Looking Back To Move Forward

Use clues from your personal history to support your current experience. This exercise shows you how!
Christi Hegstad September 18th, 2021

A few weeks ago, I felt a bit ‘off.’ Not an uncommon experience for any of us from time to time, but I was ready for something different. Ready to make a change.

But where to start?

On a whim, I pulled out my journal and drew a circle in the center. “I don’t want to feel the way I am right now,” I thought to myself. “But how exactly do I want to feel?”

A few words rose to the surface immediately: Vibrant. Strong. Focused.

I chose VIBRANT and wrote it in the circle.

My inclination was to then ask myself how I could experience that feeling more in my life – but I chose a different angle.

Instead, I asked myself, “When have I felt that way in the past? When do I most tend to feel that way?”

In other words, I started scanning my own personal history for clues.

Clues that would remind me that I had felt vibrant in the past (that reminder helped!), and that would inform me how I might start feeling more vibrant now.

Sunbeam Pre Ctr

Looking Back To Move Forward

‘Looking back’ might mean over the span of your life, or even just the recent past. When I asked myself, “When have I felt vibrant? When do I tend to feel more vibrant?” several examples came to mind, such as when I am:

* Learning something new.

* Engaging in coaching calls and meaningful conversations.

* Making progress on a project or goal.

* Decluttering, or working in a decluttered space.

So, from the circle in the center of my page, I started making lines – like beams from the sun – and writing down one example per line.

Sunbeam Vibrant Post

And once I started writing ideas down, more ideas came. Soon I had a dozen ‘sunbeams’ of ideas!

How Do YOU Want To Feel?

I encourage you to give this exercise a try! Give yourself 15-30 minutes of quiet time alone with a pen and paper. Choose your word(s) for the center circle, then start scanning your past for examples of when you have felt that way. Begin jotting them down, and see what patterns emerge.

I’ve actually done this a couple of times since, using different words in the center. One time it was vibrant, another it was calm + peaceful. The act of completing the exercise is helpful, plus you end up with a toolkit of personalized ideas to call on when needed.

I share many tools and exercises like this with my ASPIRE Success Club clients each month, and this month I decided to share it here on the blog as well. Please let me know if you try this exercise – I’d love to hear how it goes!

Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC, is the Practical + Purposeful Coach for Achievers!  Join our email community for coaching tips, tools and resources, book recommendations, and more!



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