Select Page

Or in the office. [1]

Today I’m going to channel a little bit of Tim Urban and use some poorly drawn diagrams to demonstrate a tool to assist you with development of your self awareness. This is a method I have used with a number of clients with great success.

And it’s pretty simple. [2]

Start with a blank page, preferably a big one. Draw a line through the middle.

Turn the line into a timeline.

Add your age to the timeline.

Now add the significant events in your life to the timeline.

Now, split your timeline up into phases based on your reflections. Add more events as they come to mind.

Finally, ask yourself some (or all) of the following questions [3]:

  1. What patterns do you see?
  2. What is the significance of the events you chose?
  3. What have you learned over your life?
  4. What strengths did you use to overcome the challenges of your life?
  5. How can you use those strengths to meet current and future challenges?
  6. What have the events of your life taught you about your values?
  7. How have the labels you have given yourself shaped your behaviour?
  8. What happened to shift you from one phase to the next?
  9. What meaning do you make of the events and phases of your life?
  10. What haven’t you included? Why?

This timeline tool allows you to take a step back and gain a different perspective on the events of your life. As I mentioned in note [3] below, you will discover more by being as open to the events of your life as you can. I have provided one approach above. There are a variety of ways to tackle this, so I encourage you to experiment and see what you uncover. Things you may want to include are:

  • Places you’ve lived.
  • Jobs you’ve held.
  • Significant people you’ve met.
  • Relationships.
  • And many more. Use your imagination.

If you’d like some assistance with going through this process, you can contact me at Campbell Leadership Solutions.


[1] If you are a team or organisation, you can try this activity to understand your history and organisational values. Just go through the process as a group.

[2] This is a personal example. I have used some events in my own life. When you do this, you will get increased benefit from being as honest and open with yourself as you can. The more detail you include the better.

[3] This is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to ask yourself additional questions not listed here.