2016 Year in Review

Say Goodbye to 2016.

Here it is! The last 3 Minute Round of the year. The last blog is usually gut wrenching to write because although I’m usually very upbeat and optimistic about the future, it’s difficult to reflect on the past and not feel a little sad.
I lost my mom in May so maybe that’s a big part of it for me.

hand-1105331_640It just seemed like a very tough year all around for a lot of reasons. There’s the DOL Fiduciary Ruling in the financial services industry. And all those stories that nobody expected to be in the news. Exploding Samsung phones. Something else to Snapchat. The Cubs winning the World Series. Another live Facebook video. And Donald Trump did what?

Sadly, there were way too many (and one is too many) terroristic attacks, school shootings, racial incidents, bullying episodes, LBGT horror stories, lost jobs, lost business opportunities, lost families, lost relationships, sick friends, sick relatives. Too many riots. Too many protests. Too many political mudslinging moments captured on CNN and Fox. Too many stories about police abuse. Too many.

And too many tears.

In a quick paragraph, here are some 2016 stories that come to mind.

Ongoing airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria. Ceasefire agreement in Syria collapses in April. In Chicago, 64 individual shootings over Memorial Day weekend. Britons vote to leave the European Union. The Pulse nightclub massacre leaving 50 people dead – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The death of Fidel Castro. 3,000 migrants from Eritrea rescued by Italian naval ships off the coast of Sabratha, Libya. NJ Transit train crashes into train station in Hoboken killing 1 and injuring over 100. Colin Kaepernick and others in the National Football League protest to racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. The hit show on NBC This is Us. The Chicago Cubs celebrated a World Series victory – the team’s first in 108 years. Donald Trump won the American presidency, defying all the odds. Who would have thought Hillary would lose? If she won (and many still think she did), it would have made history. The world, American politics, and Saturday Night Live may never be the same. People gathered outside Trump Tower to protest the election of Donald Trump. “Not my President.” The public assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov at an art exhibit. TIME Magazine names Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year. Hillary Clinton is announced runner-up.

This is also the year the music died as more than a dozen musical artists left us. And way too many celebrities (and some major icons) including Joe Alaskey, Edward Albee, Muhammad Ali, Alexis Arquette, Kenny Baker, David Bowie, Tony Burton, Charmian Carr, The Lady Chablis, Phil Chess, Chyna, Michael Cimino, Guy Clark, Leonard Cohen, Bud Collins, Pat Conroy, Attrell Cordes, Bill Cunningham, Phife Dawg, Larry Drake, Patty Duke, Umberto Eco, Bob Elliott, Keith Emerson, Jose Fernandez, Carrie Fisher, Tommy Ford, Pete Fountain, Glenn Frey, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Juan Gabriel, Joe Garagiola, George Gaynes, Ron Glass, John Glenn, Christina Grimmie, Zaha Hadid, Merle Haggard, Dan Haggerty, Curtis Hanson, Pat Harrington Jr., Youree Dell Harris, Jim Harrison, Tom Hayden, Fred Hellerman, Florence Henderson, Steven Hill, Ken Howard, Gordie Howe, David Huddleston, Gwen Ifill, Monty Irvin, Sonny James, Sharon Jones, Paul Kantner, W.P. Kinsella, Timothy LaHaye, Greg Lake, Madeleine LeBeau, Harper Lee, Ron Lester, Garry Marshall, Sir George Martin, Joseph Mascolo, John McLaughlin, Michelle McNamara, Kevin Meaney, Nick Menza, Michu Meszaros, George Michael, Dave Mirra, Edgar Mitchell, Scotty Moore, Gloria Naylor, Noel Neill, James Noble, Bill Nunn, Hugh O’Brian, Arnold Palmer, Shimon Peres, John Polito, Prince, Nancy Reagan, Lee Reherman, Janet Reno, Debbie Reynolds, Alan Rickman, Dylan Rieder, Doris Roberts, Matt Roberts, Leon Russell, Morley Safer, John Saunders, Craig Sager, Antonin Scalia, William Schallert, Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Shandling, Frank Sinatra Jr., Kimbo Slice, Will Smith, Ralph Stanley, Robert Stigwood, Pat Summitt, Alan Thicke, Vanity, Robert Vaughan, Bobby Vee, Abe Vigoda, Tray Walker, Papa Wemba, Maurice White, Elie Wiesel, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Alan Young, Vilmos Zsigmond, Buckwheat Zydeco.

