Let me present you with three scenarios… (pay attention – there will be a quiz at the end!)
- As she leaves her house, Alice notices her car keys are missing from the key rack. She rummages through her pockets and her satchel until she asks, “When did I last have them in my hands?” She remembers placing them on the kitchen counter the night before – and there they are.
- Barry pulls a freshly-washed shirt from his closet. As he puts it over his head, he notices a strange, strong, chemical scent. “Ugh,” he thinks, “it must be my new laundry detergent. I’ll have to see if they sell it unscented.”
- Christina’s daily chores are interrupted by a bout of food poisoning. As she lays down in bed, she thinks on what she’s eaten throughout the day – toast, salad, leftover chicken… “Chicken, it must be,” she thinks to herself, and throws it out so that no one else in her family gets sick.
Question: What do these three scenes have in common?
Answer: All of them, when presented with a problem, took a moment to examine their experiences to find out the cause or the solution.
Reflection has always been a crucial pillar of problem-solving. Whether leaders are trying to overcome project delays, address team turnover, or improve subpar results, it is natural for us to honestly and earnestly ask, “How did we get here?”
But – here’s the problem…
Many of us are only taking the time to reflect when problems arise, like lost keys or downward trends. But some problems are quiet; some problems work behind the scenes, and their only symptom is that nothing is changing.
Leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell says,
“Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is the best teacher. Reflective thinking is needed to turn experience into insight.”
In order to improve, we have to learn; in order to learn, we have to reflect – intentionally. We must set aside time to consider how we’ve been going about our goals and about how effective our approach has been. This mindful practice can benefit you with:
- Greater self-awareness: “Why?” is a powerful question – and a multipurpose one. Reflecting on the why behind our actions and results can lead us to better understanding of ourselves.
- Improved problem-solving skills: Analyzing our actions can reveal patterns we may not have seen otherwise, and we can use this insight when addressing concerns in the future.
- More clarity and stronger focus: When we take time to take personal inventory, we can see areas of importance where we may be falling short, or we may find that we have not been employing helpful strategies.
- Increased self-regulation: Not only does reflection help us course-correct with intention, it can also act as a sort of self-accountability system. When we know we will be evaluating our actions later, we are more likely to make mindful choices.
- Enhanced creativity and learning: We experience things differently in the moment versus after the fact. When we review our actions and their results, we have the chance to make new connections and gain new insights.
As you prepare for a new year and endeavor to reach a new level of results with your team, develop an effective plan of action by asking yourself these five self-reflective questions:
- What will I stop doing?
- What will I start doing?
- What will I continue doing?
- What will I do more of?
- What will I do less of?
Are you looking for another perspective to help you get reflective? I would be happy to help you pave your path toward your full potential in 2023 – send me an email at [email protected] and we’ll get connected.
That’s all for now,
Happy New Year!
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