We can sometimes hear a lot of messages that encourage us to “look ahead”don’t look back” “forget the past” “this is your year!” Maybe most especially at the start of a new year, or after a particular point of crisis or challenge.

These messages can be good and fitting, as sometimes we do need to be solution focused, and use our energy and mindset on moving forward. However, this shouldn’t negate the fact that looking back can also be a good thing to do.

This week, a colleague of mine was sharing how looking back over the last few years had been really helpful. It had helped to identify some of the reasons why particular years or phases had been so challenging. Noting that often when we are in the middle of such times, the hard stuff can be all you see; with it being very difficult to either identify what is really going on, or see beyond it. Also, that being able to identify the root cause -knowing and understanding the ‘why?’- was helpful; even after the fact.

Taking that time to look back, also highlighted some of the truly positive results that there had been. Noting that in certain lines of work or roles, it can be very hard to identify where you are making progress, making a difference, seeing change etc.

Looking back and mapping out the years shone a light on the successes and times of growth; as well as affirmed that they had indeed been putting in the work. Time and effort had truly been given. All the hard work had not been for nothing.

This process of looking back caused my colleague to be encouraged. Courage was put (back) into them. Maybe a process of looking back might do the same for you.