Your Year. Your Story.

Lessons from the Look Out

I was leaving the house bundled up with bags, prams and two run-about kids ready to walk to school and daycare when it began to rain. We quickly backtracked our chaotic crusade back inside and stood peering out at the rain. We were car-less. My husband had taken the car to be serviced early that morning and so with no other option (but get really wet with two crazy kids) I decided to put out the emergency phone call to my dad who arrived faithfully with a car with two car sears to give us all a lift.

Grateful, and now early, our reward for our change of plan and new mode of transportation was to detour and pick up some takeaway coffees (and baby cinos of course). So we  stopped at the Look Out at the top of what we call Roly-Poly Hill to drink our coffees, and of course it had stopped raining by now. This hill above West Ryde, has an impressive view over western Sydney, looking out over Ryde, then out to Parramatta and on a clear day all the way to the misty outline of the Blue Mountains.

At the top of this lookout is a bronze radial map that shows you the direction and distance to local landmarks like the Ryde hospital and Brush Farm, and then it shows you local cities like Parramatta. Then it points out the distance and direction of Melbourne, Canberra and even Darwin. And it even includes markers to Toyko, London and New York.

It’s a wonderful stoking of the imagination to stand in one location and be reminded of your place in relation to so many other landmarks.

Looking to the landmarks of your year

Coming to the end of the year feels a lot like this. It’s that moment where you take a position at a lofty lookout and look back on the landmarks of your year.

You can’t help but recall a couple of those awesome achievements – awards, big deals and big projects. No doubt there’s been a few, can you think through those moments from your year?

Then you look down the valley at some of the hard times – the loss of loved ones, illnesses, hard lessons or deals that fell through. What were they for you?

And then, of course, your gaze lifts out to those faraway places you’re still yet to go. Those plans for tomorrow, the goals for next quarter and the aspirations for next year.

Making Meaning of the Moments

The lofty peaks are so helpful for observing the past year and your position in relation to your future.

And it’s helpful then, to make meaning of those observations. Brene Brown wrote a Facebook post with these 4 questions that she asks herself at the close of every year.

  1. What do I want more of in my life?
  2. How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
  3. What will make me feel more alive? Braver?
  4. At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?

What have those moments from your year meant for you?

Crafting Content from the Commentary

So how then do you translate this into content for building your online brand? How can translate Your Year into Your Story?

Gary Vaynerchuk said in his book “Crushin’ it” the process of documenting to build a personal brand is a good strategy. “You are the unique piece of creative, speak your truth and let your audience learn who you are.”

I can attest to this from my own research this year. I’ve found being ‘real and relatable’ has great cut-through on all social channels. An audience really leans in when you share a reflection or a life lesson. Original content on video, blogs and then images (in that order) are also well ranked by the algorithms, so it helps to get your content noticed.

So how could you translate your reflections from the year into content that you create?

Here are 3 ideas you could try:

  • Video – Record a video on your phone (make sure you use a microphone that attaches to your phone) about the one lesson you couldn’t afford not to learn this year and how it’s helped you be better/stronger/more creative in your business. You can edit it with an app like Magisto. Make sure you upload it directly to Facebook or Linkedin for better visibility on the platforms (don’t share a Youtube link).
  • Article – Write a LinkedIn article with a title with something like “What I’ve learned while building a xxx business/career in the last 12 months…” The What I’ve learned articles will often receive greater views then crafting a clever title.
  • Photo – Create a Photo SlideShow on Facebook. Find about 4-10 photos from your year and create a slideshow of your highlights to share with your audience.


Kirryn Zerna is a speaker, facilitator and advisor. Her passion is to help businesses and leaders to stand out, without selling out, in this age of online influence. Known for her work in brand communication, strategy and future trends, what’s unique about Kirryn is her broad experience across sectors. She draws on over 15 years experience working with businesses of all sizes – from corporate, government, consulting agencies, small business and high profile individuals.