Last week I realised that so far this year, I have dedicated five weeks to reflection. My reflection has been in the form of holidays and retreats; sometimes with people I know, sometimes alone and other times with perfect strangers.
Why do I reflect and what do I gain from it? Well, I slow down. I stop doing things. I create space to tap into all facets of life, and I return with greater clarity and confidence around where I am going. Too often, we focus on taking one step at a time and don’t look any further. Equally, we can be so consumed with looking forward that we don’t take time to look back on what has been.
Reflection is a leadership quality. It does not have to be heavy, nor does it need to be deep. When you reflect, there may not be any epiphanies or life changing decisions and maybe everything stays the same. One of my approaches when reflecting is no expectations, no judgement. This leads me to my purpose for reflecting—clarity and growth.
I researched the word ‘reflection’ and this is what I learned:
Reflection comes from the Latin word ‘reflectere’. It is made up of the prefix ‘re’, which means ‘back’, and ‘flectere’, which means ‘to bend’. It translates to bending something back: your reflection in the mirror consists of the light waves that bounce your image back at you. When you pause for reflection —serious thinking, that is—your thoughts are bending inward.
I encourage all the professionals I meet to make time for daily reflection, particularly when they are working with humans. So much of what we do each day is looking externally and outward; therefore, we need to make time to look inward.
If your day-to-day life is a little overcrowded and you are not clear on how you are being perceived or showing up, it’s time to get still, reflect and turn your attention inward—five minutes is all it takes.
Here are the logistics:
- Turn your phone to flight mode to avoid any distractions.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Sit still and pay attention as your mind plays back what took place that day.
- No judgement, just observe.
- Write down a note or a question/conversation that you need to have based on your reflection.
Here is where to do it:
- Turn off music, turn off podcast.
- In your office. (I move to a special cushion that triggers a time for stillness).
- In the shower. Many people do their best thinking in the shower.
- This is a perfect time to play back the day or moments in the day.
Here are the prompts I use (gently):
- How am I feeling about my day/that moment?
- What did I like about it or what didn’t I like about it?
- What was the impact?
- What, if anything, would I do differently?
Note: This is all done from a place of love, growth and without judgement.
‘Love Being in Service’