Hey, at least Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa were all lumped together on the calendar. So there’s that.

So what does all this mean? Not a lot I’m afraid.

Say goodbye to all of the stories of 2016, most of which we have little to no control over. Let’s focus on a New Year and some of the awesome things in your life where you do.

Here are 9 aspects of your life that can help you pave the way to a strong 2017.

Your Current Role or Career
Many people (about 67 percent) hate their jobs or at least the place they work. If you’re one of them, what are you doing? I meet many professionals that are miserable which means they will ultimately fail in their roles. You’re spending at least 2,000 hours a year doing something you hate. Any clue what you want to do? Or should be doing? Here’s your chance to do it. If you’re the manager of a firm, this is your chance to attract candidates that want to succeed in your firm.

Your Clients
Kind of a funny thing. You love all your clients when you need them – simply because they were there when you needed them. As you grow and your book of business grows with you, you can afford to be choosy. Do your clients actually cost you money? Do they reflect your current focus? Are they helping you get to the next level (whatever that is)? Do you enjoy your work with them? Are you continuing to learn and grow because of your work with them? Do you even like them? Think about whether you have clients that are taking your time away from – well, better clients. (For fun, apply same questions to Your Staff, Associates, and Manager.)

Your Prospects
Same brilliant line of questioning as above when it comes to your prospects. Will they get you to where you want to go? (Do you even know where you want to go?) When (not if) they become your clients, will they provide you the opportunity to do the work you love? Are your current prospects synonymous with your favorite clients? (Read this one again.) If not, why not?

Your Prospecting
How do you attract your prospects to you? Do you attract your prospects to you? Do you enjoy this part of your work? Are you using an approach that makes the best use of your time? Uses the least amount of time? Or at least has the biggest return on that time? Do you even have the time? Make the time? Know what time it is? Does your method of prospecting (say, cold calling) bring you the type of prospects you desire? If so, great! If not, why are you wasting your time?

Your Network
Let’s just lump all of your clients, prospects (the ones that actually know you), vendors, associates, staff, managers, friends, countryman, and union delegates together. Do you like what you see? Do you do business with (or at least hang out with) people that you like? If you’re not spending time with people that make you feel good about you (and that feel good about themselves), you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Your Time
Do you make the time to spend doing the things that count? To spend on the people that count? Are you in control of how you spend your time? Consider planning on scheduling time off now for the whole year (actually blocking days in your calendar) so you don’t convince yourself that you’re too busy. Naturally, get to this when you’re not too busy.

Your Associations
Are there business or community groups that would interest you because of the people or the cause? Did you ever want to serve on a board? There has to be business groups that would help you get connected with prospective friends, clients, vendors, and staff. If you feel there aren’t enough contacts in your network, this is a pretty good place to start.

Your Personal Life
How do you spend your time when you’re not working? Are you happy in your personal life? Does your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or “significant whatever” make you feel good about yourself? Are they supportive of you – especially when you want to donate all of your savings to a dog park? And do you do (or try to do) the same for them? Does your partner in life make you the better for it? How often do you tell them?

Your Health and Wellness
Do you look the way you want to look? Feel the way you want to feel? Eat the way you should? Exercise the way you should? Have you burned through more gym memberships than you have calories? Good health and fitness increases the quality of life, how long you live, and how quickly you recover from injury and illness. Not to mention your increased self confidence and appearance in a bathing suit. Everyone knows all of this and yet, most people don’t do anything about it. There’s a running joke (not about running) in the fitness world about the increase of gym memberships in January and their imminent decline in March. The truth is this happens with almost all resolutions – even the non-gym stuff. Are you going to be a running joke this year?

Review the list above with pen in hand and write down one good habit you plan on picking up for the New Year. Just pick one. If you pick more than one, you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t do it. Commit to doing it – not trying to do it. One of my clients says if you do something over the course of 72 hours, it becomes a habit. I say shoot for 5 days (120 hours). If it takes, stay with it. If not, do something else. I would imagine the same thing goes for many bad habits you’re trying to quit, but we’ll save that for next year.

All the best for the best New Year ever. Remember, I’m in your corner!

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One thought on “2016 Year in Review

  1. Bill Manfreonia CPE

    Michael: I feel that your article “2016 Year in Review” was right on. I want to express my sincere condolences on your loss of your mom. I know by the way you speak and write that Mom was a great teacher to you. I feel that you covered 2016 in review quite well. I hope that you have a Healthy, Happy and Prospers New Years to you and your Family.


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