The power of self-reflection is simple but mighty
I once heard someone say that if you are not making time for self-reflection, you are not making time for growth…. and I could not agree more. After all, self-reflection is the engine of personal growth, a journey which we all have a ticket for. And yet, we do not always make good use of it.
As a coach, reflection is one of the key strategies I promote and encourage with my clients. I strongly believe that everyone stands to gain from engaging in some type of reflection as it is an essential component for achieving a healthy mind and body. I am not exaggerating when I say that the by-products of self-reflection are endless.
So let’s get down to business… what does self-reflection mean?
Reflection is a state of mind, an ongoing constituent of practice, not a technique, or curriculum element.
Reflection comes more naturally to some than others. However, reflection is a learnt process. It involves a number of skills (such as observation, self-awareness, critical thinking, self-evaluation and taking others’ perspectives) and has the outcome of integrating this understanding into future planning and goal setting. There is no one-size-fits-all method of reflection, and I encourage everyone to find their own way and cadence for self-reflection. Similarly, there is no reason to limit reflection to personal or professional experiences.
Oftentimes, to get a different result in our lives, we have to take a new approach. As we go through our busy lives, we seldom spend time trying to understand our various actions. Reflection should not involve just thinking about things. Instead, we should take it a step further and reflect on our actions and make plans to do things differently. In addition, it is pivotal to schedule time to reflect on your calendar so you follow through. This could be at the end or beginning of the day.
Reflection is a must to enhance the performance and improve the process, but without the openness for learning, reflection can only get you so far. The most important factor for me as I have progressed through my career has been to constantly maintain an appetite for learning and an openness to new perspectives and techniques. Being able to evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses has helped to direct my continued professional development. Also, if I discover something that is not fulfilling, I ask myself, “Am I ready to make a change? Am I coachable? Should I reach out for support?” Self-reflection provides me with increased clarity, focus, motivation and engagement.
Many think reflection does not count as work and that it needs to happen outside the workspace, despite its powerful benefits. Researchers from the Harvard Business School found that it is much more effective to give people more time to think and actually refuted the irrational but persuasive mental trap that many individuals and organisations fall into — believing that the solution to all productivity problems is to work even harder.
The workplace should be an environment for encouraging self-reflection. Give yourself, or give your team, real time to think. I believe that by creating an environment that encourages proactive thinking and personal responsibility, employees become engaged and invested in their future. That is what we are all about at Avaintec. We believe in empowering the individual to track and share their progress (and obstacles) in order to promote open communication, collaboration and success among teams.
Dedicated time to self-reflection should be an integral part of everyone’s daily habits. The internet and library are full with instructions on how to go about. Or you could hire a coach to facilitate your own journey (I’m a coach, I can’t help it). This reviewing and combining of thoughts will improve your actions both on the job and in your personal life. As Peter Drucker said: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection, will come even more effective action.”
I wish a very self-reflective autumn to all my readers!