Brian Casel
Brian Casel

Rewards and Incompletes

by Brian Casel on December 27, 2019
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Around December/January of every year, many of us publish our year-end post, grading ourselves on how we’ve achieved or failed on the ambitious goals we set for ourselves a year ago, and set even more ambitious ones for next year.

I stopped doing that because I found that goals are more useful within a 90-day timeframe. On an annual basis, it’s better to focus on themes instead.

Here’s another angle that can be useful: rewards and incompletes.


First, your rewards.

Take a minute to look back on this year and ask yourself:

What new rewards did I reap this past year as a result of the long-term work I put in?

It’s easy to just keep working. It’s not so easy to step back and actually recognize how your work has paid off. Give yourself credit. You don’t work for nothing!


Now, your incompletes.

Here’s your question:

What have you been working toward, but haven’t yet achieved?

We all have something. Probably several things.

The key is to treat your incompletes as good things, not failures.

Don’t stress about the timing. Things always take longer than you hoped, and most of the time, how long things take is outside your control (this is why I don’t set specific annual goals).

What’s good about incompletes? The fact that you’re acknowledging them. Write them down. Own them. That act in itself will propell you to work strategically on moving the needle going forward.

Incompletes as the Reward

As I thought about these questions for myself, it occurred to me:

My incomplete and my reward are one and the same!

My reward that comes to mind first is this: It took years of work, but now my business runs sustainably without me in the day-to-day, and it funds my full-time hours to work on creating new products.

The top-most incomplete on my list is the imbalance of my income to my time. The newer products, which I’ve been giving the majority of my time to, still account for a very small minority of my income (at the time I wrote this).

But I’m working on that ;)