Back to top

Year-in-Review Rituals for You and Your Clients

Wrapping up the year can look a lot of different ways.

As visual practitioners, some of the most valuable tools and assets we have can be turned on ourselves. For those new to the field, you can use what you have learned in your trainings to use with your clients—whether it’s formal training from places like The Grove, Bikablo or the giants who came before us—or new influences you have experienced on the job.

While I spent many years looking for effective methodologies, now I want to share out what I have learned. You might find these resources helpful for you personally and/or professionally. I have even created an example you can share with your clients.

Creating a masterplan starts early

A great way to start is with Brandy Agerbeck’s “Brandyfesto.” It’s a wonderful exercise that can inspire you to explore and tell your story—maybe even write your own manifesto! Each year I have written my masterplan by 11/22 and every year I start the process a little earlier. This year I started in August and I’m so glad that I did because this intentional reflection time has allowed for testing of ideas against my decision model and practice integrating my ideas in a safe space where it’s okay to fail. Doing so has allowed me to refine my thinking and realize where I can bring value and where to focus my efforts.

If that seems like too much time to spend, no worries! Structure is just as important as investing your time. Here are the resources I have compiled over the years from within and outside our field to put strategic planning into perspective. Click here to download a list of Masterplan Resources.

Integrating what you learn is key

How often do you find yourself reading more books and attending workshops looking for the answer? I’ve always used the term “life-long learner” to describe my voracious appetite for information. I’ve spent a lot of time and money to develop my career. But it wasn’t until I learned how to integrate those learnings that it truly paid off. How are you integrating what you learn into your work? Do you set a schedule practice and implement or rely on just-in-time learning? Both work!

As a trainer, I incorporate integration techniques into many of the exercises and at the end of my courses—practical applications that can be implemented immediately. I dedicated an entire section of Listen, Letter, Draw Together to hold quarterly integration sessions. You can download the self-guided exercise from the latest session called “Integration is Key!” here. The accompanying video is part of the course.

Reflecting on this past year

You can make a big investment of time or money or simply take the work you know and turn it on yourself. As the newly named Interim Director of Design and Visualization at Kadabra, I have been supporting the team with visuals and writing content for their blog on related topics. There you will find a quick and easy way to reflect on the past year. You can even share the process and the presentation tool I have created with one or more of your clients.

Yes, creating a masterplan is important but more so is reflecting on the year as an annual ritual. And telling your story can be the seed for writing your next chapter.

Heather Martinez is the Interim Director of Design and Visualization at Kadabra. She secured the unique job title and role by drawing out her ideas and sharing it with her team. She believes there is no limit to success when putting pencil and marker to paper.