by Matt Thomas

There is only one answer an entrepreneur will give you when you ask how their new venture is going, “Great!” They may be 24 hours away from missing payroll for the first time, putting off replying to emails from disgruntled investors, struggling with a long sales cycle, and paralyzed wondering whether or not this was a good idea, but ten times out of ten they will respond with optimism and positivity. Ask anyone who has started a business and they’ll tell you, 50% of the game is just staying positive and pushing on. The ones that give up? Well, they weren’t cut out for it in the first place! Maybe. Maybe not.

We all know the harrowing statistics around business failure. A staggering percentage of new ventures will close their doors by year three, and even more by year five. In the startup world, companies are allowed, and even encouraged, to pursue funding round after funding round without any real pressure to turn a profit. Users, revenue, and brand recognition create buzz, but they don’t always translate into a viable business. Entrepreneurs believe that they have stumbled into something special. Something unique, irreplaceable, well-positioned, and right on time. Until things don’t go as planned.

by Trevor Lee

When we had kids my wife started a tradition of doing a “New Year’s Interview” each year on December 31. It was sort of a personal “state of the union.” She wrote down things like achievements from the past year, favorite foods, and what they most enjoyed doing. As they got older it became something they could do for themselves and it became a useful way of helping them consider various aspects of their lives.

While intentional reflection is important for leaders throughout the year, the year’s end has a way of forcing that reflection when busyness has pushed it to the back burner. Reflection on its own won’t really be useful to you or your business though. When my kids fill out their “New Year’s Interview” as fast as they can and never look at it again it’s really a pointless exercise. So how can you make sure your reflection is worth the time?