We tend to be obsessed with looking forward - looking to the future to see what's out there for us.
In my opinion, we don't spend enough time looking back.
The family and I were in Wales last week with friends staying in a little cottage on Anglesey (Holyhead aside, it's very nice!). On Wednesday we climbed Wales' highest peak - Mount Snowdon (1,131m). And rather than take the dull track up the side of the mountain railway, we opted for the Pyg Track - a 6km walk, climb and scramble to the top. It was my kids' first proper climb (the youngest is eight) and I wanted to ensure they got a real sense of achievement..
I spent a lot of time telling them to turn and look behind them - the views were spectacular and an amazing reward for the time we'd put into climbing up there.
On any climb or hill walk you spend so much time watching your feet (or those of the person in front), looking for the next step or hand hold, that you forget to stop, turn and look at what you've achieved.
The same is often true in business - we focus on the next email, the next meeting, the next board paper, the next Friday, the next holiday!
We're always looking forward and not stopping to look back for a second, to think about what we've achieved (personally, for the team or for your business). We don't think about the very positive impact we've had and sometimes forget to recognise our colleagues and teams.
Looking back gives a real sense of achievement - Yes, it was only 1,000m but the altitude we'd gained in only two hours coupled with the crystal clear day, afforded amazing views of exactly what we'd achieved. You could follow the path we'd taken all the way back to where it dipped over the final hill and into the car park.
Looking back shows us the other paths we could have taken - As I turned and looked back at the views from the col below the summit, you could see the brown snakes of various routes that other walkers had taken. There was more than one way to the top. In a work setting that's important - there's always a different way to achieve a goal and it's worth thinking about how a different perspective or approach can get you to the same end-point. The same way isn't always the right way.
In summary, take some time out to look back and see what you've achieved. And celebrate it.
We celebrated with a high five, a team hug and an ice-cream at the top of Snowdon.
How you celebrate your achievements is up to you! :)