Year-End-Reviews have been commonplace in the business world for as long as there has been a business world. Metrics are important to properly assess where we’ve been, where we want to be, and how we might fill in the gaps. While much of the purpose is to answer the question “what could we be doing better?” a large part of the Year-End-Review is to also celebrate our victories.
In recent years, as personal branding, online entrepreneurship, and digital marketing have become primary sources of communication, it has become popular to publicly display one’s annual achievements. Infographics and other listicle-style posts showcase our “year in review” with a countdown of greatest highlights and special moments. Social media platforms have even assisted this type of sharing with the advent of Instagram’s Top 9 and Spotify’s Wrapped 2019.
Of course there are many benefits to entering January with a sense of reflection and gratitude and I fully support feelings of pride and celebration for our hard work. I also think it can be important to showcase achievements, especially for companies and arts organizations, to inform stakeholders, patrons, and donors how their time and money have been put to use and to stoke the morale of the employees or volunteers whose attention and energy made it all happen.
However, this virtual sharing of Ups neglects to acknowledge all of the inevitable Downs that lead to any success. So, for 2019, the conclusion of my first full decade in adulthood, I will instead be posting a countdown of this year’s failures.
In 2019 I received rejection letters from:
Additionally, I put work into a total of 7 projects that never left the ground (and remain dead in the water for the foreseeable future).
For the projects that did leave the ground, I’m left with an insurmountable list of personal artistic failures that only hindsight can reveal, a financial deficit from my largest production, and was faced with countless days in which motivation lost the fight to lethargy.
Were there also many success in 2019?
Absolutely. All of which grew from the ashes of prior year’s failures.
According to George Lucas, director of arguably the most successful cinematic franchise in history, “failure” is just another word for “experience”. Any experience can be painted as positive or negative, but we can never know what future successes await thanks to this year’s failures. Perhaps it’s not practical (or good for my sanity) to make this a new annual tradition, but, at least for this year, I honor my pitfalls and raise a toast to any pitfalls boosting all of your wonderful achievements.
So here’s to 2020, and many more years of experience.