A Practical Guide to Self Reflection

A Practical Guide to Self Reflection
Self reflection is about understanding yourself, your actions and your values. It is looking back and learning and growing from past experiences, challenges, and decisions. Reflection plays an important role in the success of leaders and organizations, paving the way for better decision making and focused goals. Carving out the time for reflection and even knowing where to get started are common roadblocks. Here are some practical steps you can take to build the habit of regular reflection into your life.

Schedule a Regular Time
Time is at a premium for any business leader. The constant pressure to perform coupled with the many demands for your attention make it difficult to take a step back and reflect. In order to develop a practice of self reflection, you need to build that time into your calendar. It can be part of your daily or weekly routine. Your time for reflection should be considered sacred, because it is. Protect it. Carving out a spot for it in your calendar signals your commitment to it. There’s no need to commit to a huge amount of time as you get started. Think about starting in just 15 minute increments and then increase the time as you get more comfortable and more in the habit of reflecting. Reflection is a discipline and the more time you spend regularly doing it, the more you’ll develop the skill.

Choose a Method of Reflection that Works for You
Whether you choose to write in a personal journal, voice your thoughts and record them, or go for a walk, it’s important to choose a method that works for you. Find a place that is free of distractions so you can focus completely. Getting out of your everyday environment can help you clear your mind and see things from different points of view. Whatever method you choose, commit to it!

Create a List of Questions
Sometimes you need something to stimulate or guide your thinking when you are developing a practice of reflection. A list of questions can be a great tool to inspire thoughtful introspection. As a business leader, relevant questions can concern your actions, beliefs, vision, strategy and leadership.

To develop an effective list of questions, think about what you’ll be reflecting on. Think about questions that will help you understand the actions you took in response to a particular situation or revisit your reasoning for a strategy that you implemented. What do your actions say about your beliefs? Did your behavior and decision-making line up with your values? How did you show leadership…either during the course of a day or in the event of a crisis?

Develop a Partnership
As you grow in the practice of self-reflection, it can be useful to partner with someone you trust who can challenge your thinking, bring different perspectives, and present you with new questions. Think of this person as a coach in your self development, someone who will push you to better understand yourself, and make your reflective time more satisfying and productive.

Your entire team can benefit from reflection!
Employees can examine their individual roles, take a deeper look at how they interact with team members, review projects to evaluate their progress, consider what they have learned, and set goals. Reflection allows employees to pause, giving room for new ideas and different points of view. Designating specific times for your team to reflect, lets your employees know how important you feel this practice is and instills the significance of setting aside time for deep thinking into your company’s culture.

The process of reflection helps us to better understand both our actions, and the actions of others. It also allows us to take a close look at our strategies for solving problems, the challenges we have faced, and the decisions we’ve made. When employees regularly take time for thoughtful introspection they develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their co-workers, and the organization as a whole. As a result, your employees’ capacity to think and work together is strengthened.

Your Virtual Assistant will make sure your regularly scheduled time for reflection is well protected and a meeting room is always booked for you. If you prefer, she can find a nearby cafe, park or nature trail. Your VA can help you compile a list of questions to prompt your thinking and categorize them according to your goals and priorities. She’ll also make sure your team members have a regularly scheduled time dedicated for reflection on their calendars.

Many leaders struggle with slowing down, turning off the noise, and giving themselves the space to think. If you are searching for ways of finding the time for reflection in your life, reach out to 100Ninjas. One of our Virtual Assistants can help you begin this powerful practice!