⭕ pen for a Venn Diagram Retrospective

A few weeks ago I brought you a 2 part-er (OG, original, posts in which I split them into a Part 1 and Part 2).

Maybe I'll start calling them 2 partiers?

As I flowed with writing this sharing today, I sensed this would make for a sweet 2 part(i)er, too.

Last weekend I came to a close with my first "12 Week Year" (bookdecent video overview* – decent book overview) which, in a nut shell, is an approach to looking at three months (=12 weeks) as a full year with the same beginning, middle, and end that a full year has.

As we head towards the end of 2021, you may start to think about goals or projects you want to finish before celebrating the new year. For many around this time of year there can be that "one last push" to make it to the end of the year with a sense of accomplishment.

And then in the new year, you may make new year's resolutions.

But a year can be a really long time to stick with something and keep one's momentum going! And setting a year-long goal may not make sense for the project at hand. And – it just might not work for you.

As I learn more about change and how to nurture a sense of belonging (within myself, within communities, and more) in the midst of change, I see that planning too far into the future really doesn't play well with the constant flow of change!

If you're anything like me, I have so many projects I want to bring to life. There are so many fellow humans with whom I want to connect and work. There is so much I want to experience!

One of the key elements that appeals to me about the 12 Week Year approach is that it gives me a clear, small container for a clear, smaller amount of experiences I wish to have and goals I wish to accomplish.

12 weeks is about the same number of weeks that each season holds. I could very well have simply aligned my work to the seasons or quarters of a year. Something about the 12 week year and saying THIS is a year now "zhuzhes" up the way I interact with the goals I set. It really does create a sense of urgency (in the best of ways, actually) for me.

A big important note

I share all this not to say: "Hey, try this new thing that works for me so it'll totally work for you." or "Hey, this is the new best thing and if you don't do this new best thing, you're missing out."

No way, no how.

I welcome you to shake off any FOMO (fear of missing out). I welcome you to taste this approach if you want to. I welcome you to embrace JOMO (joy of missing out) if you've never heard of this approach before. I even welcome you to not give a flying f*ck about this approach (though I invite you to continue reading because I get into some more good stuff 😁).

The more I get into learning about my own creative process and learning how I process each facet of my life, the more I see that there is no one right way for all of us.

Not even one right way for me as an individual.

Most often there are multiple or even many ways that could work for me in each present moment.

This is why I sometimes have a challenging time with calling myself a teacher and working within in the field of education. Teaching is sadly often scaled down to telling students what the you, the teacher, believe is important to know (or what the chosen curriculum believes...). What about what the student believes is valuable? What about the student's curiosity?

(This is why I am finding my way towards more student-directed types of learning environments and stepping away from the more teacher-directed ones.)

A bit of a tangent, but certainly related...

The 13th Week

Any who, in coming to a close with my first 12 week year, I spent my 13th week taking care of a few different elements. In this approach the 13th week is set aside for exactly this. I tied up loose ends, finished five projects, and then over this past weekend, I experienced two really super juicy things:

  1. Saturday evening, I sank into an incredible retrospective / reflection time.
  2. Sunday afternoon, I welcomed in my three new goals with a fun, visual brain dump for my next 12 week year (that I began this Monday).

I've been learning about the Agile approach from my friend and frequent co-creator, Heather, and how she applies it to organizational development, project management and so much more. One element that I love about Agile is the retrospective.

You can take a look at this helpful page about running a retrospective.

The retrospective can be executed at the end of each iteration of the project you're working on. It's a framework for reflection as well as iterative improvement.

Some really great and simple questions one could ask during a retrospective are:

  • What worked well? ...Why?
  • What could I do to make what worked well even better?
  • What didn't work well? ...Why?
  • What could I do to make what didn't work well work the next time?

Over the past several days, my right eye had started twitching a lot (likely due to the five projects I had just been immersed in and finishing...) and so I knew I needed to step away from my screens. I wanted to move my hands, too, and actually feel my creative juices flowing.

I gathered the sticky notes that were hanging out on my big sketchbook (for a shared visioning my husband, Nathan, and I have started) and gazed at the blank page.

And this is a part of what flowed onto the sketchbook page.

A three-circle Venn diagram. I labeled the circles Approach, Goal Specific, and Flow. You can see here some of the Approach circle and a touch of the Flow one.

(If there are folks who are viewing this with a support tool that reads text to them, I am happy to make an audio clip in which I read out what all my small notes say. Just email me requesting an audio clip at cassandra [at] bewithcassandra [dot] com. No need to explain details of why it's a need.)

a section of my three circle Venn diagram retrospective

Even cooler.... as Saturday evening melted into night and night became Sunday morning, I felt the shift from deepening into the past towards stepping into what's to come. I felt my whole body lovingly shake the water, sand, and dirt off from my summer-into-fall "year" and felt freshly ready to explore what this fall-into-winter "year" wanted to become.

Change can be felt in such cool visceral ways, huh?

Are you able to look back to, or feel back to, moments in which you experienced change and you felt it viscerally in your muscles, your bones, your mind, your heart...? If it's a change experience you wish to revisit and if you wish to share... want to tell me a bit about it?

What tools and techniques are you exploring that support you with the experiences and changes you are moving with and through?

⏳ You've reached the end of Part 1. Part 2 lands in your inbox next week.

What I’m Doing Now
(This is a now page, and if you have your own site, I recommend you make one, too! Thanks to Nicole Colter for telling me about what a now page is.) Every few months – or when inspiration strikes – I update my now page to share what I’m up to right
Cassandra's Now page

It's a handy tool for keeping connected with folks and sharing about some big picture stuff in your life that you might not share through other means or media.

about nownownow.com
about nownownow.com and the /now page movement
What's a Now page?

Maybe you want to add a Now page to your website?

Let me know if you do because I'd love to take a look!

(Since I'm not using social media as of late I have been enjoying finding alternative methods of staying connected and deepening virtual connections with folks. The Now page method of catching up and checking in would be even cooler if more folks I know used it too!)

Til next week... for the 2nd 🥳 part(i)er,


P.S. Future me is here to share that you can read part 2 right here, right now! Welcome to the future!

*The creator of this video summarizing the 12 Week Year did a solid job of summarizing the book though it's a bummer that all the images of people he used seem to be male.. I sent him a note sharing my observation with him 😉).