Summer Series: How the past can create your future

past achievements for future success

Welcome to Week Four of our Summer Series. If you haven't seen the previous posts you can catch them here: 


Week One: Know your strengths 

Week Two: Find your passion

Week Three: Does your work fit your values?

Looking forward, looking back

I'm a looking forward kind of girl. It's lovely to remember happy moments past but my default position is to think ahead about the exciting thing to come. I'm an optimist and I know that we can only act on the future. The past has passed and the premise of this Getting To Know You series is to gather your resources and make this coming year (and most of it is still to come) one of your best.

Today though I'm asking you to reflect on what you have achieved in the past. Now before you wail, 'I haven't achieved anything' (and I know it feels like that to all of us sometimes), this is a structured activity that will open your eyes to all of the great things you have achieved.  

So let's go... 

Take your notebook, pens and paper or whatever you're using to keep your notes. Now, cast your mind back over the past weeks, months, maybe years and list ten things you've done that you consider to be an achievement. Note that I said 'you'. It doesn't matter what anyone else might think, whether it might be considered an achievement by you peers, family, partner, colleagues, whomever. Is it an achievement to you? Is it something that you set out to do, worked hard at and achieved? Or maybe something you did spontaneously and surprised - and maybe impressed - yourself? Go on, write them down as quickly as you can.

Here's my list... 

Achievements photo.JPG

I've focused on the past six years or so but you could focus on the past six months, six weeks or even six days. Whatever is meaningful to you.

The purpose of this exercise is to: 

1. Boost your confidence and motivation as you'll hopefully realise you've done more than you thought and when we see what we've done in black and white it's a powerful motivator for doing more. 

2. To shift our thinking from negative to positive. It can be tempting when reflecting on the past, to think about what didn't go well; the 'failures' and the losses. This exercise trains us to think about what went well; our wins and successes. 

3. To move us from experience to understanding. Reflection is a really important part the learning process. Without thinking about what we've done in a conscious way it's difficult to build on our experience; to know what worked and what we should more of, or what didn't and should not be repeated.  

If you've been playing along for the whole of this Summer Series of 'getting to know you' posts you should now have a list of your strengths, your interests, your values and now your achievements.  Next week things are hotting up and we're going to look at your goals for the coming months and even years.  

In the meantime keep your notebook close and your mind open. Notice how you function in the world each day, what excites you, what frustrates you, and maybe let a thought or two about who you are and how you like to operate wash over you every once in a while.  Write it down.  Being mindful is the first step to being aware and being aware of how we're wired up and how we function as unique individuals makes a big difference to how successfully we can work towards our aims and desires and lead a more content life.