Looking Back Illuminates the Future

Individual looking back

I remember thinking it was way too early for holiday decorations at the end of October. What was the rush anyway? And then … bam! We’re now one week away from the start of a brand-new year. Where does the time go?!  

In the past, I would use the period between Christmas and New Year to “get ready.” I’d put together lists and mind maps on what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to go to in the coming year. I’d begin to fill out my planner so I could be organized and feel ahead of the game as the calendar declares it’s January 1st.  

Well, this year I’m taking a different tactic. A German American architect, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern architecture (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) believed, “It is not possible to go forward without looking back.”  

So rather than focus on the future, I’ve been taking a long, hard look at the past year.  

Here are some areas I’m exploring: 

  • What I’m most proud (or I’m celebrating) of being / doing / creating / experiencing … 
  • What I’ve overcome ….  
  • Things I’m still struggling with ….  
  • Core values I’ve honored or not …  
  • People with whom I wish I had spent more time / energy … 
  • People I count as supporters …  
  • What I have left undone … 
  • My top learnings … 

By purposefully looking back at the previous year, I can see more clearly what I want to keep, stop, and start both “being” and “doing.”  

I invite you to join me. And, if your reaction is “I’m too busy,” you’re not alone. Investing time in deep reflection is not a common activity for many “busy” people – remember that making time to reflect is a gift you give yourself.  

After all, isn’t this the time of year for presents?! 

This Week’s Challenge: Start with self-reflection, and then don’t stop there. Once you’ve got a strong sense of your past and its impact on where you are now, find a close friend or a loved one and ask for their view, because sometimes we’re too close to see things clearly and/or completely. Be open and curious about what they have to say – they have your best interest in mind.    

Subscribe to

Impact Your Leadership

Terms and Conditions checkbox is required.

If you'd like to dive deeper into leadership and all that it means, we invite you to sign up for our insights and tools (they're free).

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Please leave a comment or suggestion for a video you love so others can be impacted by your leadership.


  1. Doug Brady on December 29, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Different perspective Tee.
    Hadn’t thought of that approach.

Leave a Comment