What is progress?

When we review our day, week, or even the past hour, it’s tempting to ask “What have I done?” Using the word done we imply that we’re looking for a defined response. Something finished. Something complete. Something tangible. When we don’t have anything that matches those criteria it can make us feel like we’ve not been working or not been productive but I’d argue that’s rarely true. What if instead we asked:

What progress have I made?

For me, progress is anything that moves me towards my goals. That could be ticking off a specific task on my to do list (those tangible things we were talking about above). It could also mean making a decision, having a conversation that challenged or advanced my thinking, or any of the emotional labour that’s associated with getting things done.

I’ve touched on this topic before when I asked the question “What counts as work?” and I’m sure I’ll return to it again. I want to advocate for us choosing our own definitions, benchmarks and targets for how we measure what we do or how we live. Rather than beating ourselves with yardsticks made by someone else in a different context to our own.

about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.