Creating Greater Success Through Reflection
If I could give you a tool or resource that would change your
life in positive ways, change your results, create more happiness
in your life and help you get better at anything you desired
. . . And if I could promise you that this tool would cost
you nothing, require only yourself and could be used at any
time . . .
Would you be interested?
I'll bet you would.
Now at the risk of sounding a little bit like a carnival barker
or used car salesperson what I just told you isn't hype -
there is such a tool. And you already possess it.
The tool is reflection.
I'm sure that you know people that have been on a job for
10 years and have continued to get better and better at their
work and you probably also know people who have been on a
job for ten years, but it is like they have one year of experience,
ten times. In other words, they never really reflected on
their work and results and so nothing seems to get better.
They don't seem to learn from their past experiences.
Which of these people would you hire? Which of these people
do you want on your team?
But I'm Too Busy
The number one reason I hear for people not reflecting is
that they are too busy. They are too busy moving from task
to task, from project to project, and event to event. When
they recount this challenge to me they end by asking, "When
would I have time to reflect?"
Our lives are much different than were the lives our grandparents.
75 or 100 years ago in the evening people would gather around
a table or sit on the front porch and sip iced tea and visit
about their day. What they were doing was relaxing and, while
not in a very structured way, they were reflecting on their
We all know that this type of reflection works because as
one of the things we ask our children when they come home
from school is "How was your day?"
We say we are too busy - that the reason we don't reflect
is that we don't have porch time. Somehow we do find television
time - and while there is nothing wrong with television -
it doesn't allow us the space, time or opportunity to reflect
as we sit watching it.
Time is typically our excuse, but it isn't the only reason
we don't reflect. We also don't reflect because:
We don't think about it.
We don't realize the importance of it.
We don't value it.
We don't think we know how to do it.
Hopefully reading this helps you get past the first reasons.
Let me deal now with the last one - the issue of skill.
We all know how to reflect, consider . . .
Sitting around a table with friends playing a card game. In
between hands, people are talking about what they could have
done, should've done, might've done - all of this conversation
is simple reflection. And while some people playing the game
don't like to "overanalyze it," spending that time in conversation
about what just happened will make us better card players
in the future. Or for those in a different generation, the
reflection is the time they take between two rounds in a video
game as they quickly think about what happened and how they
do it differently the next time.
Golfers quickly analyze their swing as they watch the trajectory
of their shots, thinking about what worked and what they might
And we do it at work, thinking about how the meeting or presentation
went as we leave and move to the next item on our calendar.
So we know how, and we even do it sometimes, but how can we
use this skill more successfully more often?
How to Reflect More Effectively
Make time. Reflection is about having time. We all
have the time, regardless of how busy are schedules are. Reflect
in the shower. Reflect on the drive to work (turn off your
radio or your iPod and think). Reflect in the moments before
you go to sleep. Reflect with your family as you eat a meal.
Turn off the television. There is time - we just have to carve
Ask questions. Reflection is about thinking and questions
help our brains think. Consider using his list of questions
as your "starter set" of reflective questions - the questions
to help you think about what happened and what you can learn.
What worked? Why?
What didn't work? Why?
What does this situation remind you of?
How can I use this experience?
How does this experience relate to other situations I've been
in? What can I learn for that situation?
Knowing what I know now, what would I do differently next
Think more broadly. Don't just apply your thinking
to how you would do this exact same task or respond in this
exact same situation the next time. Our lives are too complex
for that! Think about what you can take from this experience
and apply to other related or perhaps even unrelated situations.
Look for generalizations, patterns, tendencies and underlying
principles. When we think more broadly we make our reflection
time infinitely more beneficial to our lives. This is some
of my reflection on reflection. As we practice this skill
we will get better at it and our results will begin to improve
dramatically. Make the time. Ask the questions. And by all
means apply what you learned. When you do this, you will make
your life experiences your most precious source of learning,
and your most fertile ground for your own success.
Kevin Eikenberry is the Chief Potential Officer of
The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com),
a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their
potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking
services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing
Your Potential go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp
or call 317-387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.
Article Source: http://www.article99.com
Return to Mental
Training Articles directory.