Session 2: Learning by looking at my life over time


The words ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Today’ and ‘Yesterday’ on a blackboard
Figure 2.1

What can we learn by looking at our life, and our experiences, over time? How can this be helpful for the future?

Session 1 was about looking at yourself in your present situation. However, the person you are now is partly a result of everything that has happened to you in the past and up to the present: who you were with, where you have been, what you have done and the outside events that have affected your life.

We learn from good and bad experiences and the ups and downs of life, but some people may have had extreme events in their life that would be distressing to revisit. If this is the case, you can choose to focus selectively on specific areas of your life.

The value of looking at our roles and experiences, and recognising the influences on our lives, is that we can unpick what really interests and motivates us and start to understand our decision making: is there a pattern? For instance, what we consider important can change over time, or can differ at different points of our life. How we feel about these experiences can vary too.

So, how do we define high points and low points? Are there recurring themes? Do we seem to make the same mistakes, or seem to set ourselves up to fail or repeatedly not reach our potential? Is the picture a series of ups and downs or is the overall pattern one of steady development or steady decline? Perhaps personal development is more important to us than professional development?

In this session you are asked to look at your experience of life, with the aim of working out what skills and abilities you have, in addition to the obvious ones you have gained from education and work experience.

Experiences over time