Reflection 2011, Visioning 2012

Happy New Year!

For January only, I will be offering special Reflection and Visioning sessions for folks who would like an hour of coaching dedicated solely to reflecting on their 2011 and dreaming and envisioning their 2012.

After spending a number of years working with people to get clear on where they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re headed, I’ve grown to value the rituals of reflecting and visioning.

And I know that for many people, it’s easier to reflect and vision when you’re in conversation and have a thought partner to ask you questions, to actively listen, to echo back to you your themes, patterns, and enthusiasm.

If you would like to book your very own Reflection and Visioning session, please send me a note (laurajoanne |at| gmail |dot| com). Check below for the specific details.

And if you’re unable to book your own session but would still be interested in a Reflection and Visioning tool, I’d be happy to share with you a worksheet I’ve prepared that prompts you to reflect on 2011, take stock of where you are now, and look ahead to 2012. Just drop me a line (laurajoanne |at| gmail |dot| com)┬áto get your copy.

Wishing you rich reflection and dreaming!



Reflection and Visioning Sessions: The Details

  • Dates: sessions will be available during January 2012 only
  • Length of session: 60 minutes, conducted by phone or Skype, or in-person (Ottawa area only)
  • Cost: $120 plus HST
  • Pre-work: you’ll receive a menu of questions to answer before our session, so that we are both clear on understanding what you would like to get out of the session.
  • Ready to book your session? Let’s talk!

Conversations for Processing an Event

In light of Toronto’s municipal elections, and thinking of the many wonderful people I know who have been intensely involved in campaigns, here are a few conversations you might use with yourself (journalling) or with a small group to consider your reactions to the election outcomes.

These conversations have been adapted from the sample conversations in The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace.

Focused Conversation #1 (for personal reflection)

Objective Questions:

  • The outcome of the election has really affected me. What is it that happened?
  • What were the basic elements involved?
  • How did it begin? How did it progress?
  • How did it end? What was the core of the event?
  • What was my part? What roles did other people play?

Reflective Questions:

  • How did I feel as it was happening?
  • How do I feel now?
  • What other events of my life does this remind me of?
  • What sticks out now and grabs my attention as I look back?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What is the meaning of this event for my life?
  • How am I different after this event?

Decisional Questions

  • What is the “so what” of this event for my life?
  • What is it demanding of me?
  • What decision do I need to make?

Focused Conversation #2 (for use with a group)

Objective Questions:

  • What have been some of the key events for you during this election season?
  • What have been the major elements? The minor elements? Which have you worked on or contributed to?
  • What other events do you remember – important conversations, or decisions made?

Reflective Questions:

  • Describe the dynamics of this election season. When was it like an earthquake, a bear, a turtle, a desert, or what?
  • What was the big surprise of the election?
  • When were you most frustrated?
  • Which events made a big difference to you, or changed how you thought or felt?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What did we learn from the things that went well?
  • What did we learn from the times where we struggled?
  • As you reflect on all of this, how would you talk about what we have accomplished?

Decisional Questions

  • How will our experience and our learning affect what we do in the days and months to come?
  • What do we wish to do differently?

One More Option for Reflection and Processing

Head here for a sample guide for a DiY Reflection that calls on more creativity and personal exploration. (Just adapt the timelines to the event that you want to reflect on.)

Two Hours of Perspective, Redux: June 26

On December 30, 2009, I gathered together people from all areas of my life for Two Hours of Perspective, looking back on the year and decade that was, and dreaming ahead to the 2010 we wanted to see for ourselves. It was cold, we had banana bread, and cookies, and rum and eggnog and shortbread, and candles, and good conversation. Lots and lots of good conversation.

Coming out of that evening, one person set out on a healthy living goal that has just gathered more and more speed ever since, like a snowball of healthy goodness. Another person took the vision of his Future Self and turned it into a tattoo to remind himself of the force he wanted to be. I wrote down the words I wanted to guide me for 2010, and regularly revisit them and tune back into my intentions for the year.

As I look out my window now, at an explosion of greenery, at flowers running rampant, at 30+ degrees of Toronto summer, the time is ripe for Two Hours of Perspective, Redux. Mid-year, let’s gather together to reconnect with our goals and dreams for 2010, share where we’ve been, and dream about what we want as we move to summer and then to fall. Whether you were at the December Two Hours of Perspective or not, you are invited to Two Hours of Perspective, Redux, on Saturday, June 26 from 2pm-4pm (probable location: Bloor-Bathurst area).

Send me an email at to RSVP and for more details. Hope to see you there.

Two Days That Have Made All the Difference

I instituted two types of days at the beginning of 2010, and almost four months into the year (!), I feel convinced of their value.

First, I decided that I would designate a Reflection Day each month.

I chose the 18th, because it’s the day of my birthday. On the 18th of every month, I’ve set aside two to three hours to go sit somewhere peaceful with a notebook and a pen, and take stock of what I like to call The State of the Union.

During Reflection Day, I look over my intentions for 2010, decide if I want to update or change any of my intentions, and think about how they’ve become real in my life. I do a quick survey of all of the areas of my life using the Wheel of Life coaching tool. I think about the projects I’ve taken on, and my balance of work / rest / recreation / joy. I look for themes that are showing up, and for the successes I want to celebrate. And I zone in on a few things that I want to be aware of or change in the month to come.

The impact:

Knowing that I will pause on Reflection Day to think these things through has cleared some of my headspace during the month. I take on projects that feel right, I make decisions that seem like the right ones, and I don’t worry about it too much, because I know that once a month I have a built-in check for myself to determine how I’m doing. I feel reassured that things won’t fall off my plate – because once a month I check in on all areas of my life. I don’t have as many nagging doubts or worries, because I have space to regularly reflect. And my sense of purpose and self is becoming stronger, as every thirty days I recommit to who I am, what’s important to me, and how it is coming alive in my life.

Second, I instituted Computer Free Days.

One day a week, usually Sunday, I leave my computer turned off and avoid the internet. This change has been more subtle, and just as powerful. I’ve found a new rhythm on Sundays – cooking, cleaning, reading, and just being. Sundays feel like a day of soul nourishment. I’m almost loathe to turn my computer back on on Mondays – and this from someone who willingly spends most of her time in front of her laptop. Throughout the rest of the week, I feel less tied to the online world, and less addicted to the quick fix of email, twitter, or facebook. I’m down to checking each of them only one or two times a day (yes, even email!), which has freed up vast chunks of time to work on projects.

The impact:

I find myself more present to what I am working on at any given time. I have fewer adrenaline surges because I no longer see each and every email arrive in my inbox. I’m stunned at the time I am finding to spend multiple hours on particular projects once I have my browser closed. And I start every week with a clean house, a stocked fridge, and a sense of peace.

If you’d like to read more, I recommend:

A Provisional Guide for Observing a Weekly Day of Rest (from Sabbath Manifesto)

The Lost Practice of Resting One Day Each Week (from Zen Habits)

LeechBlock (LeechBlock is an extension you can add to Firefox. You can use it to block certain domains for your chosen times of day(s)).


April 8th, 2010, is your chance to try a 30 minute coaching session with me, at no charge and no obligation. To find out what coaching could do for you, drop me a line (laurajoanne[at]gmail[dot]com) to schedule your free sample session on April 8th.