“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” Philosopher, John Dewy.
Most of us appreciate the value of reflection, and yet so few of us book enough time in our calendars to reflect on our own experiences or progress. Thoughtful examination of your world on a regular basis will only ever improve your position. This is true not only in respect of your goals, but your life as a whole.
Each new quarter provides a perfect opportunity to do such a review, and there are 5 questions that will help give you valuable perspective and insights, and help you make any changes you might wish. See it as an ongoing process: an experiment with the most interesting of subjects, yourself.
Now, find a spot you will be uninterrupted for an hour or so, grab a pen and paper and answer the following 5 questions.
The 5 questions to ask every quarter:
Looking back over the past three months (or 12 months, if at year-end)
- What has gone well?
- The good stuff, achievements, highlights, the progress you’ve made – really important, and you’ll need your calendar for this one. Give it the time it deserves
What has not gone as well as you hoped?
- Challenges, hurdles, setbacks, frustrations – what’s been difficult, or harder than you hoped? Also valuable to identify and acknowledge,
- What (else) have you learned?
- Learning needs to be internalised, so this is a big one: what skills or self-awareness have you developed – what are your other insights, observations, developments or refective learnings?
- What (if anything) is missing?
- Useful ‘coachy’ question this one. Go broad and consider your life as a whole – what have you not had enough of, or insufficient time spent doing? Another way to think about this is: What else is important to you, but hasn’t yet come up in your review?
- What do you now need, or want, to change?
- Now it’s time to become future-orientated – how can you improve your experience going forward, or next quarter? It can be useful to work with 4 ‘boxes’ here: What would you like to start, stop, do more, or do less?
Process and reflect on your answers
At the end of your review you should have lots of insights and plenty of changes you could now make. Choose your top 3 priorities (be realistic), and then either calendarise them, or create new routines that ensure you make the changes you want. It’s always easier to start small and build on your success.
Get clarity on your next quarter goals
The above process will help you adapt and improve your experience based on your reflections. You also need to get clarity on your next quarter goals: your strategic priorities based on your longer term goals. This is a separate process and for that you may find this article useful.
Enjoy – and if you have any questions about the above, please get in touch.
3 point review:
- The first week of every new quarter, do a quarterly review answering the 5 questions above.
- Make changes (new habits, behaviours or routines) based on your answers and what is important to you.
- Then get clarity on your goals for the next quarter, based on your longer term goals and goals for the year.