Great Time For Personal Reflection

It’s the most wonderful time of year and oh what a year it has been! Wouldn’t you all agree? Hopefully, a year of growth and stretching for many.

We survived another year of living with this dreadful virus lingering in the atmosphere and killing our loved ones and our economies. If you are from Barbados like me, you also had to endure the trauma of Hurricane Elsa and the ashfall from the La Soufriere volcano. A combination of challenges of catastrophic proportions.

If you’re reading this blog article it means you survived and that you are more resilient than you think! And you definitely deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for that. God knows we all deserve to give ourselves some grace for the last two years we have had to endure.

It’s quickly approaching the end of another year and if you’re anything like me, you start to feel quite reflective. Asking yourself questions like, have I done enough this year and where did I go offtrack? Or even come to realise that you didn’t give yourself enough credit for all that you’ve actually accomplished. According to John C. Maxwell “Reflective thinking turns experience into insights” and I couldn’t agree more.

Often times we are so wired for the grind that we lose sight of the power of reflection. The value to be derived from conducting a good, honest self-audit. Not as a means of pulling yourself down because you didn’t meet or stick to one or two goals. More so, the habit of reflection is a good strategy for generating a new level of momentum. Quite frankly, just maintaining your mental stability in this environment should be considered a win.

Creating The Space To Reflect

In business, most companies manage reflection through the Performance Evaluation Process which is a key employee management system that should exist in every organisation. Typically executed once or twice a year, the employee and their direct report meet to reflect on the team members progress against established goals, their contribution and other behavioral attributes, successes and areas for improvement. This is quite a useful career progression tool when feedback is delivered appropriately and embraced as a growth strategy by the receiving party.

Interestingly, personal reflection is not treated with the same level of priority. The same way businesses incorporate this process to keep the engine of the organization going – it’s people in case you were wondering. We need to get in the habit of making time to reflect on our own progression.  Making time to quietly sit and ask yourself the what, why, where, how and the when generates a renewed level of self-awareness.

In many instances, we realise that the things that initially scared us are now done and dusted. The relationships that started off rocky now smoothened out over at the edges or even depriortised. The change you initially were hesitant to make now proving advantageous.  Or even the realisation that the goal you didn’t start was because truthfully your heart just wasn’t in it.

The optimist in me believes that this process will likely help you realise that you did way more than you think. And if you are in the camp where you are simply not satisfied with your progress, the power comes from being able to identify and connect with the underlying factors that may have contributed.

The Process of Reflection

We all know the saying in business “what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done.” It’s actually the same way in real life. Goal setting is a critical progress that many people now bring into focus with this thrust towards vision board planning.  What doesn’t get sufficient focus is the power of self reflection.

Get in the habit of asking yourself these important self-coaching questions which offers clarity as you embark on your next step in the journey.

The What – What was it that I really wanted to achieve? What did I want my progress to look like? What is the vision I have for my life?

The infamous Why – Why was that goal important to me? Am I fulfilling my purpose in pursuit of this particular goal or am I just checking off a box?

The Where – where did or does pursuit of this goal take me? Am I any closer to fulfilling the vision I have for my life?  Or am I pursuing someone else’s vision?

The How – if the goal is important to my future, how will I stay or find my way back on track? How will I adapt to change to see meaningful progress? Is there anyone that can guide me, like a coach or mentor?

The When – timing is everything! We must set ourselves goals to keep our future in focus. Remembering always that wherever our focus goes our energy goes. If you’re not on track you must be prepared to ask yourself when will I likely achieve this goal? That’s after reassessing whether the goal is still important to you of course.

Personal reflection is a way of holding yourself accountable. Honestly, it takes the right timing and environment to pull those answers out from deep within. The reality is that the practice of ongoing reflection is indeed a good thing.

As we swiftly close out this year, ask yourself the tough questions that need to be answered. Set your mind to get things back on track where your progress is lacking but equally you must personally acknowledge and celebrate your wins.

Happy Holidays!

Yours truly, Al

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