How’s it going? How did you ‘do’ today at navigating the no doubt dozens of things you had to
do? Those generic, innocent questions we use in everyday life as we interact with others rarely
invites a deeper reflection in those we might be asking. “Fine,” is probably the most common
response we get when we ask someone else how they’re doing.
But, if we intentionally looked at life through a lens of self-examination and reflection, the habit
of addressing how we’re actually doing personally could be a wonderful path toward a lifetime of growth and maturity.
I like to use a simple little acronym to help me examine my life and how I’m doing. I call it the WIN exam. W. I. N.
The first letter, W stands for “What went well?” today in my world of influence. Reviewing the happenings of the day, the conversations I had, the tasks I chose to accomplish. When I ask myself, “What went well?” it helps me notice the blessings of God that are all around me, but I frequently fail to take note of. By looking back at the past 24 hours of my life — if I make that “looking back” a regular part of my life everyday — I give myself the opportunity to reflect on not only the goodness of God, but on what is going well in my life. Think about it: Isn’t it true that if you examine the last 24 hours of your life … a lot of your day went very well?
The I in the W.I.N. acronym stands for, “What can I improve?” There are always elements in my everyday life that could have been done better. When I ask myself how I can improve, I give myself an opportunity to invite God’s spirit to show me areas I need to grow. I don’t use the
“How can I improve” question as an opportunity to beat myself up, or rehearse some of the
things that didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Rather, I view the exercise as an opportunity to
discover things about myself, and ask God to reveal growth areas in my life.
Finally, the letter N in the W.I.N. acronym stands for “What will I try to do Next time?” That’s another way of asking, “What will I try to do … tomorrow.” The wonderful thing about living, and life, is that we’re all given the same, unchanging template for managing. You’ve got twenty-four hours; I’ve got twenty-four hours. When the clock for a particular day has finally ticked to a close? At 23:59:59, the clock for my life re-sets. Another opportunity for Next time to begin. Another chance to grow, learn, serve. What will I do tomorrow, should God grant me another 24 hours? What will I change?
II Cor, 13:5 in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message says, “ Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups.”
The little W.I.N. tool can be a great way to look at my everyday life, and help me answer those three questions:
What went Well today?
What could I have Improved today?
What will I endeavor to do Next time … tomorrow?