Looking Back through the Angel's Lens

Evaluation is normal. Evaluating from the perspective of a 'negativity bias' is also normal. However, though negativity bias is built into our hardwiring for survival's sake, it does not serve us to use it when looking back over the year and assessing ourselves. Looking through the eyes of the 'Angel Coach' is much more promising, as it will flood you with hormones and neurotransmitters that support your well-being, your mood, your motivation, and even your health.

Taking stock and assessing what went well, what changed, what you did to move something forward, and what you learned that you can apply in the future is a great 'angel practice' at the end of a project or the end of the year.

Over the course of my life, I have learned that looking back for the purpose of moving forward is extremely beneficial if it done as an 'angel practice.' It certainly tops going into a self-putdown or self-criticism cycle that leaves me feeling depressed, lethargic, and out of sorts. Engaging the 'angel' allows me to think about what I did to move the project or my life forward. By looking at where I was when the project or year started, what I learned or implemented to further my life/project, and how I executed little step by little step, is one way to take credit for my accomplishments.

If you are like most people, you find it easier to berate yourself for what you didn't do rather than credit yourself for what you did do. This year, make it different. Take the time and the care to love yourself more, to look over your year with kindness, to take credit from a place of deep reverence for yourself, your effort, your persistence, your focus, and whatever it took you to get through the obstacles that you encountered this year or during this project.

If you supervise others, take the time to support them in doing the same. Most people will start telling you what they didn't do, how they didn't do something as well as they would have liked. With kindness, shift them as you might shift your own brain, and encourage them to look at and take stock in all the good they did.

Start with the end in mind, whether with the conversation with yourself, your direct reports, your children, your partner, or a friend. The end can be as simple as, “I want to end this conversaton feeling really good and motivated to go into the new year with optimism” or something like that.

Each time you shift into what you didn't do, or didn't do well enough, engage your angel voice to give you a margin of error, to say to yourself something like, “Thinking about what you didn't do is only going to get you depressed, whereas thinking about what you did do will get you inspired to do more. Now, which do you want?” Hopefully, you will answer “the latter” and you will shift into the positive. Your Year through the Eyes of Your Angel will support this.

Expressing gratitude to all those around you who have supported you this year or with your project helps your own internal credit taker and helps you engage in healthy evaluation. To look at how much support you received and how well you used it will help you remember that you do not work alone; that the more you engage your team, the more you can accomplish, and the more you can spread all the good feelings.

In that vein, I feel tremendous gratitude to those of you who are reading this. Thank you for your interest, your commitment to your own development, and thank you for making this world a better place, person by person, relationship by relationship. And an extra special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to write to me. I appreciate it tremendously.

With hopes that you have a great time looking back through the eyes of your angel,


Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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