When we come to the end of a project or activity, it is common to review the outcomes. It can be very easy to consider these outcomes from a negative perspective, what went wrong rather than what went right. Next time you need to review a project, try looking at its successful outcomes. At the very least, try balancing each negative consideration with a positive.
|What went wrong?
||What went right?
|What are our needs?
||What are our strengths?
|What did we learn?
||What did we learn to do better?
|What issues should we put on the agenda?
||What issues can be taken off the agenda?
|How can we improve?
||What strengths could we make more use of?
|What’s missing from this group?
||What are the assets of this group?
|What would you do differently next time?
||What would you do the same next time?
|What do you want to achieve?
||What is your recipe for success, and how will you apply that?
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Benjamin Franklin developed this plan when he was 20. Based on Philippians 4:8, he reviewed one of these virtues each week, cycling through the list four times per year. Franklin carried a collection of charts where he would add a mark for each fault committed against the virtue of that day.
13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin
- Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
- Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
- Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
- Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
- Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I attended the funeral of a friend yesterday afternoon. She died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.
The service was tinged with sadness at the loss of a family member and friend. However, it was also a celebration of a life well lived: a life that left a lasting impression on those who knew her.
In listening to the tributes to her life, and reflecting on the years I’ve known her, three traits signified the quality of her life.
- She had a strong spiritual faith. It’s a good place to start. This was the foundation of her life. Everything she did came from her spiritual beliefs. It wasn’t a cloistered faith, practiced for an hour on Sunday, but practiced and lived every moment.
- She loved her family. She was one of seven children and had six of her own. It was a big family and she was devoted to them all. When the final throes of of her illness came on, she was down in Ontario visiting with her sisters. One didn’t have to watch the family for too long to realize they were important to her.
- She gave to others. This lady had arthritis in her hands. It was the kind of arthritis that made her fingers look like a bird’s claws. Despite that, she spent considerable time knitting clothing that could be donated to others in need. One of the last things she did was go through her store of knitted items and indicate who was to get what.
As I sat listening to the tributes, I wondered what kind of impression I am making with my life. Are my core beliefs and practices important and are they making an impression on those around me?
How will I be remembered, after I am gone?
How about you?