“Looking back, what would you do differently?”
It’s a useful question any time you break down an experience, a journey, anything where you can extract some learning to apply the next time around.
But in the drive to address would could have gone better, don’t forget to look at what went well. Learning from what didn’t work doesn’t help you determine what to do next—it just highlights what not to do again.
So what went right? What worked as well as or even better than you’d hoped it would? What would you not change, or do even more of next time?
This exercise can be particularly useful for parents going through the college admission process again with younger children. But here’s a push. Dig deeper than which SAT tutor you’d hire again or how much time you’d encourage your student to dedicate to leadership activities. Instead, how would you support, cheer on, and guide your student? How do you hope they—and you—will feel at the end of the process? What elements of your family and your life together can you shine a light on to ground you and remind you what’s really important?
While you’re committed to improving repeated experiences by doing things differently, don’t forget to identify and commit to those things you’d do identically.