As the year and decade* come to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the personal, professional, and societal events that have impacted you in that time.
I’m a much bigger fan of looking back and learning than I am in engaging in the traditional year-end exercise of trying to predict the future.
We all have so many lessons to take away from past experience and observations, but we often fail to step back and take it all in.
Before you head out for your New Year’s Eve celebrations (or — like me — hunker down at home for the night), take a few moments to look back.
One of my hobbies is photography and one of the things you learn from doing that is that you can dramatically change the meaning of an image by how you frame it. Zoom in and you block out other information to tell one specific piece of the story. Zoom out and you add some more context and tell a bigger story.
We all tend to look at things zoomed in — focused on one specific event at one moment in time.
Periodically it is helpful to take the broader view of the past to see what it can teach us.
Growth comes from trying and testing. It requires inquiry and curiosity.
We will all have successes and failures, but the more we internalize the lessons of each, the more likely we are to succeed in the future.
So spend a little time looking back on the last year and decade. Ask yourself why things happened — for better or worse.
Then start applying those reflections and lessons to the next years and decades.
* I’m not going to get sucked in to the nonsensical debate about whether the decade ends today or a year from now.