One of the keys to being an effective leader is to embrace a reflective practice. This is why I give each of my coaching clients a journal and some regular reflection questions. It's one of the best ways to develop self-awareness and increase insight.
I do two major big picture reflections per year – one at the end of the year, and one on my birthday. This kind of reflection is useful periodically to take stock, reassess, and course correct if required. And the clock just ticked over another trip around the sun for me! So I'm sharing my process with you so you can add it to your own reflection rituals.
How am I feeling right now?
This is a useful place to start because it gives us a good calibration starting point. I think it's kind of cool to capture how you feel on your birthday and look back to what was happening on previous birthdays.
For me this year I took the day to really savour how glorious life is. It's amazing the experiences I've had throughout my life, and I sat in full gratitude to what I've created now and the richness of life which I am enjoying fully. My deep intention is to capture that sense of big picture gratitude even while the day-to-day activities bring me back to more prosaic matters.
Where am I now compared to this time last year?
Looking back can give us a sense of contrast and progress. It's amazing how much growth we experience when we stop and reflect on it!
I've had a dramatic shift in lifestyle, business, and energy. I had to make some tough decisions last year about how I ran myself and my work, took some big risks, and am now enjoying the fruits of those difficult decisions. It did feel like jumping off a cliff and learning how to fly on the way down. I learned a lot about prioritising my health and vision over a sense of obligation.
Where am I now compared to this time 10 years ago?
A decade goes by in a flash! By taking a peek at what was going on 10 years ago gives us an insight into how we have evolved and matured - hopefully!
10 years ago I was in the middle of many rounds of IVF, still reeling from cancer treatment two years previously, and putting a lot of effort into building my business. I remember it as a time of great uncertainty, doubt, and struggle. It felt like huge sliding doors moments: a life trajectory could one way or another. Though I know now it all turned out well, that period of doubt was harrowing. Lesson to take with me: whichever door opens or closes, things can turn out better than expected.
Where am I now compared to 20 years ago?
Two decades is a long time, and yet looking through memories it seems to of happened in a blink.
20 years ago there is no way I could have conceptualised what I am doing now. I was immersed in my new life in Australia, and fully engaged with the adventurous life at Outward Bound. I was truly anchored in the moment and loving every minute of it. I had what felt like my whole life to unfold before me, and there was much adventure to seize each day! That energy and keenness is what I take with me now.
Now we do the forward imagining.
Where will I be 20 years from now?
This is a very profound questions, especially after the reflection on the past 20 years. If the next 20 happen as quickly as the previous 20, then I think it's important to put some intentions behind it. Even though the journey has been extraordinary, and I wouldn't change any of it, I think there is value in being deliberate in what we craft and create for ourselves.
In 20 years I will be 67! My intention is to be living by the ocean, active, vibrant, engaged with the community, deeply grateful for the professional career that I have cultivated over this time, and financially independent. I see myself travelling to beautiful spots around the world, reveling in the glorious beauty of the planet. What’s in store for you?
Where will I be in 10 years?
The next 10 years of my personal and professional life seem to be more accessible. A lot more real! In 10 years I will be 57. What will 2027 look like? In my world I will have a number of books published, I will have led organisational team development with groups around the globe, I will have provided some extraordinary experiences in beautiful wilderness areas with big picture thinkers with big hearts who want to make a big difference. I will be fit, full of energy, and radiating compassion and enthusiasm.
Where will I be in one year from now?
It's hard to hide from 12 months! This is where it gets granular. I will have published my third book. The Leader’s Edge Mastermind will be in full swing, with five groups benefiting from their mutual contributions and common experience. My personal energy will be buoyant and sustained. I live in deep gratitude and excitement each day.
My deep intention and commitment is to live each day as if this is my current reality, and my sense of success, gratitude, and excitement permeates my every cell and moment.
I want that for you too.
The questions, summarised for you:
- How am I feeling right now?
- Where am I now compared to this time last year?
- Where am I now compared to this time 10 years ago?
- Where am I now compared to 20 years ago?
- Where will I be 20 years from now?
- Where will I be in 10 years?
- Where will I be in one year from now?