If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there. True. But truer still is that if you don't know where you've come from, you have no hope of knowing where to go. The Timeline. Last week we defined our values. Today, we're learning from our past. Make like you're back at school and grab red and blue pens, paper and a ruler. Now get ready for Step 2 along the path to defining your success.
- Ready: Plot a graph. On the y-axis (vertical, for anyone rusty in the maths department) plot your happiness on a scale of 1 (abject despair) to 10 (incredible new job, perfect new partner, last pair of perfect shoes in your size euphoria). On the x (or horizontal) axis goes time.
- Steady: With your red pen plot your career from school up until today. What were the highs and lows? Exam success, redundancy, epic career wins and losses - include everything. Mark the dates on the horizontal axis, indicate where you think the high or low falls on the happiness scale and give one or two word descriptions of the situation or event.
- Get Set: Now pick up your blue pen and plot a second line for your life. This is where family, relationships and everything else that's not work comes in.
- Go: Look at the lines and, particularly, where they cross. What needs to happen in your work and life to keep you happy? What sorts of events have you defined as success in the past and how do these tally with the values you now know you hold?
Look at your graph, identify the themes and reflect on the takeaways. Now you, literally, have a clear picture of your past success, you're another step closer to defining your future.