Reflection — Knowing where you’re going by knowing where you’ve been

It Starts with Noticing Your Experiences

During the session, I invited them to identify any milestones they’ve experienced over the past few months. They wrote each one individually on a piece of paper. We then put them out on the floor in chronological order. This formed a storyline from the moment they were hired to the present.

The Difference Between Reflection and Critique

I was struck that virtually everyone in the group agreed that they never ‘reflect’ and also that they found the exercise really valuable. Many said they were afraid to look back because they can’t change the past.

Knowing Where You’re Going by Knowing Where You’ve Been

I have been fascinated with the practice of “dead reckoning”. This is a form of navigation — on sea and land — done without instruments. Basically, you set a goal of where to go, and then only know where you are going by knowing where you have been. You know the “track” back to the start. You know your speed of movement and thus see where you are on your journey. Being able to navigate in this way seems vital at this time when (work) environment shift so quickly and the future often seems unclear. There are no maps these days for how we develop in organizations. Developing this reflective ‘dead reckoning skill’ can help us to chart out a good course. It can help to know how to profit from what we are learning on it.

An Exercise for Year-End Reflection

As this year comes to an end it is a great time to do some reflection work for yourself, to see what this year has brought you as you prepare for what is to come. I encourage you to try this simple reflection inspired by the Storyline that we work within the Genuine Contact™ Program.

  • The Circle of Open Space becomes NOW
  • The Storyline of what is expected after the meeting become is the Storyline of what you expect in this coming year.
  1. Note those things that feel important to you, those things you would consider “milestones” and write each one down on its own piece of paper.
  2. Place this on the left-hand side of the line as the Story of the past year.
  3. Take a look and see what you notice about your story? What learning has occurred? Were there any developments? What high and low-points? Are there surprises? What insights?
  4. If you feel inclined you can look from there to the future and wonder ware you starting to see about your next steps into this coming year.



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