Your Best Year Yet – Ten questions that will make your next year the best you’ve ever had!


Your Best Year Yet Summary - Auckland Junto

Why would you choose to have an average year if you could have an amazing one? How your years turn out are the result of how well or how poorly you have planned them. You are responsible for your life. If you want to have an amazing year the easiest way to do so is to plan one.

Your Best Year Yet is a workshop consisting of 10 questions that will help you define crystal clear goals and come up with a plan of action to make this the best year you have ever had. It takes a few hours to complete and you will want to think deeply about your answers. So get comfy, grab a pen and paper (if you’re old-school) and get answering these questions.

  1. What did I accomplish?

Write down anything that you consider a win, no matter how big or small. This could be something as simple as learning how to tie your shoes in a new kind of knot. It doesn’t matter. If it felt like a win to you in any way, shape or form then write it down!

  1. What were my biggest disappointments?

Write down anything you tried and failed at, anything you didn’t do but wanted to and anything you did that let yourself down. Perhaps it was trusting someone you shouldn’t have, perhaps it was not achieving the grades you wanted through a lack of effort. The key here is to be honest with yourself and take 100% responsibility for the circumstances you have created in your life. Being honest with yourself is where growth happens.

  1. What did I learn?

Write down any life lessons you learned. What epiphanies did you have? What realisations did you come to? Reflect on what your successes and failures over the last 12 months and dig deep. What are the lessons?

  1. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop?

Write down ways in which your thinking limits you and stops you from achieving your goals. Look for patterns in your thinking that start with “I can’t”, “I don’t understand” or “If only”. These are the stories you tell yourself to justify your lack of progress in a certain area. Find these stories and admit to them. Own them. This is the first step in starting to free yourself from them. Next write down what you can do to tell yourself new stories that will empower you to make progress instead of holding you back.

  1. What are my personal values?

Write down the things that you feel are the most important to how you conduct your life, business and relationships. These are the things that guide you in every decision you make. They are who you tell yourself you are, what you live your life by and how you want the world to see you.

  1. What roles do I play in my life?

Everyone plays several different roles in life. Father, brother, husband, employee, coach, friend, team mate, student etc. Write down all of the roles you play in your life. To make it simpler you can consolidate certain roles where possible. E.g. Brother, Uncle, Son -> Family Member. Write a decent amount of roles but don’t go overboard. Keep the list sensible.

  1. What role is my major focus for the next 12 months?

Focus on the one thing that will you bring you closest to your most important goal. Throughout the next 12 months which role do you want to put most of your energy into? Which will have the biggest impact on your life?

  1. What are my goals for each role?

Write down all the goals you can think of for each role you play in your life. Write as many or as few goals as you would like for each role. Get them all down. Reflect on your answers to previous questions while you write them. Think about where you have been and where you are going and what you need to do to get there.

Pro Tip:

Well defined goals have the following structure:

  1. Measurable results
  2. A plan of action
  3. A time frame

Without these 3 things you don’t have a goal. You have a dream, and dreams don’t happen. So make sure you follow this structure and define your goals well. Below is an example to help guide you.

Bad = I would like to see my brother more often.

How does one define ‘more often’? How can you possibly know if you have succeeded at this goal or not? This is a bad example because it does not have a reliable way to measure the results nor does it include a time frame.

Good = I want to see my brother for lunch once a week at our favourite café.

Written this way it is very easy to measure whether or not you accomplished the goal and thus monitor your progress and make adjustments as necessary. It also includes a weekly time frame to help spur you to action on a regular basis and provides a basic plan of action to see eat at a particular place. This is a far more achievable goal than ‘seeing him more often’.

  1. What are my top ten goals for this year?

Out of all the goals you wrote down pick out your top 10 most important goals and write them down. They don’t have to be in any particular order. You can pick as many or as few as you like from whichever roles you want. Which 10 would be amazing to accomplish? Limiting the number of goals you go after helps you to focus your energy in order to help you actually accomplish the goals you have set.

  1. How can I make sure I achieve my top 10 goals?

Write down a plan of action to ensure you follow through with completing your goals. This is the most important question. You want to design a system or routine that will keep you focused on your goals and accountable for making progress and tracking results. A system of weekly review and planning works incredibly well. Each Sunday write down what action you are going to take over the coming week to make progress on each one of your goals and evaluate whether or not you accomplished the tasks you set for yourself during last week’s review and planning session.

Do this workshop and follow through with implementing your plan of action to achieve your top 10 goals and I guarantee your next 12 months won’t be like your last 12 months. You will have a brand new 12 months. You will have Your Best Year Yet!

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Summary of The E-Myth Revisited: Why You Built A Job Not A Business And How Ray Kroc Can Sort It Out

Starting a company doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. In fact, most companies are not started by entrepreneurs. That’s a myth. The E-myth. The most disheartening story I ever heard about business was when I was talking to a small business owner at a party over a beer and some light banter and they said to me – “The first year after I bought the business it dawned on me… I didn’t buy a business. I bought a job.” Far from having the freedom to be their own boss, their clients relied on them so heavily that they didn’t even have the freedom to take any holidays for 5 years. Burnt out and exhausted, it was a sad realization. I left the party with that lesson tucked away in the back of my mind and it has remained there ever since.

