Reflection Isn’t a Process to Rush
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”― Søren Kierkegaard
The best reflection comes from looking backward. This year began with such promise. A year that comes at the end or beginning of a decade brings with it an extra impetus for change. We started the year with 20–20 vision and the possibility of everything good that comes with it. If you had positive aspirations like most people going into a new year, they quickly turned into a pipe dream. There’s still plenty of ambition to be found this year, but we may have to take a little more time to find it.
If you’re the kind of person who quickly analyzes where you are in relationship to your goals, you may want to slow down, especially this year, and go through the reflection process with a bit more care than usual. The psychology of reflection is a process of thinking about where you are and where you want to be and considers the thoughts and feelings associated with the actions you are willing to take.
Analyze Who You Are
You’ve got to analyze who you are and what you’re willing to do to line up goals and aspirations. Become self-aware by investigating who you are and how you work. We tend to think of “self-focus” as egotistical and having a negative connotation, but this kind of self-awareness is a good thing.
When you better understand yourself, you better understand your world and how you relate to it. Two popular personality profiles are Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram. Understanding the science of how you operate is helpful to comprehend how you move to accomplish goals. Bonus, it improves how you relate with others too. Many companies are looking to personality profiles as part of their hiring process.
Make a Better Plan by Choosing the Right People
As you understand what makes you tick, you also get a revelation about how others operate and work together. Whether you’re a small business owner or work closely with others, understanding how you relate to each other and why you act in specific ways, or under pressure, helps eliminate difficulties.
If you’re a pantser, you may want to make sure some plotters are on your team so that you balance each other out. Carefully select who you work with and make a plan for where you’re going. People who think too similarly to you may not challenge your reasoning as much as others. A diverse team has positive attributes. Team cohesiveness is essential. When you know how other people work, you learn their triggers and how they work with others.
Assess Emotions and Energy Levels
Learning how others work tells you something about how they act under stress and how they do their work. Knowing these attributes about others helps mitigate emotions in high-pressure situations. Also important is to assess energy levels. I don’t only mean ambition, but how much energy you have left at the end of the day.
There are two kinds of drive. One type is associated with primary needs like food, clothing, shelter. The secondary type is related to cultural and emotional needs like social status, or the ability to obtain money, social status, or approval from others. Reflect on how emotions and energy affect your team for the best results.
Look Back with Eyes to Learn
Hindsight is still 20–20, but the revelation isn’t immediate. A little time is your friend to discover past action with future-oriented goals. Psychologists say taking a short time to ponder big decisions is essential. Conversely, you don’t want to take so much time that you become inactive. If you’re overthinking a problem, it helps to put a date on the calendar as a deadline. Psychologists say the most prominent factor behind indecisiveness is fear. Once you’ve reflected, you’re ready to take next steps.
Move with Confidence
You’ll never have 100% confidence that you’re making the right decision. Life is full of calculated risks, and you have to move anyway unless you’re happy staying where you are. If you’ve taken a little time to reflect and analyze who you are and how you work best, you have a better revelation than most people have about themselves. Bring people around you who have similarities in passion and action, while also including others who challenge your thinking. Look backward to reflect on where you have been, then move forward in confidence.