At one time, I used to weigh about 40 lbs more than I do today. I spent years making myself big promises to lose weight and failing to honour them. What that meant was that the promises I was making to myself to hopefully do something that would lead me to feeling better, were ultimately making me feel worse.
What I know now, is that big promises are great, but are only ever the sum of their component parts.
Behind every big change is a thousand tiny steps of self leadership.
When it came to losing that weight, it was the tiny choices that I made day in, day out that ultimately saw me lose the weight and 15 years later, still keep it off. Whilst much of my journey has been self administered trial and error, I have made it my mission as a Coach to help curate the right tools for my clients to be able to make whatever changes they are seeking in a sustainable, realistic way.
One of those tools is the retro.
A retrospective is a look back on a project or period of work. It’s a session where you explore what has gone well, what has gone less well and what changes you need to make moving forward.
In a work context, what that means is that you are constantly reviewing and reprioritising. This is hugely powerful for those who tend to take on too much and over work.
The same is true personally also. It is crucial that we don’t assume that the choices we were making yesterday are the right ones for us to make today. Creating awareness means that we can become more flexible with the flow of life.
In work and life, doing regular retros is one of the most powerful things I have learnt how to do. Certainly the most impactful for creating any kind of change.
Introducing: the personal retro
Many of the folks I work with as a Coach are looking to change something in some way. Big goals are great, but it is how we are living each day that takes us in the direction of those goals.
Creating the space for honest reflection is a really great way to get real about how you are living and where you might need to make any changes. You can use it for basically anything, and I use it most often as a self esteem building tool. It’s not just about how can I improve, it’s also really powerful for teaching us to celebrate the things we are doing really well to add to our case file of excellence (full blog on that here).
It’s super simple to do, let me show you how.
- In the morning, before you dive into the meetings of the day, ask yourself:
What will make today great?
Think through the day that is coming and setting yourself up for success in it. Where might you need to bake in a little thinking time? Have you planned for lunch?
2. At the end of the day, carve out a little space to ask yourself:
What was great about today?
- Where have I lived as me fully?
- What things can I add to my ‘case file of excellence’?
- Where did I have boundaries?
- Where did I have difficult conversations?
- What has filled me with energy?
What would have made today better?
- Where have I held back?
- What have I been thinking about me?
- What has depleted my energy?
- Any learnings from the day?
Then repeat, starting the next day with, ‘what will make today great?’ again. If we do it right, it means we are constantly learning, changing and growing.
Remember, this is about iterative changes and small tweaks to take us to where we want to go. You don’t have to do all of the things, you just have to commit to taking small steps in the direction of where you want to be.
Side note; you might at first find it difficult to create the habit of daily retros. Try adding it next to another habit that exists already. You can also try scheduling it as a meeting with yourself. For a few more tips on habits you can take a look here.
This is important work my friends, and if we can master it, we truly start to live into the lives we are capable living. You got this. I believe in you.