That’s why when I read the E-Myth revisited it really struck a chord deep inside me. It resonated. Like a bolt from the blue I realized – “That’s why they felt so trapped and like they had made a mistake even though they were very good at performing their services!” – It was because they were a Technician. And only a Technician.

The E-Myth Revisited summary
The E-Myth Revisited

While there are lots of different jobs to be done in a business there are really only 3 different roles:

Technician – capable of doing the hands on work

Manager – maintains day to day operations

Entrepreneur – leads the business with a vision

Most businesses are started by Technicians. Most businesses fail. Often Technicians don’t possess enough of the other two skillsets and find it difficult to expand their business. A typical business builder is 70% technician, 20% manager and 10% entrepreneur. In reality a more balanced mix of these is needed. If a business is going to thrive it needs to expand beyond just the founder.

So what’s the actionable strategy? What can you start doing in your business today that will help you play the winning hand? How can you avoid building a job and start building a business?

Build systems.

You must create and document systems for how to run every part of the business. Spend time working on your business, not just in it. Design and document your systems so well that anyone could follow them – reduce the need for talented people. Great systems give average people extraordinary results, consistently. Treat your business like a template that you can use to replicate elsewhere and write an operations manual to do just that.

The next thing to do is to quantify and measure. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Use this data to analyse what is working in your business and what is not. Keep what works, throw away what doesn’t. Once you find something that works make it part of your ‘standard practice’ and document it as part of your system. Rinse. Repeat. Replace yourself with a system.

This is what Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s empire did. He had been selling milk shake machines for the last 30 years and was in his early 50’s when he saw the operation the McDonald brothers had built with their hamburger stand in San Bernadino, California and instantly recognized it as the future of fast food. He persuaded them to cut a deal allowing him to sell franchises and take a very small cut of the profit. He opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois replicating the original store run by the McDonald brothers. From there he analysed, refined and documented every single process related to running the business so he could teach new franchise owners how to run a McDonald’s and also be successful business owners themselves. He built the system such that the basics of everything were the same everywhere but franchise owners were encouraged to experiment with certain things and if they were successful they were replicated everywhere. Franchise owners are responsible for the creation of the Filet-O-Fish, Egg McMuffin and McDonald’s signature burger; the Big Mac. Kroc bought the McDonald brothers out for just short of a few million and continued to use the system he had created to expand McDonald’s from a single drive-in hamburger stand in San Bernadino, California to a global fast food icon with over 35,000 restaurants in 119 countries serving over 68 million customers every single day.

Reflecting on my conversation with the small business owner who built themselves a vacation-less job and how Ray Kroc was able to systematize the production of food and the opening of a new restaurant to build a global empire, it is clear to see that in life and business, developing a systems mindset will help you play the winning hand. Ray Kroc earned $12,000 a year selling milk shake machines in his early 50’s. The McDonald brothers earned $100,000 a year through their drive-in hamburger joint in San Bernadino. McDonald’s was worth $8 billion by the time Ray Kroc died in 1984 and Ray Kroc himself was worth an estimated $500 million. That, my friends, is the value of a system.

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BONUS – Interview with Michael Gerber author of the E-Myth Revisited

This Is Who We Are; This Is What We Stand For; This Is What We’re All About.

We believe that there are right ways and wrong ways to do things in life. The right ways are efficient ways to achieve results and the wrong ways are inefficient ways to achieve results. The best way, the best practice, is the most efficient way to achieve results.

While looking for inspiration from the many titans of history, we stumbled upon the works of none other than Benjamin Franklin himself. After returning from his journey to London, Franklin made the decision that he was going to change his life for the better. True to his name, he did a couple of interesting things in order to accomplish this task. First, he wrote down a list of 13 virtues that he would attempt to live by. He worked on one and only one of them each week knowing that he couldn’t possibly manage to work on them all at once. Despite many shortcomings by his own admission, he believed the attempt made him a better person and contributed greatly to his success. Second, he created the Junto, a mutual improvement club and discussion group of “like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” The purpose of the group was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy (considered to be the precursor of natural sciences such as physics) and to exchange knowledge of business affairs. Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia as an offshoot of the Junto, a subscription library which later became the first public library in the United States and possibly the world. Junto members donated many of their own books to the library including books on politics, philosophy, and business which was a rarity for the time. Franklin, with the help of the Junto, professionalized the Night Watch which lead to the creation of Philadelphia’s first police force, he urged the creation of a local fire brigade, and founded the city’s first hospital and the predecessor of the University of Pennsylvania.

We meet every week to discuss ways of bettering ourselves and those around us just like Benjamin Franklin’s original. Our purpose, our reason for being, is to share the best practices that offer the most value to the most people. To learn more about us, find us on twitter. If you like our stuff, make sure to follow us!