In a couple of weeks the whole world will be ringing in the new year and a new chapter in our lives will begin.
Before the year is gone, it’s always refreshing to take a moment out of the busyness to reflect on the year that was and how far we have come. I reflect on what i’m grateful for and appreciate what i’ve been able to experience thus far. I also like to ponder how many more years I have left and what I want to do in that time, along with the aspects of my life I want to change.
Reflection can be a revitalising experience, it can help you refocus, take stock and open your mind up to new direction and opportunities. Sometimes though, a moment of reflection can be a painful task, bringing up memories and decisions that we would rather forget, but cannot shake off.
Revisiting the Past
A respected leader once told me that there are certain chapters in their life that they do not like to revisit, as they feel embarrassed, shame, guilt and regret. I found this confession a little unsettling, as this person has always portrayed themselves as a pillar of confidence, strength and success. I guess behind every facade there’s an element of vulnerability, which got me thinking about my own history. We all have parts of our lives we prefer to leave in the past and chapters we are not proud of. For me this time of year is about forgiveness and making peace with my past and the decisions i’ve made.
Earlier this year I decided to pass up on what turned out to be a very lucrative opportunity everybody was telling me to take. The reason I didn’t take the opportunity was because my gut was telling me it wasn’t going to work out. Despite my gut feeling, I regretted the decision because of self-doubt. Sometimes it’s difficult to trust your instincts and decisions when you have to keep justifying your decisions. Hindsight and reflection are wonderful processes. I have since made peace with my decision and have no regrets. Who knows, maybe I won’t ever get the same opportunity again, but i’m ok with that.
Since we can’t change the past, there’s no point feeling regretful, guilty or ashamed of it. Let’s not forget how our past along with our struggles and mistakes have helped shape the person we are now. Sometimes we need to be reminded that our stories are not something to be regretful or ashamed of, they are something we should proudly stand next to. They are a testament to how far we have come – like a glorious before and after shot.
Before we can dream and plan for 2018, remember to look back and reflect on the year gone by and you will notice how much things have changed and how you grew as a person. It is the mindfulness in understanding how we change and react to changes around us which can reveal the most valuable insights.
“It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may be quickly forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It’s from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisation or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively”. G Gibbs Learning by doing 1998
As 2017 draws near, we will reflect on our own experiences; what we have gained, what we have lost, how we grew, the highlights, what we have learned and accomplished. We will enter 2018 with a fresh mind in search of new insights and opportunities into 2018 and beyond.
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action” – James Levin
Happy New Year to each and every one of you.
Here’s to a great 2018, may you continue to evolve, grow and find peace and happiness
S & V