Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - Clarifying Vision

Episode 18 – Set Yourself Up for the Best Year Ever

Created By
Episode 18 - Set Yourself Up for the Best Year Ever

Let’s dive into the art of transformation. You know, that journey that kicks off when you get real with how things are going, what’s clicking, and what’s gotta go. Yep, it’s the formula for smashing those career and life patterns that don’t serve you.

Here’s the gold: Maximizing your career growth and success is all about soaking in those lessons and turning them into life fuel. And you can do this whenever the mood strikes – every year, month, or even every single day. It’s your call.

But given it’s the beginning of a new year, it’s a great time for YOU to take the time to reflect, learn, and celebrate your year. The main benefit of doing this is to achieve your goals faster and avoid getting STUCK.

So in this episode, I’m going to talk about the importance of reviewing your year and share my 4 big lessons.

If you’re looking for a specific freebie or tool mentioned in this podcast, you can visit to access additional free training tools designed to help you become a highly valued leader.

Read the Transcript

Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.

Hello there, everyone. It’s great to have you here. I just wanted to take a moment to say, Happy New Year everyone. Make it a great one. Make it your best year ever. Because you can decide whether or not you want to do that. 

That’s really why I wanted to do this episode today, about the Year in Review. In order to make 2020 the best year ever, it’s important to look back at 2019 or any year and say, What lessons am I taking away from this year? Because transformations, big moves in our lives really begin when we create awareness of how we’re doing. What’s working for you? What’s not working for you? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to start letting go of because it’s not working for you? It’s a very self-effacing exercise. 

I think that’s why a lot of people shy away from it and don’t want to do it because you’re now facing and looking at what you did ‘wrong.’ I mean, the good stuff is great, you can laundry list all these amazing things that you did. But when you’re listing the things that didn’t work out so well for you, it’s hard to look at. I know it’s normal to not want to take a long list of ‘failures,’ but I challenge you to think of those failures and those mistakes not as things that weren’t working, just things that didn’t work out the way that you wanted them to. 

That’s a whole different way of looking at it. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, here’s what I can do differently, here’s what I’m learning, here’s what I was doing that got me that result. here’s how I can do things differently. Use them as leverage points. What’s working that you want to really capitalize on and do more of, and then what are the leverage points on the things that didn’t work out the way that you wanted them to? 

From that place, you can make some really informed decisions on how to make next year or the coming year your best year ever. That’s going to help you maximize your potential for growth, maximize your potential for happiness, and maximize your potential for reaching the goals that you’re setting for yourself. Because like I always say, success is 80% mindset. 

So getting into understanding and getting awareness around how you’re showing up when you’re getting certain results, is going to really help you see and make adjustments and little nudges to get you on the track that you want to be on. And that’s important. The track that you want to be on and the way that you want to stay on that track because everyone’s situation is different. 

I give lots of advice. I talk about how I recommend that people address certain situations, or I give you ideas that I hope to inspire you. But the whole intention is not to do things the way that I’m telling you to do them because they may not work exactly for you. The entire intention is to give you inspiration and spark ideas based on your situation and the way that you would actually make things work. 

The idea with all of this and certainly for today’s episode, is to help you start building your own unique success strategy. Because honestly, nothing is perfect. You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect. Things are never going to go exactly the way that we want them to. But by doing reviews, you can really lift your head up, see the forest through the trees, get your head out of the sand, and really see what’s going on. You want to get that 10,000-foot view of how you’re doing and why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

But so many people keep their heads down. They don’t want to take responsibility for their results or they don’t want to face their failures or mistakes. I have done this. Those people just end up going around and around in circles, generating the same patterns over and over again, and that doesn’t move you forward. In fact, what ends up happening is the word that we always talk about and lots of people talk about. It’s that they get stuck in this endless vortex. 

If you’re someone who’s really interested in moving forward, and creating some momentum and some progress in your career, then definitely, I suggest a year in review. I hate the word ‘review’ so it’s not really a judgment, it’s a wrap-up and an assessment for your own self-assessment on how you’re doing and what you want to be doing, differently. You want to get underneath the patterns that are working for you, and the patterns that aren’t working as well for you, and start to make the adjustments that you need to get to the place that you want to go. 

