This is one of the incredible tools that I use with my clients that was developed by David Peterson, of 7 Paths Paths Forward.
Reflection is scalable – you can target it to something as small as a single meeting or moment in time or as large as your personal mission in life or 10 year career plan.
Here’s a simple framework to help you be more intentional and extract richer learning from your experiences, starting with just one minute a day. Add your own questions as desired, to make it even more useful to you.
For each time frame – daily, weekly, monthly – reflect on the time period just past and just ahead.
- Look Forward: What’s your intention? What do you plan to do differently, and when?
- What are your most important priorities ahead?
- What actions do you want to take?
- Look Back: What worked well, what didn’t, what have I learned?
- Where were you most and least effective?
- What worked, what didn’t, what have you learned?
|Time frame||Look Back||Look Forward|
|What new thing did I try today?How did it go? What worked well, what didn’t?What’s the most useful thing I learned today?What opportunity did I miss?What am I most grateful for?||What one thing will I do tomorrow to stretch my comfort zone?What will prompt me to do that?|
|What progress did I make last week? How satisfied am I with that?||What do I need to focus on in the coming week?Where are my key opportunities|
to further my learning and development?
|How am I doing on my development objectives?What has supported or enhanced my learning?What is getting in the way of me making progress?||Do I need to do anything differently to continue making progress?What feedback do I want, who do I want it from, and how will I make sure I get it?|
|What important lessons have I learned?In the past 3 months, have I made the kind of impact on myself and my world that I want to make?Where have I been making excuses for something I need to take personal responsibility for?Have I been actively seeking new, diverse, and challenging experiences to foster my personal growth and development?||What are my key priorities for this coming quarter and what capabilities do I need to develop to achieve or fulfill them?What do I need to do differently to manage my personal growth and professional development more effectively?When do I need to make a big bet on doing something new or radically different? What are the signals that I should be looking for?|
|How do I feel about the past year? What were my emotional highlights and lowlights?What’s most important in my life right now? What really matters to me?How did I do on my most important priorities this past year?What have I learned?What do I need from myself and others to make an honest assessment of my life, my priorities and what matters most to me and those I love?How clearly do my actions and choices reflect those priorities?||What kind of person am I becoming? Who do I want to be? What values will I live by?Where do I want to be a year from now? What do I need to do or learn to get there?Am I on the best path to become the person and live the life I want?How can I be more intentional about living my values and fulfilling my mission in life?What kind of support do I need from others and where will I find it?What course corrections or changes in my life do I need to implement this year?What am I doing to renew, reinvigorate, and reinvent myself and my life?|
Deep reflection every 2-3 years “Disrupt or be disrupted”
|What are the most significant things I’ve learned?Where have I been complacent or missed big opportunities?Where am I at greatest risk? What am I holding on to that I need to let go of?What trends or signals have I seen that might signal it’s time to pivot, disrupt myself, or try something new?||Given how fast things are changing around me, is it time to disrupt myself? How long do I have, realistically, before my life or career|
is disrupted by something else
if I don’t?Given what I care about most deeply, what are the critical opportunities to capitalize on?Where am I most afraid of taking decisive action?What’s the bold move I know in my heart I need to make?
or Decadely 1 day every
|How has my life story, my life’s journey evolved?What are the big choices I made in the last 10 years?What kind of life am I living, and how does that compare to the life I want to live?||Who do I want to be? What values do I want to guide my life? How do I connect to my deepest mission and purpose?What do I need to invest in over the next 3-5 years to accomplish or fulfill what matters most?What do I need to transform about myself or my life in order to accomplish my highest calling and purpose?|
|After key events|
10-15 minutes following major life events, transitions,
or significant project milestones
|What worked well?What did not work well? What could have gone better?What do I wish I had done differently?What lessons have I learned?||What will I do to implement what I’ve learned through this experience? How can I make sure I am even better prepared for similar opportunities or experiences in the future?|
Your personal reflections anytime you’re in a reflective mood
|What have I done lately to become a better person?What have I done to bring joy to someone’s life today?||When is my next opportunity to act with compassion and love?What else should I be asking myself or reflecting on?|
Source: Peterson, D. B. (2021). The DNA of VUCA: A framework for building learning agility in an accelerating world. In V. S. Harvey & K. P. De Meuse (Eds.), The Age of Agility: Building Learning Agile Leaders and Organizations. London: Oxford University Press.
Adapted from: Peterson, D. B. (2010). Good to great coaching: Accelerating the journey. In G. Hernez-Broome & L. A. Boyce (Eds.), Advancing executive coaching: Setting the course for successful leadership coaching (pp. 83-102). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.