(No) Time to Look Back

by Gertraud Eregger in — December 2021
This is not another blog post on how to set your intentions or goals for 2022. I’m pretty sure, you’re all set.
Blog New Year

During this season of the year, (most of us) we have given our goals and KPIs for 2022 already some space. We are ready to conquer another year of uncertainty. The only certainty we have is that there will be again a huge amount of uncertainty playing into our plans.

The last years taught us to build up that muscle to adapt to this ‘new reality’, and still…when we secretly ask ourselves, everyone of us is anxious how 2022 will evolve. The mandate of leadership this year will be to navigate another year of ultimate change, and start to consciously pause. This is the only way to build the most important muscle in leadership: Empathy. Forbes named empathy as the new superpower to connect to your team and colleagues and understand what is playing on their minds and hearts.

In our fast-paced lives and workplaces we mastered to set action steps to accomplish our goals. We rather push forward than pause and take a moment to reflect where we came from.

Yet, looking back - powerful and focused - is a strategic way to visualize accomplished milestones and make them visible for you and your team. So visible, that you all see the progress you made and feel energized to speed up to your new, mostly quite ambitious, goals.

How looking back & self-development is connected

  • Reflecting on your day, week, month, quarter, or now on the entire year allows you to see accomplished milestones and acknowledge them & the work that was involved to reach that point.
  • Different than crossing your To Do List is, that you only focus on your accomplishments vs. immediately jumping to create another List of To Dos or feeling frustrated, because you did not achieve what you wanted for the day, week, month, quarter, or year.
  • You can see what projects you give priority and how they’ve been built up.

Role Model for the Team

  • If you push forward without looking back and seeing the work you’ve done, there is a high probability that you also model your behavior to your team. If teams only push forward and never look back and see the joint accomplishments, over-working and a lack of resilience and continuous energy levels may be observed.
  • Starting meetings with a brief check-in moment and reflection what had been accomplished since you’ve last met, creates common ground and reminds everyone what work they are building on. You will see an increase in commitment, pride in your work and thus also compassion to push forward.

Questions that help you pause and look back

This is an invite to experiment with your agenda, and even find space today to reflect on your 2021 accomplishments in a focused and powerful way.

1. Create a 20 minutes time slot in your agenda today, if you have not reflected on your 2021 year and you still want to do it. Do not push it to another day, the weekend or later.

2. Brainstorm on those guiding questions to look back:

  • What were your top 3 highlights / milestones / moments in 2021? At work, at home, for you personally?
  • What is it that makes you feel especially proud when you think of those 3 moments?
  • What was your major lowlight in 2021? At work, at home, for you personally?
  • What did you learn in 2021?

3. And finish with one question to clear the air for your future 2022 year:

  • Imagine the new year will be so crazy, that you can only accomplish 1 Item on your Intention List – which one do you make your #1 priority?

Leadership that is ready for another volatile year combines looking back, understanding, acknowledging where we came from and modeling that we all need to pause…to look back…and to get ready to speed into the future again.