I’m not actually going to go into a lot about how to do a review, I’m hoping to talk a little bit about why you should do a review. Then I also want to share with you my four lessons, my four big takeaways from doing my own year-end review this year. Again, maybe these will spark some ideas for you when you do yours. We’re just going to keep this tight. 

My very first lesson is that, wherever your fear is, that’s the thing that’s going to help you grow. There are lots of great quotes around this. The one I’ve been talking about a lot is from Napoleon Hill, where he talks about the obstacle is the way. Whenever you are afraid of something, that’s the thing that you have to do to move forward. Think about it that way. That was something that really helped me a lot this year. 

For instance, in my TED talk. I did a TED talk, I applied for a TED talk, I wrote the TED talk, I practice my butt off with this TED talk, and then I got up on stage and I did it. Not even in my own market with my own friends. I flew to Hilton Head to do it. I do have friends there but my family wasn’t around me. Everyone wasn’t there to cheer me on. I was really going after it on my own and every step of that process was scary. Every step. Because every step is risk rejection, risk failure, publicly. 

Because even when I signed up for it, or I applied for it, they could reject me and reject my idea. That could have been something that was tough. Moreover, I told people that I was doing this TED talk. I’m posting it on LinkedIn, I’m letting people know that it’s happening, and I’m giving people updates. If I blow it when this video comes out, OMG, am I going to be embarrassed? There was all this fear that I was creating for myself. All this what does this mean, what does this say about me, and all this kind of stuff. 

With all that noise I had to learn to stop, calm down, stay focused, and keep going after the thing that was scaring me. There were a few examples of that when it came to my business. One that I’m working through right now, as a matter of fact, and that is selling myself to people, selling my services, getting out there, networking, talking to people, getting ideas, building off them, writing proposals. 

Every one of those things scares me every time because it’s different than when I was in my corporate job because I had this list of to-do’s and I was just doing them. Now, it’s my own business and it’s just a different feeling. I don’t even know how to explain it. That’ll be a whole other podcast one day, I guess. 

Just talking about getting out there and selling yourself on your own ideas, it’s a whole different thing. But I’m learning to get better all the time with going after whenever I feel fear, the very first thing I think is, what is it that I’m fearing because this is what I have to do now? I asked myself that question. 

I actually listened to a great podcast from a lady, Brooke Castillo. She’s got The Life Coach School podcast. I love that podcast. She was talking about pain the other day. And the reason that we don’t do things is we’re afraid of them. The reason we fear things is because we feel the pain of it, whether it’s emotional pain, mental pain, or physical pain, but it’s through the pain that we grow. 

For instance, when you are someone who’s working out, you push yourself, you run those extra few minutes, you lift a little bit heavier weight every time and it’s a little bit painful in that moment. But each time your muscles grow, your ability to run grows. All those things make you stronger, physically stronger. It’s the same every time you face a fear and you’re willing to fear the pain. 

What she says is, when the pain comes, just say yes. Welcome it. Yes, this is an opportunity for me to grow. What is it that I’m going to do? That sounds a bit cheesy or a bit scary or whatever, I understand that. Practice. All I can say to you is practice. Start small and think about what you are afraid of. Pick one thing and go after it. See what happens if you do it. 

I do this all the time, on the weekends. I’m so tired, I’m like, I don’t want to go to this party. I’m too tired to go to this party. Then I push myself to go to the party and I end up having an amazing time. It’s the same thing. Push yourself, pick something, go after it, see what happens, learn from it, and then push yourself again. It’s all steps. That was my very first lesson. Whenever I’m afraid, that’s what I got to do. Wherever the fear is, that’s where I have to go. 

The second big lesson for me this year was taking imperfect action. OMG, I don’t even think of myself as a perfectionist. I think that most people who are perfectionists, maybe don’t think of themselves as perfectionists, I don’t know. But I work things and I work things and I work things over and over and over again before I put them out there because I want them to be great.

I had this boss who’s to say this thing, and I totally agree with, to a certain extent. He’s to say, we never have time to do things right, but we always have time to do things twice. And that always stuck with me. Do it right the first time and that was my whole life. 

My parents were like that, too. My mother was the kind of person where I’d get all dressed up and do my hair and makeup and everything. She would find the one speck of dust or little fuzzy thing on my dress and pick it off. She always went to what wasn’t working in the situation versus what was. And that taught me to always strive for perfection because that’s how I was going to receive appreciation. But that’s not the case. 

