The last week of this year. Of the decade. This is a good time to reflect on all that has happened – good, bad or meh.
This will be my last ‘word of the week’ post. It has been challenging at times to find a word that will both guide and challenge me. But it has also been rewarding. Especially when there have been words that have made more of an impact than expected.
What words have I loved? I think Fabulous comes to mind first. It was a little frivolous but with a purpose. I wanted to look fabulous for a wedding but I wanted to wear some well loved clothes that no longer fit me. So I resolved to cut out carbs and do more exercise. Did I look fabulous? Not really. But the impact of that decision continues to be positive for my health today.
Another word that jumps off the page is Hope. I wrote about my hopes for my daughter on her 22nd birthday. When I read the post to her, she became tearful. These haven’t changed and I continue to hope and pray that my daughter will find her way some day soon.
I also loved having the word Flow guide me. I was in a new job for the first time in seven years after a six month lay off. I needed to remind myself to not push myself too hard. And to remind myself that despite all that had happened, that I still have a lot to contribute. Mostly, to remind myself that there is a start, middle and ending to all stories. And that I was starting a new story that I was yet to develop.
Most of the words that I chose held special meaning, so let me finish off with one more – Privilege. Our third world rugby cup win inspired me to reflect on my coaching style. It was insightful and inspiring. And there was a certain validation that I found in those insights.
So how will I go about with my reflection on this past year?
There are several structured methods that I teach when coaching. The simplest method is to make three columns, where the first column is to answer the question ‘what went well?’; the second is to answer the question ‘what didn’t go well?’ and the final column for ‘what can be changed to make things better?’. Done regularly, every change that gets implemented successfully accumulates to become lasting change. This is the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen. The word Kaizen means to change for the better. The philosophy is about making small incremental changes regularly to achieve significant change over time.
Another popular method is the starfish retrospective used in Agile project management. The reflection points here are what should you stop doing; what should you continue doing; what should you start doing; what should you do more of; what should you do less of. The challenge of this method is to choose which changes to make, as choosing just one change from each point already adds up to five changes, which may prove to be too overwhelming for some.
Finally, I like the hills and valleys journey method. Draw a timeline through the year. Write highlights and lowlights that made an impact on your life. Place the highlights above the timeline at the times of the year that they occurred. Place higher impact highlights higher than lower impact highlights. The lowlights go below the line, also relative to their impact. Connect the ups and downs so that it forms a path of your journey. Then step back and reflect on whether there is anything that you can still change to influence future outcomes.
I’ve read that some people are conducting a reflection on the past decade! Wow – a ten year reflection! As amazing as that sounds, I’m not sure that I am up for it. I’ll start with this year and see where that takes me.
On that note, may the coming decade be one of adventure, growth and profound learning. May you find happiness in all that you do. May you be content with all that you achieve. May this decade be your best yet.
Happy new year!