As the end of the year approaches, it can be a great time to step back and reflect on the past 12 months. As the philosopher, John Dewey said, ‘We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.’
If you and your teams haven’t already booked in a detailed look back over the year, I recommend taking the time to do so. To get the most out of your reflections, here are the 5 questions I’ve found to be some of the most useful.
>>> The 5 Questions:
Looking back over the past 12 months, considering your work AND your life as a whole:
1) What’s 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
2) What’s not gone that well?
Challenges, hurdles, setbacks, frustrations – what’s been difficult, or harder than you hoped? Also valuable to identify and acknowledge
3) What 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 or reflective learnings?
4) What’s been 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?
5) What do you want to change?
Now it’s time to become future-orientated – how can you improve your experience going forward, or next year? It can be useful to work with 4 ‘boxes’ here: What would you like to start, stop, do more, or do less?