Considering what worked.

ReviewI’ve been talking about goals and plans and resolutions with several people recently. It’s what happens at this time of the year. It’s what happens when you talk with people about their lives and yours.

In one of those conversations, my friend was talking about a project that he had been involved with that “fizzled out.” He talked about what he was going to do next year to help it happen.

I pointed out how often we use language like “fizzled out” as if it represents failure. I encouraged him to think about the project as a 1.0 version of a particular kind of community development. I encouraged him to think about it as a learning time.

And then I said, “When you think about something that you or God or you and God wanted to complete that you got done, what was true about the process? And when you think about something that wasn’t finished, what was true about that process?

I realized that it could be a helpful way to reflect. But I also realized that we need questions to guide that reflection.

So here are a bunch of questions:

  • Who helped?
  • Who was around?
  • How clear the task or the project and the process to get there?
  • Who provided that clarity?
  • What steps did you take?
  • How long did the parts of the process take?
  • What conversations or plans or actions went wrong?
  • How did you recover?
  • What worked?
  • How did you sustain that?
  • What did you put off so you could get it done?
  • What kept you engaged?
  • What threatened to disrupt you?
  • How did you deal with those disruptions?
  • What felt like a delay but was actually helpful for letting you think, or letting someone else catch up?
  • What felt like it was helpful but turned out to be a delay?
  • What actions did other people question but turned out to be right?
  • What did you tell yourself about the process that wasn’t true?
  • What did you ask God? What happened before that? What happened after that?
  • What did you ask others?
  • How much did you rest?
  • What were you eating?

What are the other questions about what we have done before that would be helpful as we think about what we want to do next?