Latest from Columns

Photo 16903019 © Skypixel |
Photo 51372886 © Thinglass |

A Service Story

May 16, 2024
Photo 210659396 © Freemanhan2011
Illustration 9227645 © Ashestosky |
Photo 161233010 © Jamesteohart |
Photo 43963025 | Business © Choneschones |
draganab/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Writing Journal 5e04ffadeb6c0

Consider Your History to Sharpen Your Vision of the Future

Dec. 26, 2019
As 2019 and the decade of the 2010’s come to an end, take time to consider the history you made.

During this time of year, everyone begins thinking about their goals for the next year. As 2019 and the decade of the 2010’s come to an end, take time to consider the history you made. Let’s take a look at a one-hour project where you can capture 2019 in a written time capsule. If you don’t write it, who will?

By the way, a close look back will also sharpen your vision of your future.

What have you accomplished this year?
My daughter gave me one of her kidneys a couple years ago. A year later, she came into town for our annual checkup. Then she gave me an assignment; “Dad, before I leave town, I’d like a full written accounting of what you’ve accomplished with the year of life I gave you.”

I knew in an instant this wasn’t light conversation, but a call for a written stewardship of what I had done with the year of life she had given me. One glance let me know she was expecting a long, well defined list of meaningful accomplishments, since she had returned me to full strength and vitality.

Who do you write to? 
Writing my history and accomplishments for the year took about 10 hours. I’m only asking for one hour of your time. Writing this history is both for your benefit and others.  Please capture your experiences and accomplishments on paper, or digitally, or by some other means, so that what you’ve accomplished in 2019 will do more than slip into the past.

You can write to yourself to clarify the past year and set the stage to consider goals for 2020. Or you can go a little deeper.

I was writing my journal recently, doing my best to preserve my accomplishments and ideas for posterity’s sake. I write in story form because I know most people are better at remembering stories, not facts. I find myself writing mostly to our 12 grandkids.

Sometimes I imagine my grandchildren telling one of my stories to their kids. Imagining I’m speaking to them makes the time I spend of greater worth and assures I do a better job writing clearly. It may be beneficial for you to write to someone other than yourself. Then give them a copy to increase the value of your time and the project.

What should you write about?
Give your 2019 history a title so you can recognize it later. Perhaps “2019 - A Year in the Life of Rob Falke.”  You won’t throw that document out will you? History is meant to keep and refer to in the future.

Describe your job. Include where you worked, your title and your daily responsibilities. Put some detail into it, and perhaps make a note about your passion for your work and why you do it.

Paste into your history a couple pictures. If you’re not a prolific writer, remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps include a picture of you in your work clothes standing near your truck.  Maybe a photo of you working on a job site, showing off your favorite new tool. Or, one of you standing in front of a project you valued. Selfies work too.

But, do include some description of the pictures. Tell the rest of the story. Old family photos are worthless without the names of who’s in the picture.  Photos become priceless if someone writes on the back “Dad and Uncle Dewey, 1922, Eden, Idaho…Linnie Watson.”   

Major accomplishments for 2019 should be listed. However great or small, revisit what you earned that year and how you were recognized. Record what was most important to you. Recognition is worth mentioning, whether it be from a customer or national organization, write it. Perhaps describe a large project, a troubleshooting achievement, or even training or certifications you earned.

Capture things important to you. Doing so will help you recognize the things that mean the most and will provide focus for the year ahead. Answer the timeless questions: who, what, where, when and how. Record what you were most proud of in 2019.

Describe a typical day. Since life changes year-by-year, record your typical daily work patterns. Capture things like the minutes or hours of drive time you spend each day, plus small details that will change over time. Compare them to what you did in the past. For example, take a minute to describe the Motorola 2-way radio you once used and compare it to your mobile phone today. Describe how you used to use a paper map. Tell the story of the most fascinating experience of the year.\

Who were the people? You work with many people over time and meet new people daily. Write down the names and relationships you enjoyed (or didn’t) of those you work with. Is one your mentor? Who inspired you to be in this career? Other people will come to mind as you begin to write. 

Of course, you can take much more than an hour to write this. Or less. Even an outline will be very worthwhile in the future.

Advice for yourself? As you look back at your 2019 goals, think about the hopes and aspirations you held for the year or the decade. By taking a hard look at your past goals after you have reached them (and failed to reach others) you will rekindle strong memories that otherwise would have been lost.

Record clear understanding in the present, and benefit from its impact again and again in the future.

Then stow away your history and accomplishments for 2019 in a safe place -- hopefully where you’ll come across them from time to time. Each time you read it, the past will become clear and permit you a reference to track your advancement in the years ahead.

Now, read your history and you’ll find it much easier to write what you want to happen in the future. The primary benefit of writing your year’s history is the clarity it provides as you look to the future. Use your clarity to catapult your mind into 2020 and plan your growth and success in the coming year. If you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to savor the memories and share them.

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute, Inc., an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician interested in a free diagnostic procedure to quantify and reduce air filter resistance, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at for free information, articles, and downloads.

About the Author

Rob 'Doc' Falke | President

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician  interested in a building pressure measurement procedure, contact Doc at [email protected]  or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at for free information, articles and downloads.