Do you reserve time in your schedule to reflect on your experiences of the day or week? If you're like most people, probably not. Muscled out by the myriad emotions and pressures we face in everyday life, self-reflection time often gets the director's cut. Its potential value never realized.
So why should you be motivated to carve out self-reflection time in your crazy schedule?
There are numerous reasons. But perhaps the most important is its value in helping you make effective decisions.
Decisions we make today dictate our future. So shouldn't they be sound and well-considered? Unfortunately, in today's harried existence, decisions are often driven strictly by emotion or made on the fly.
Either way, it's likely that they end up being not the best ones for us.
Self-reflection "frames" our choices against the backdrop of experiences, instilling a measure of thoughtfulness in our decision-making process. Thoughtfulness that offers a number of significant benefits in our lives.
The following are 5 direct benefits you will receive from developing a Self-Reflection Habit...
1. Improve your long-term success
Increase your impact in life and work through self-reflection.
There is so much potential learning encompassed in our experiences. Whether its acknowledging our current successes, recognizing errors of judgement or pinpointing gaps in our thinking, reflecting on our experiences informs future actions.
This helps ensure that we make wise decisions that contribute to our future success and that direct us purposefully toward our vision of the future.
2. Gain better emotional control
Learn to get a better handle on your daily emotions. When you self-reflect regularly, you become less emotionally reactive. Through assessing your emotional response to your experiences, you gain emotional insight.
This heightened ability to respond more thoughtfully in future similar circumstances offers numerous benefits. These include enhanced relationships, greater resilience and creating a calmer, more emotionally-balanced life.
3. Create new and broader perspectives
Take a "10,000 foot view with self-reflection.
Sometimes, those four-walls can feel like they're closing in, causing us to lose sight of the forest for the trees and getting stuck in our limited thinking patterns. As a professional coach, it's my experience that this is at the heart of issues many people face.
With a self-reflection habit, you begin to assess perspectives and perceptions that might be inhibiting you.
It's amazing how often simply taking this time to reflect can transform your thinking. While it may not lead to immediate results, it can have noticeable benefits with time and practice.
Develop a Strategic Viewpoint
Self-reflection can strengthen your strategic ability. I work with many leaders who tend to get immersed in the day to day, "tactical" aspects of their work and want to broaden their perspectives. They understand that spending time in the weeds can obscure the bigger business picture.
A self-reflection habit provides the opportunity to consider the value of actions. In other words, do they fit into a well-considered strategy or goal. It helps you become more discerning with your time and actions, making you a more effective leader as a result.
4. Increase your sense of accomplishment
As mentioned earlier, self-reflection ensures that we recognize and learn from our successes. Sometimes, these successes may appear insignificant and become lost in what feels to be more-pressing challenges.
However, if we take the time to acknowledge our successes no matter how small, we draw strength from them and realize that progress is indeed being made.
I've personally seen the power of this. In the building my own business, for example, these small successes have sustained me. Without a self-reflection habit, I would've overlooked a powerful ally.
5. Enhance your creativity
We're naturally creative beings. However, this creativity is often stifled by our hectic lifestyles, rushed thinking and negative perspectives. These barriers are removed through dedicated self-reflection.
This is not something that needs to be forced. In the calm space created, your creative self will makes itself heard.
Reflection is defined as "Giving serious thought or consideration". But there is a second definition: "The throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat or sound without absorbing it."
Interestingly, this is what self-reflection does. It throws back - repels - the control that our emotions and cluttered thoughts have over us. In doing so, we are better able to calmly and clearly view our lives. And, creatively, new possibilities and options begin to flow.
Developing a self-reflection habit can provide many significant benefits that are yours for the taking. You owe it to yourself to committing time to doing it and making these sessions a regular priority!
Glenn Case is a Leadership, Executive and Team Coach in Vancouver, Canada.