Using Downtime for Reflections and Looking Forward

It’s not often during the long year that we get extra time to hone our craft or improve ourselves. By putting in time and effort into being prepared for our jobs and being our best selves, we can show up ready to work. We’ll be covering three tips to follow this holiday season to ensure you kick off the new year with your feet running.

The tips are to take time to do a retrospective of your year, setting goals for the year you want to accomplish professionally and personally, and to choose a skill with which you’re not familiar but want to learn in the new year. These three tips will allow you to move into the new year focused, excited and ready to really improve.


It is extremely beneficial to do a retrospective of your year from a professional standpoint and understand where you succeeded and where you still need growth. One of the lessons I learned early in my career was being honest with myself and my performance. If you can’t be honest with yourself, growth is not going to happen and in order to do a proper retrospective, you need to evaluate how you performed during the year. Now it’s important to always celebrate your wins as a professional but the retrospective is more about going over the situations where you could’ve been better. Pick three or four situations that did not go as well as they could’ve gone and do a quick write up on what happened. Write about what you could have done better and whether it was something that was in your control or not. Also be honest about whether this is something you could’ve done in real time or if its something you’ve learned in hindsight and will incorporate it moving forward. Take these learnings and keep them as part of your arsenal for 2019.  

Set goals

Setting goals for the new year doesn’t sound like a groundbreaking concept but earlier this year after starting at my new job my new manager, James Kaikis Director of Solutions Engineering, Americas, introduced me to a different way of setting goals. He asked me to set goals for myself both personally and professionally because it’s important that all facets of your life are focused on. If your personal life is not healthy it will bubble into your professional life and vice versa. When setting these goals he asked me to focus on daily, weekly or monthly goals, some examples being:

  1. Enjoy four family dinners a week at the table with no cell phones or TV
  2. Attend two networking events a month
  3. Spend 20 minutes a day meditating

This has lifted up my life in so many ways, from being a more present father and husband to expanding my professional network. A key to setting goals you will accomplish is tracking them either weekly or monthly.

Develop new skills

Learning a new skill is a tip that a lot of people may roll their eyes at but this is something that will separate you from your co-workers or competition in the job market because you’ll either develop something that makes you better at your job or will feel more fulfilled outside work. It takes time and effort but after you have completed the act of learning a new skill it will feel great. For example, last year I set out on a 7-month journey to become a full stack developer. While I don’t intend on being a developer for a career, I cannot tell you how much this has changed my life both personally and professionally. Finding a new skill to learn does not have to directly impact the job you hold now but it should open up your view as to what else is out there and it can also become a differentiator for you in the future when interviewing at new companies.

One final thought for Customer Success professionals is to try and reimage your talk tracks and value props. This will not only will keep you engaged longer it often times allows you to focus on what excites you about your company. That excitement leads to a higher interest rate in what you are doing and makes the new year that much more exciting.

There are very few times during the year where you can work on yourself and the holidays offer a great opportunity for that. By using even one of these tips you can roll into the new year more prepared for future customer interactions.  Don’t waste this time!

Ben Fleishman is a guest writer on the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Solutions Engineer with Showpad.


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