The more we strive for perfection, the less we get our work out there. Everyone defines perfection differently. What I think is perfect is not going to be perfect for you. What ends up happening is that we don’t actually get our work out there in the world. 

So I just send it out now, I don’t care. If there’s a typo in it, I’ll fix it later. I try to do my best, I get it proofread, and I do all that stuff. If something’s wrong, or if a link doesn’t work or whatever, I just fix it. I mean, I’m going to fix it, but this doesn’t stop me from getting something out there. If it ends up not looking the way I want it to or I say it wrong, or I say the word, ‘um’ in the middle of it, I’m just going to do it, and just get it out there. And I will learn and grow as I go. 

Because the key thing is just to get it out there. Just try it. Just throw it out there with your group. Throw your idea out, throw your draft out, throw your workout. People are going to improve on it anyway, so allow them to do that. Take the pressure off yourself for needing to be perfect and just take action. That was for me the biggest thing. I got so much more accomplished this year, and so much more growth in my business because I was willing to take imperfect action. 

My third lesson for this year is, just telling myself that I’m good at my job. I was in corporate marketing and enterprise marketing my entire career. That’s what I knew that I was a guru at. I was unconsciously competent at being a marketer for big companies, meaning, I just was good at my job, I don’t need to think about it anymore. Then I decided to run my own business and I became a coach. It’s an online business, online marketing, fundamentally, strategically the same thing, functionally, completely different. 

And I became consciously incompetent at what I was doing. I knew that I sucked, I knew that I was making mistakes, and I knew that everything I did was not going to be my perfect version. It was not going to be great and it was not going to be the best. Every day was pressure. Every day, I felt like, OMG, what am I going to step in today? Talk about like feeling paralyzed. I realized like, no, I’m good at what I do. I have lots of experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. See the previous lesson.

I’m good at my job because I want to help people, because my desire is to do the right thing, and because I’m a smart person with a lot of experience, and what I think matters. Even though I am consciously incompetent, every day, I become more and more competent at my job, whether that’s unconscious, meaning, I don’t even think about I’m good at it, or even consciously thinking, Okay, I am getting better at this, I am doing a good job, I’m getting smarter every day. I just focus on the opportunities and remind myself, I’m good at what I do. I have nothing to prove to anybody. 

The more I believe that about myself, the more confident I am in what I do. I look for the things every day that I am good at, in my job, or that I’ve improved at in my job, or even the mistakes I made and what I learned from those mistakes. That’s the big lesson that I took away. Focus on believing that you’re great at your job because you are. 

The fourth thing that I’ve been working on for a long, long time in my life, but I really got great at it this year, was accepting and loving myself. And part of that is that I’m good at my job piece. But it really was more about not worrying about what I look like, if I’ve gained weight, if my hair is done that day, if am I dressed right for this particular video, or whatever it is. I have learned to accept myself and love myself. More so loved myself for who I am. I know I talk about appearance a little bit because a lot of my hang-up is about appearance. I accept that about myself as well that I was shallow, but it’s who I am. And I need to accept that about myself, too. That was my hang-up. 

But also accepting and loving myself, for what I do, how I behave, and the mistakes that I make, like what I just talked about, I’m good at my job. But it’s more universal because when you don’t accept and love yourself, that’s when a lot of bad behaviors come out. The insecurities come out, the judging of other people comes, the competitiveness comes out, and all those things come out. I just accept myself. 

Even when I’m in a bad mood, even when I wake up grumpy, or I behave or react in a way that I’m not in love with, I just lean into it. I’m accepting that’s my mood. It’s okay to not be 100% on top of my game every day, in the same way. I’m doing the best I can every day and sometimes, my best is being a grumpy biatch. That happens. My focus is not to take it out on others. But it’s okay. 

I’m going to let myself have that moment and understand why it’s there. Then ideally, bounce out of it ASAP. But it’s okay to be in it when I need to be in it. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to judge someone and go, Yeah, I judge someone. I don’t mean to do that. It’s okay to make that mistake. It’s okay. I accept myself. 

There’s a great book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the agreements is, always do your best. I love this because, at its face value, it means, as a recovering perfectionist, it’s, Oh, I just need to strive for perfection. No, it’s not that. Always do your best. He talks about it in the way that you do your best, no more and no less. So no more than your best and no less than your best. 

