When I was first starting out in my business, I knew that goal setting was a huge part of the work that I wanted to do—both for myself and for my clients. It’s still a vertical in my business (meaning it’s something I teach and something I love working with clients on) and a part of the way I run things. I have a lot of philosophies about how to set goals and plan—and I know that reflection is one of the key pieces to having a successful goal setting and planning session.
For me, it looks like:
- STEP 1 : Reflection
- STEP 2 : Planning
- STEP 3 : Execution
The first part, reflection, is something that I find a lot of people skip! Reflection can be categorized as just sitting down and thinking or journaling. However, it can be a lot more data driven for entrepreneurs! I was someone who journaled as a kid. Actually, from age 15 right through until today, I still journal. I’ve always been a journaler and a documenter (hello, life historian!)! Not that I look back on all of those things but it allows me to have some kind of record.
The basis of the CEO Report
In my business, I like to be able to have a CEO journal. Yet, I didn’t keep anything like that for a while! After my first full year of business, I realized that I wanted some kind of tool to help me out with this. So, last year, I created the CEO Report (more on this in a moment) and this year I’ve been really putting it to use!
The CEO Report is simply a survey for myself that I complete every single Friday. Realistically, you’re not going to be looking back at it right away. However, a year from now you will have 52 reports to look back on, to be able to forecast, to be able to see trendsetting and achieve projections in a data-driven way!
Data doesn’t have to be icky and hard to do! It’s really to look at trends of how your weeks were. Some of the things you’ll be able to keep track of and ask yourself are:
- How were you feeling?
- Did you want to feel differently?
- Do you want to get more clients?
- How many social media followers did you get?
If you create this kind of stuff for yourself, you will be able to start doing data-driven reflection.
Some of the things that I’ve found from being able to do this, is that I can look back on all of my past weeks and I can say:
- What did I really enjoy about this year?
- What was really hard about this year?
- What did I want more of? Less of?
That way, by the end of the year I’m not just waxing poetic on what might be fun next year or hyperbolically trying to figure out what I should add to my calendar for the next year. It creates a real data-driven, heart-centered look at the kind of things I want to engage in! It also allows me to say yes or no to things much easier because I have a pretty clear filter about what made me feel great and what didn’t.
So, that’s why I do these reports. The things that I find in these reports are trends like:
- When my clients are super busy
- What time of the year selling was really hard
- When it seems like Mercury is in retrograde and you should avoid doing X, Y and Z
- When Facebook ads were really expensive due to this and this
- If you want to remember someone’s birthday
- Or just important times of the year like sales, competitor sales, etc.
One of the other things I have in my reflection is people that I am grateful for. I include them so that by the end of the year I can reflect on who I was really grateful for and reach out to them! I’d say something like, “Hey, I’m so grateful for all the things you’ve done for me this year and I just wanted to send you a gift card”—or just something small, whatever you want.
What actually goes into the CEO Report
Okay, so let’s dive into what’s actually in my CEO Report. However, keep in mind that every person is going to be a little bit different! I’ve created a sample template for people to be able to use, so that eventually you’ll be able to create your own! Personally, I create mine in Typeform. It’s cool because you can customize it, make it pretty or just keep it as simple as you want!
From there, I create a meeting reminder on my Friday calendar at 3pm to make sure I do this! It takes me about 15 minutes to get it done and then it’s out of my hair. It’s arguably the most productive 15 minutes of my business because I know that by doing this every single week, it gives me so much good information.
So, what actually goes in this? Everyone might be different, but here’s what I usually have.
The first part is just a “brain dump” where I let myself freeflow. It can sometimes take me a while to even figure out all the things I did this week and so I tend to open up my calendar and take a look at what happened. Some things I check up on are:
- What did I get done?
- What do I still need to get done?
- What did I get accomplished?
It might seem a little bit redundant at first, but it really helps get me in the right space of reflection.
