There’s a question you haven’t asked yourself yet as you look ahead to the New Year. You may have asked yourself, “What could go better this year than last year?” but Kevin Sealey, VP of Operations, EPOCH Student Living, believes there’s another important question you may be forgetting to ask:

"What were your greatest successes? Did you ever take time to understand why they were a success and the work that lead to it being successful? Take these positive experiences and incorporate them into your plan for 2019.”

So often, we focus on learning from our failures or greatest challenges. While this is an important way to grow and improve, discounting the benefit of analyzing your successes is a mistake. Here are five reasons to stop brushing past successes, and instead, start learning from them. 

Understand the “Why”

How: Focus on the outliers.

In marketing, I like to say, “We look at what’s working so we can create a rinse-and-repeat formula—something we know will work every single time.” The same goes for analyzing your success in any other area of business.

In order to continue being successful, you need to know how you achieved that success in the first place. Was your approach to the project or topic different than usual? Were the people you worked with exceptionally efficient or innovative?

As you reflect, focus on these outliers; factors that may have been different this time, that can be replicated time and time again. This may also help you uncover new systems that can be put in place for future projects.

Find Room for Growth

How: Focus on the roadblocks.

We’re always growing and changing, and looking back on your success will help you see where there are areas to improve. As you reflect, consider the roadblocks that slowed you down—in this case, you pushed past them, but were they factors that were within your control? For example, perhaps it was resistance to the introduction of a new process that kept you from moving ahead as quickly as you could have.

That’s where you find room for growth. In this case, recognizing that resistance sooner, and being flexible with change, may be an area of growth for you this year.

Optimize for Greater Success

How: Focus on the next step up.

Now is the time to say, “That was an amazing success, how can we take it one step further next time?” The answer to this can apply to many areas of the process and business. Perhaps taking it one step further happens in the sales process, selling the client a bigger package. Maybe that next step forward is bringing on a larger team to complete the project even faster—or implementing training so your current team becomes more agile and efficient.

Figure out what that next step further is, and then make a plan to implement it this year.

Develop a Success Mindset

How: Tap into the big moments.

As you look back at your biggest successes, get specific. Not just about the nuts and bolts, but about yourself. What were the big moments of energy that you experienced? What were the breakthroughs you had? Now tap into that mindset: what were you thinking in each of those moments?

This mindset is what sets you apart, and therefore sets your business apart, allowing you to be successful in the future. “Often there's nothing really different between one entrepreneur and another in terms of ability, as each person can do whatever he or she wants. What it all comes down to is having the frame of mind to set practical habits and keep a balance between attachment and commitment and letting things happen,” says Sherrie Campbell, psychologist, author and speaker.

Banish Fear of Failure

How: Remember the start.

As you look back on your successes, start at the beginning. The start of a brand new project or kick-off for a new client is always nerve-wracking, but in the end, you succeeded. Use this time of reflection to gather the data—so next time you’re nervous about taking on the biggest client you’ve ever had, or upping your pricing to bring in a higher-level clientele, you’ll remember. You did it once, and you’ll do it again.

Analyze Your Successes


Now is the time to reflect on every aspect of your year—from successes to failures. Use this opportunity to fine-tune your mindset, make plans to level up, banish the fear of failure and uncover the “why” so you can do it over and over again.


Copyright © 2013-present BlueSteps, Inc. All rights reserved. The Executive Job Search Engine for Professionals | Bluesteps