When I talk to people about my daily reflection routine, I get blank stares, I get looks of disbelief, and I get asked a lot of questions.
Why do you do it?
How do you do it?
What do you do with it?
Doesn’t it scare you to analyse yourself so much?
So what is it?
Most of our learning comes from experiences. The majority of the time we don’t even realise that we are learning. It’s an automatic, unconscious process. We just seem to get better at what we are doing.
Reflection is about deliberate learning and articulating past experiences. About improved understanding of actions versus outcomes. It has been shown that besides the potential for a higher awareness and attentiveness in communication, reflection also provides performance improvements to the individuals who practice it.
Reflection allows us to untangle our thoughts, actions, experiences, and observations and to create something meaningful from it that you can use to impact on your future actions and mindset.
It is different from critical thinking which is focused on problem-solving and the end goal. Reflective thinking helps us to influence our future decisions and drive our behaviour.
Improved performance in as little as 15 minutes a day
Most people, don’t practice reflection for one of three reasons:
- They don’t know how
- They don’t have the time
- They don’t understand the impact it has
You need to make reflection work for you. Contrary to what a lot of people think, it does not need to take an hour and you don’t have to have a journal of your thoughts. Spending as little as 15 minutes a day is all it takes to put reflection into your daily routine. If you prefer to talk it out with someone or to walk along in silence with your thoughts in your head instead of writing it down then both of these are perfectly acceptable. The important thing here is that you spend the time solely reflecting. If you are driven by your calendar, schedule it like any other appointment and make sure you stick to it. If you don’t, then reflect on that!
Start by asking yourself ‘what’ questions (avoid the whys). The four that I personally use every day are:
- What did I do well today?
- What could I have done better?
- What could I have done differently?
- What did I learn today?
It can be easier when you first start to just ask yourself the first two. Try and come up with at least three answers for each question. To really see the benefits, it’s important that you be honest with yourself. You may not (and probably won’t!) like some of the answers but this is where the growth occurs.
Pretending that everything was perfect will lead to no growth at all. Only by being brutally honest with yourself is where you will find the gold.
The benefits and why I do it
Taking time to reflect back on the road that has got me to where I am today, and to appreciate each and every little bump and every win for the lesson that they taught has been incredibly helpful and invaluable. If you were to ask me what I have personally got out of it then I would tell you that I am:
- Clear on my goals both professionally and personally
- Much more decisive when it comes to making decisions
- Focused and incredibly productive with the time that I have
- Less prone to fear – the unknown is exciting
- Able to identify, prevent and correct self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours
- Calm and peaceful due to being able to accept what is and what has been
Reflection is by far the most powerful tool I have ever been introduced to. It has changed the way that I live my life, changed my beliefs, and bought about a strong feeling of empowerment.
Do you practice reflection? Send us a message and let us know what it has done for you.
If you need some prompts to get you started on your own reflection journey, click here for access to our daily reflection template.