When I was in college, I worked part time doing clerical work in a farm implement shop. It was a fairly benign job most of the year.

Then December rolled around and I was sent to a dark cavern where the dusty parts bins were housed. It was my version of being sent to Siberia.

My assignment was to count the contents of each bin. It took a couple of weeks to complete and I often wept as I inventoried the metal objects housed in the bins.

Of course, it’s common for businesses to do an end of the year inventory to see where they’re at. Even if your business doesn’t have an inventory of products or parts to count, it’s a valuable exercise.

I faithfully do so myself, but it’s far more pleasant than counting tractor parts. My inventory only requires a journal, a pen and some thoughtful time answering the following questions.

° What can you do now that you couldn’t do (or hadn’t done) at the start of the year?

° Where have you been that you hadn’t been a year ago?

° What have you learned?

° What problems have you solved?

° What has inspired you?

° How have you celebrated?

° What investments have you made in yourself?

° What new profit centers have you created? Launched?

° What new books have you read?

° What new connections have you made?

° What did you instigate?

° Which of your ideas are coming to life?

° What are you proudest of?

° Where have you made the most progress?

° What disappointments have you overcome?

° What unexpected gifts appeared?

° What would you like more of next year? Less of?

For me, the real purpose of taking inventory is to answer the question, “Are you living in a bigger world than you were when the year began?” How I honestly answer that question determines my journey for the year ahead.

As Alex Haley, author of Roots, reminded us, “The person who doesn’t know where they’re coming from, can’t know where they’re going.”