The second part is about what I completed and what I’m celebrating—yay! What were the small wins of the week? The big wins? Whenever you celebrate, you’re creating more to celebrate down the line! That’s the abundance mindset and the universe gives us more of what we put our energy into. So, if we celebrate more—it’s going to give us more to celebrate. Try to write every accomplishment down! It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small.
You might add stuff like, what was challenging this week? Or projects that are coming up on the horizon. I also have a section that talks about my sales dollars—so, how many dollars I brought into my business this week. Another section is simply about how much my platform grew—my email list, Facebook groups, Twitter—how many people did we grow by?
You can see areas and times that you really grew because of other factors in your business! Or social strategies that didn’t work as well, too. Through this, I’m really able to capture what it is I’m trying to do in my business.
Another thing to keep in mind is that whatever you’re putting your focus into now, will result in some sort of change in 90 days. That’s really fun to be able to try too!
After all the data and numbers, I typically have a couple open-ended questions about:
- How was I feeling?
- What was successful?
- Who were the people that I felt supported by?
I know I keep saying data throughout all of this and you know what? It’s not all about robots and that kind of stuff! It’s really about qualitative data and to be able to see evidence of the fact that you are growing! It’s so cool to be able to have evidence of your growth in your business, in your mindset, and in the way that you operate as a CEO.
Towards the end I always ask myself:
“Your word of the year is ‘purposeful focus’. Did you feel like you were doing ‘purposeful focus’ or in the space of ‘purposeful focus’?”
Then, I give myself a yes or no answer. Sometimes my answer was “absolutely not!” but other times it’s like “heck yes!” and so it felt like a great way to check in on that and stay focused.
One thing I noticed is that people will set “words of the year” but then completely forget what the word of the year was or why they even chose it by February! This is a way that I look at it every single week. It’s front and center. It’s something that I always want to say yes to but if I forget about it, it’s not going to happen. By having it on your CEO Report, it can be really powerful for you to be able to think through what it means to you!
Making the CEO Report part of your habits
So, how do you create a habit around this? I’d recommend that you write it on your paper calendar, put it in your phone reminders or in a Google calendar—whatever works for you! Pick a time during the week (I’d recommend at the end of your work week) for your CEO Report so that you have a dedicated space for reflection.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you skip a week, though! If you were on vacation and didn’t do anything? Cool. That’s fine. Don’t fill it out. When I was in Japan this year, I didn’t fill it out once! I just wasn’t on my laptop and that’s fine.
Ultimately, this is a really great way to document your process during the year and how you can continue to reflect on the things that are happening.
One other thing—that I think is really fun—is that year-to-year, if I look back on my data from last year, I notice that my pain points were totally different. For example, I had some fears that I’ve grown out of which is so cool to be able to see! Last year, I was super scared of video and now looking at doing videos and live stuff—it’s not that big of a deal.
At the end of the day, I’d really recommend that you try this out. Trust me, it’s so beneficial to operate from this place of reflection. When you are reflective, every single week, it’s not just about what happened at the very end of the year! You have data from the Spring and from Summer and from the year before—whatever your time frame is. You can actually check out a moment in time (in your business and life) and see what was happening.
One way that I would recommend you organize this, is to do it in Typeform and then go to “Configure” where you can send yourself an email. You really don’t want this in something like an Excel Spreadsheet—that would just be super annoying. I send it to myself via email and put it in a folder that I can go back and check up on! If you’re the kind of person who has a lot of ideas, this is also a great way to document them, too. You might look back in a few months and think, “Wow that is still a really great idea” or maybe, “You know, that’s not really that great anymore. What was I thinking?!”
I hope that this has been (and will be) helpful for you! The CEO Reports are such a crucial way for me to digest information. I know, it sounds really annoying to have to do this every single week—but if you can do this for a solid year, even if you skip a couple weeks, it allows you to have something really tangible that you can look back on.
I’d also recommend you download my freebie right now so you can get a sense of what my CEO Report looks like and for you to be able to steal it and create your own!