owl-eyesTaking stock. Navel gazing. Marking milestones. Learning from experience.

For many, reflecting on the past feels like a waste. It’s irritating. Speed is imperative so after any accomplishment it’s on to the next goal. Others languish as they look back, tethered to what was while missing what could be. When it comes to reflecting on our goals and objectives, what’s enough?

I met an acquaintance over coffee last week. When I asked how he was, he paused but a nanosecond. “I recently looked back on the seeds I planted in my company and I’m encouraged to see they’re sticking.” His role in the firm leans heavily toward influencer and catalyst. “New processes that didn’t exist a year ago are here to stay because they’re not just ideas. People experience their value, especially our clients.”

It was that simple. Look, notice, name.

In the Western world we have natural rhythms that gently tug us toward reflection. The end of the year. Summer’s wind down before school. Annual budget cycles.

Here’s a method that strikes a happy balance. It’s called Plus/Delta. Draw a ledger with “+” and “∆”. As you look back on the year, the project, a journey of any kind, note the positives. What goals did you meet? What unanticipated outcomes did you enjoy? Did you learn something new? Do you now have habits that you no longer have to think twice about? Flag the good you want to carry forward. In the next column think about things you’d change the next go round. What needs improvement? What do you want to stop doing? Or start doing? Plus/Delta is gentle on the nerves and fits well into busy schedules. Don’t forget to take the nuggets of ah-ha into your next big effort.