback generated as part of your performance review, what comments have truly enabled you to start doing something differently?

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Preparing for a successful appraisal ( download PDF version)


12. Which of my 2015 accomplishments are must-adds to my CV?

Even if you’re staying put for the foreseeable, it’s worth keeping your CV shipshape. Dig it out and think through the ways in which 2015’s lessons and triumphs can be incorporated in a meaningful, punchy way that sells you at your ultimate best. Use action verbs, quantify those achievements as much as possible and avoid clichés, so that the next time you’re ready to let the recruitment world see it, a new opportunity won’t be far behind.

Take this further in 2016 with the everywomanNetwork workbook: Writing a CV to get you promoted ( Download PDF version)



More career makeover advice on the everywomanNetwork

Your mid-year checklist: 4 quick ways to ace your next appraisal

Willpower: 3 principles to help you achieve your goals