Before we actually look out, after we’ve
⏬ asking “Where am I?” and
⏫ asking “What are my options?”
it’s time to look back and ask, “Where have I been?” That’s the guiding question of look back.
Like I said, I love to look out. I’m excited and energized by the new. I’ve found that to look out effectively, I’ve got to look back first. When Jesus started gathering large crowds, in Luke 14 he told them to count the cost before following him. I think counting the cost is a good thing before starting anything, not just discipleship. For many, looking back is a key step in counting the cost.
My memory is foggy. By the time something is done, I’ll forget all the steps it took to make it happen. This makes looking back with any accuracy difficult. I need to write things down.
Some call it a journal, others keep a log. What I do to look back, like most things in my life has evolved. It started when my friend Chad of Night is Electric fame told me about morning pages. In the beginning I religiously followed The Artist Way and filled three pages every morning. This was a great place to start, but I could never look back. I used a Moleskine Classic at the time. It’s pages were about half the size of a sheet of paper and it would take me almost three months to fill it’s two hundred and forty pages. I wanted to look back and had every intention to do so; but I couldn’t carve out that kind of time. (I realized this one day when I was looking back.)
When we look back, we can adjust how we look out. I dropped the three page rule and switched to looking back every evening. I also changed to Field Notes which are about half the size and only have forty eight pages. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to fill one of these and when I do, it’s easy to look back (my email list became accountability for this — you can sign up for it here).
When we look back, we can see what worked, what didn’t, and adjust accordingly. I haven’t found the perfect rhythm or the perfect notebook (I’m talking to my friends at Punk Chiridion about making one ourselves). I have found the goal is growth, not perfection.