In Greek mythology, the three-headed dog Cerberus stands guard at the entrance to the underworld.
One head of the dog represents the past, one the present and the third is the future.
Most of us are good at focussing on the middle and last of these allegorical bonces- making ‘to do’ lists to prioritise what tasks we need to complete today, before looking ahead (and perhaps worrying) about what comes next.
But how many of us make time to truly reflect on the past?
Yet studies by everyone from mental health charities to the Harvard Business Review cite self-reflection as one of the most important mind boosters out there.
After a year in which so many public sector communicators have felt like hamsters on a virus shaped wheel, there’s never been a more important time to look back at what you’ve achieved.
The hundreds of updates to staff. The dozens of Facebook lives. The thousands of social media posts. The countless meetings where you gave sage advice, or simply listened to understand an issue. The emails, the leaflets, the posters, the billboard campaigns, the member briefings.
None of it was for nothing, right?
My own team and I squeeze in the time to pull together a summary of the main campaigns we’ve delivered each year. It’s become one of the most important things we produce as it proves not just what results we’ve achieved, but also how communication- as a strategic function- relates to the overall objectives of our organisation.
Your own period of quiet reflection needn’t be as formal as this though. Simply making a list of the big pieces of work you’ve delivered, or asking your team to name what they’re most proud of from the last year, can be a massive confidence booster and might just keep the black dog at bay.
Alexander Mills is Communication Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue