You are on a trip, that started a long time ago. As a matter of fact, it is hard to remember exactly when and how it started. The path traveled has shaped you. When asked about previous destinations it is fun, well sometimes, to reminisce about those places and the impact they made on you.

This exercise is designed for you to take the time to reminisce (analyze) about the stops on your leadership journey and understand their impact on your leadership. Maybe even assess how the lessons from those stops may assist you moving forward.

This program will help you do that. Look back at your past, take the lessons learned, and apply them to your future.

Two essential questions will guide your journey:
1. How has your leadership changed over your career?
2. How has the nature of leadership changed during your career?

This reflective exercise will focus on you and your leadership at every phase of your professional life. We will start with you. Then move to those that led you, then those you currently lead. Followed by how the organizations you worked in influenced your leadership. Finally, we’ll take a glance at how the leadership trends of the times influenced you.

For this exercise you will be documenting your leadership journey. Do this in whatever format works for you: computer, journal, notebook etc. Let’s get started.

The goal is to build a depiction of your leadership career. It can be visual, textual, or both.

Think of a timeline with the starting point as your first professional position. Then begin to consecutively add the professional positions you have held. The first position out of college, followed by your promotion, followed by your lateral move to a new division. A master’s degree led to the new title of program manager. Three years later a move to a new city and a new employer.

You are getting the story. Make whatever drawing works for you. A straight timeline, a big S, or multiple pages. The goal is to visually show your professional progress.

Now, consider the following questions and document the answers for each position:
1. How did you land the position?
2. How did you lead in the position?
3. How effective were you?

Be as objective as possible, particularly on question 3. Looking back at copies of performance reviews may be helpful.

Congratulations! You are off to a great start. You have created a high-level road map of your leadership journey. It shows where you started, stops along the way, and what you experienced at each stop.

Next we’ll take a closer look at what you learned at each stop.