In celebration of the first anniversary of my company, Aspiring Growth, I dedicated time to reflect on all that occurred during this wonderful year. From the early days, when I felt excited and terrified, to the final days of the year that are so filled with joy, it has been an incredible adventure.
During my reflection, I looked at what worked really well over the year, what lessons I learned, and what I wanted to do differently as I entered the new year. I looked at both the actions and the feelings associated with the successes, the challenges, and where the greatest amount of growth occurred. It was important in designing not just what I want to accomplish in 2018, but also how I want to feel while doing the work.
Reflection is one activity that can make a significant difference for our performance. It is also often the most forgotten piece of the performance excellence model.
We tend to spend a great amount of time thinking about our goals and desired future outcomes. We dedicate time to crafting our intentions on paper, designing the road map for our activities ahead. We check in along the path to see where we are as we work towards those goals.
But how often do we stop, breathe, and reflect on what has happened so far?
Reflection provides us with the opportunity to see what is going on now. When we only look ahead, we may miss important clues that tell us to adjust our course or encourage us to keep doing what is working well. Reflection is about noticing, without judgment, so we can keep growing into the best versions of ourselves.
I spent many years of my career focused on the future goalposts, assessing where I was relative to my targets, and making adjustments through only that one lens.
Today, reflection is part of my daily practice.
In my coaching work, I dedicate time after each call. I not only reflect on what my client shared, but also I reflect on my own skills, presence, and how I showed up for that call.
As a workshop facilitator, I do the same thing at the end of each workshop session. What did I do well? How did I connect with the participants? What are my opportunities to do differently next time?
In my daily evening routine, I include reflection using a journal, to look at my day as a whole, beyond just work. In particular, I reflect on how I showed up for my family, friends, and other areas in my life that day. I ask the same questions: What did I do well? How did I connect with people? What are my opportunities to do differently tomorrow?
Each of these daily activities are no more than 10 minutes, and the investment pays great dividends.
Daily reflection has helped not only to enhance my performance, but it has also helped me identify patterns that are impacting more than one area of my life. This increased awareness allows me to focus my energy on improving aspects of myself that benefit multiple areas that are important to me.
My daily reflections help me prepare for the larger moments of reflection, on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. As a result of my daily work, I am much more clear about the contributions I’ve made to my success and what I want to celebrate. I am much more clear about my challenging areas, and opportunities for self-development. I celebrate those things too as this is where the greatest growth happens.
Knowing the power that reflection can have on our performance, growth, and development, it is amazing to consider how little priority reflection receives in most of our processes. If you are not reflecting today, you are not alone. It is the most under-utilized skill we have in our toolbox.
How would reflection add value for you?
What impact could a daily reflection bring to your performance?
Want to get started?
Consider adding just 10 minutes of reflection into your daily activities, and see what opens up for you.