A short reflection on reflection

This article wouldn’t happen unless there was a deadline.

I get stuff done. I meet my commitments. I turn up to my appointments. I deliver my projects. All these have deadlines. Things have to be in by certain days, coaching sessions are scheduled for particular dates and times, so are trainings. I’m a woman of my word. If I say I do something, I will.

There are things that I don’t get done – or maybe I should say, I didn’t. This article is an example of that, so is my website. These are things that I don’t have to get done. They have no deadline. No one is asking where is that article because no one knew that I was meaning to write one.

These are the product of reflection, and are often the most valuable.

A year ago I attended a development course and met two ladies who are now my buddies. We talked, challenged and supported each other. We meet at least once a month to share where we are, where we are headed to, what we are learning – professionally and personally. It’s a space to reflect on what has been, dream what you want to create and align your behaviours and actions so you can have it. One of my big aha moments was simple: I need deadlines to get stuff done. So , my two buddies, Avivah and Sam, are now giving me deadlines. This article has to be in today (Sunday) because Avivah does her reading on a Sunday. and I wanted to add my article to her Sunday reading list. Presto, it now gets done.

The Busyness Excuse

I hear people say:

“I’m too busy, I don’t have time to look at the bigger picture.”

“I’ve just got to get through this phase, then I will take time to do a bit of planning.”

“I can’t see the wood for the trees, I just have to keep going for now.” (hoping it will get better)

“I’m swamped with emails, all I do is respond to my inbox, I don’t initiate pro-actively.”

“I don’t have time to think, my head is full.”

“Everything I do is fire-fighting.”

I also hear:

“The holiday was fab, it gave me time to reflect and plan.”

“We had a couple of days away as a team, it was so valuable to take time to reflect as a team, we should do that more often.”

“The coaching is helping me to stand back and look at what I’m doing, it changes my perspective.”

Quality vs Speed of Thought

We live in a society where we are on ‘on’ all the time. Everything has to get done and ideally now. It feels like ‘do, do, do’ rather than ‘think, think, think’. But the really important stuff in life demands quality of thought, rather than speed of thought.

Reflection can look different for different people. The introverts amongst us might want to put the metaphorical headphones on and enter a silent space to take time out. In that they can do quality thinking. They don’t like to be interrupted.

The more extroverted amongst us might benefit from talking things out with someone who listens attentively. It helps them get clear on what they are thinking. I often ask my partner ‘can I have 5 minutes of your time, I need to think something through. I don’t need his advice, I just need to verbalise my thinking. After two minutes, I often leave clear about what I want to do next.

What would be possible in your life if you added a pinch of reflection? What would you be able to accomplish? Which insights might you be able to get?

Yearn for Reflection? Some Ideas:

  • For extroverts - get a thinking partner – to allow you to verbalise your thinking
  • Introverts - Create some silent reflection
  • Establish a buddy group of people who reflect together in particular intervals
  • Do some writing, journaling, etc – to capture your thoughts
  • Establish a mindfulness practice
  • Get a coach
  • Diarise thinking time – make it important.

Pick one, give it a go and reflect, a week on, by asking yourself:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work so well?
  • What am I learning?
  • What do I want to take forward?

Take time to reflect. Even a little can add a lot.

As for me. I’m happy. Deadline met, article written. Simple! Reflection is powerful!