Reflect to move forward

If you’re anything like me you’re experiencing the pre-Christmas crunch. Some work to wrap up this week and hanging out for a good break.

Sometime before mid-January you’re likely to start thinking about goals for next year. It’s easy to keep looking forward and not take time out to reflect.

The practice of reflection is crucial. Reflection helps us to capture learnings and identify areas to improve. It is the foundation for moving forward.

No need to make it complicated or time consuming. Here’s what I need to do to reflect well on the year just been (or week for that matter):

Make time. I’ve set aside an hour on Thursday for this. I’ve put a reminder in my calendar. Where could you block out time?

Record thoughts. I like to write things down. I’ll have a notebook that I’ll write my reflections in. If writing is not your thing then you could go for a walk with friend. What works best for you?

Have the right prompts. I use the Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy framework for a lot of my work. I’ll be using the following questions based on that. You could use this or any other framework you like (A simple ‘highlights and lowlights’ may work). It helps to bring structure to the reflection process.

Purpose – Where did I make my biggest contribution this year? What has changed for the better because of my work?

Mastery – What are three key things I have learned this year? Where did I get my biggest sense of progress?

Autonomy – In what areas of my job did I feel like I had the most freedom or control? What did I do to become more productive (tools used, work delegated, new habits etc)?

Share my learnings. Once I’ve identified my learnings and achievements, I’ll share these with my wife and some friends. Over a cold beverage most likely. I find the discussion helps me to solidify my thoughts and teases out other things that I’ve done or learned. Who could you share with?

As you then look forward to next year, I’d encourage you to make regular reflection times each week. It increases our ability to make progress and learn the lessons we need to faster. Becoming more intentional rather than floating along on autopilot.

I’ll also be reflecting on the people who have supported me and my business this year. That’s you. Thank you! It’s been a great journey with lots of learning and enjoyment.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018.

Doug Maarschalk is a trainer, facilitator and coach who uses the principles of intrinsic motivation as the foundation for his work. He has worked with New Zealand businesses in the horticulture, legal, accounting, financial services, real estate and healthcare sectors.
Read more about the Services Doug provides and the Clients he has worked with.