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Looking back and looking ahead

Sunsetting in Rearview Mirror, South DakotaInspired by Suzanne Wheatley’s post on Information Today, I thought I’d use my traditional* end-of-year post to not just set goals for 2013, but to look back on some of my achievements in 2012. This has been an incredibly difficult year for a number of reasons, some public and some not, so it seems like a good idea to remind myself of some of the good things this year, before I start looking ahead to next year.

So, here are some of the things I’m proudest of having achieved in 2012:

1. Speaking at two professional events

This year I spoke at a seminar for SLA Europe, and a panel session at the Ark Group law libraries conference. Sadly for personal reasons I was unable to attend the BIALL conference in June, where I was also supposed to be speaking, but I was glad to have these two other opportunities in the year to speak. Public speaking still absolutely terrifies me, but I’m glad to report that it’s getting easier each time I do it – I’ve even started to enjoy it! I don’t think I’ll ever get to the stage where I’m completely unfazed by public speaking, but then I always think that a bit of nervousness is a good thing: it shows you care.

2. Writing for CILIP Update

In the autumn I wrote a letter to CILIP Update in response to a piece they published about outsourcing, and was invited to write my own article as a response. I’m happy to say it was quite well received, and I will be writing a semi-regular column for CILIP in 2013, on the topic of proving your value in the workplace. I’m delighted at the opportunity, and looking forward to doing more professional writing!

3. Learning to swim

Ok, I sort of already could swim – at least, I could keep myself afloat and doggy-paddle – but I never really learnt to do it properly. Like many people I’m sure, I was inspired by watching the Olympics this summer: I’m not really a big sports fan, but having watched some of the swimming and seeing how beautiful it looked, I was suddenly really sad that I’d given up swimming lessons as soon as my parents let me! So I signed up to an adult swimming class at my local leisure centre, and discovered that I really enjoyed it! I’m now getting quite good at backstroke, and am almost there with my front crawl 🙂

BinocularsWell, that all looks quite good written down like that! So, now I’m all abuzz with positivity having reviewed my achievements, what are my goals** for 2013? Well, how about…

1. Decide what to do about Chartership

Last year I put “complete CILIP chartership” as a goal. That didn’t happen, largely for personal reasons. I’m still not sure it will happen this year, because I’m far from sure that chartering is something I still want to do. That’s a complicated post for another time, so I’ll just leave it at this: this year, I will either complete my chartership in a burst of activity, or I will decide to let it go.

2. Pick up more CPD activities

This year, I have mostly stepped back from all my CPD stuff (committee memberships, LIKE North, blogging…), for personal reasons. I needed that time away from it all, but I am starting to miss it – and starting to feel like I could take more on again. I don’t want to immediately load my plate with too much and burn out again, so I will be starting slowly, but I do plan to be more active in the profession this year.

3. Keep learning

I’m starting a new job next week, which is in a totally new field and sector for me. It’s going to involve quite a steep learning curve – and I am incredibly excited about that prospect. I love learning new things, and I’m looking forward to having a solid reason to develop new skills. I don’t plan to leave it all at just work, either – learning for me should encompass all aspects of my life.

There: 3 achievements, and 3 goals. That feels like a nice round number to leave it at!

So, onwards to 2013. Last year, I said something about how I was sure 2012 was going to be better than 2011, because it bloody well had to be. Given how 2012 actually turned out, I’m not going to say the same this year – would rather feel like tempting fate! Besides which, if this year has taught me anything, it’s that it is pointless worrying about the events in your life. Life will always throw things at you that you’re not ready for, so why worry about what you can’t control? Far better to focus on what you can control: your own attitude. At Christmas, I described my new philosophy to my sisters as “relentless positivity”. Whatever happens this year, good or bad, I will meet it with optimism.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Champagne* This is the fourth time I’ve done it – I think that counts as a tradition!

** Yes, that’s “goals”, not “resolutions”. Resolutions don’t work for me: you’re bound to miss some, and then feel awful for failing. With a goal, it doesn’t matter if you don’t meet it, or if the goal itself changes over the year – it’s about trying.

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