He talks about the fact that your best is different every day. Your best isn’t one thing. It really depends on so many extenuating factors in your life and all the external impacts, stresses, joys, whatever that’s going on around you. Your best changes all the time. Accept yourself for doing your best. Do your best in every moment, whatever that is in that moment, and then learn from it. 

He also suggested to not do more than your best, because when you’re doing more than your best, that’s when you burn out. That’s when you start to break down your energy if you go on too long. It’s okay. It could, obviously, in spurts. We can all push past our best. But to be doing that in a continual way just causes burnout and it takes away from your ability to show up. So accept yourself just the way you are. 

I had such an epiphany about it this year. I don’t know where it happened. It was just something I’d been thinking about and working on for a few years, like practice. Practice, practice, practice. Then one day, I just looked in the mirror and I thought, You’re great. You are great just the way you are. There wasn’t like this big thing that happened. It was just, I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain it. Have you ever done anything where you’ve worked out, it worked out, and then one day, it just became easy? That’s what it was like. 

I’ve been thinking about it, writing about it, journaling about it, and being aware of myself when I’m not behaving in my ideal way. Then one day, I just looked in the mirror and it just clicked. It just clicked. That’s the best way that I can describe it. It just clicked. And I’m still working on it. But whatever that click was, it was like this big leap forward. Sometimes, if I’m not being my best self, that day is a little tired or whatever, I can still fall into it, where I start to look at myself or judge myself, but my recovery is so much faster. 

I can tell you that accepting yourself changes so much. It’s honestly the impetus for this whole idea around going after what I’m afraid of. Because by accepting myself, I feel so much more confident that whatever happens, I don’t care, I’m not going to feel rejected, I’m not going to feel hurt, it’s okay if I make a mistake. It’s like the foundation of everything, accepting myself. So, a huge lesson for me this year, huge strides on that this year. 

If it’s something that you’re struggling with, maybe put it on your list of something that you want to work on in small doses. It’s all small steps, just like any type of exercise. Mental exercise is the same thing, a little bit at a time. We can’t change it overnight. 

Those are the four lessons that I really focused on when I did my review. Whenever you’re afraid, that’s what you have to do. Take imperfect action. I’m good at my job and I’m good at what I do. Accepting myself was a really big one. So I encourage you to go after this guide. Do your own year-end, wrap-up review, assessment, summary, whatever it is, you want to call it, whatever word inspires you, but do it. 

You can pick up the guide that I’ve got at the show notes at It’s going to walk you through helping you capture all your successes, and dig into what made you successful, what didn’t go as expected, and what drove that result. Understanding that all those things are in the past, what worked, what didn’t work, all in the past. 

Now, it’s just about taking your learning for them, understanding the key lessons, and understanding what you want to learn from this year and the tools and the influences that made you successful this year, and which ones didn’t. Then you can do a little summary at the end of the hits from the year, something that you could actually just review on an ongoing basis, put in your journal, put in your brag book, whatever that reminds you of your hits, things that you’re grateful for, your successes, the things you got great feedback on, that kind of stuff, the biggest challenge you overcame, those kinds of things. 

Then make sure that you take time to celebrate. Celebrate after you’ve done your year-end review to say, I did all of this, the good, the bad, the ugly, I did it all. I own it. It’s awesome. Here’s what I learned from that this year. Make sure you celebrate. 

I wish you all such a fantastic new year. I mean that. I don’t mean it like, just Happy New Year. I really want you to make 2020 the best year for you, so far. You can do that by really learning from what you’ve taken on in the past. You can do that by just taking a little time to do an assessment of what you’ve learned so far this year. 

Thank you so much for joining me today. I am so grateful for you. I will see you next week. Bye for now.



More Categories

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

Follow Me

Ready for Executive Coaching?


Mel Savage Freebie Optin - Get the training

Want To Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team?
I cover 4 simple strategies to help you become the trusted, go-to leader who gets access to the best projects, has the most influence and gets the money, promotions and people they ask for. No overworking required. Get instant access now.

about your host

Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
Scroll to Top

Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team​

Become the go-to leader in your organization that consistently gets offered the most desirable opportunities. No overworking required.

Book Your consultation