How well do you know yourself? Do you practise self-reflection? We are quickly moving towards the end of the year, and we think that this could be the perfect time to start our journey of self-reflection.
As Margaret J. Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
What is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is the process of thinking about our thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviours, attitudes, motivations, and desires. This process is a deep dive exercise in order to understand the why behind our feelings and behaviours.
Reflection is something most of us have done at some point in our lives. For example, we do it when something goes wrong at work, and we have to understand why.
Unfortunately, we don’t seem to spend as much time analysing our personal lives or ourselves as we do with other aspects of our lives.
Nonetheless, it’s by self-reflection that we can begin to understand ourselves. Furthermore, self-reflection is an essential tool to become the person we want to be. Whether we are looking to make small or significant changes in our life, the journey will always start with reflection.
Why is it important to self-reflect?
Due to the fast-moving world we live in, it can be challenging to find the time to stop and consider what is going on with us. Nonetheless, taking time to self-reflect has many benefits:
We can gain perspective. It gives us a better understanding of the why. For example, why are we reacting in a specific way, or why we’re not yet where we want to be.
It’s, therefore, the first step towards change. To use an example, when we start a new job, we don’t just start by making changes. First, we spend some time observing and analysing our environment before we start altering it.
It’s the beginning of growth. Self-reflection promotes our own learning and development. Because it is centred on us, we stop focusing on external situations and instead focus on the internal ones, which we can change.
Where to start with self-reflection?
We can self-reflect at many different times and areas of our lives, on our past or our present. We can also reflect on work, personal life, or even a specific area that is relevant to us.
If you are unsure which area needs work or want to start with the wholesome approach to self-reflection, you can use “The wheel of life”.
The wheel of life is an easy to use tool that will give you a visual representation of every aspect of your life.
You can use the categories that are usually associated with it, or you can create your own. The important thing is that you consider how much attention you put into every one of them and evaluate how happy you are with the results.
In addition to this, here are some ten questions that we, at Optimist Performance, feel can help anyone start on their self-reflection journey (Woronko):
- Am I using my time wisely?
- Am I taking anything for granted?
- Am I employing a healthy perspective?
- Am I living true to myself?
- Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day?
- Am I thinking negative thoughts before I fall asleep?
- Am I putting enough effort into my relationships?
- Am I taking care of myself physically?
- Am I letting matters that are out of my control bring stress into my life?
- Am I achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself?
The Optimists Questions
To complement this further, these are some of the questions that we ask ourselves when we work on our self-reflection (Check out our post about how to use questions to empower yourself and your team):
- What’s your “why”? What are your drivers?
- Are you happy with your present situation?
- What would you like to change?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What would you like to improve about yourself?
- What’s most important to you?
- Are you living according to your values?
- Are you where you would like to be?
- What are the things you’re grateful for in your life?
- What makes you happy?
The Optimists Tips for self-reflection:
There are many questions, activities and tools we can use to self-reflect, but the most important thing is that we create the habit of self-reflection. Here are some tips our team of optimists use daily:
Schedule time for self-reflection
Due to our busy schedules, it can be challenging to find time to ask these questions. So, it’s essential that you plan and commit to it.
If you find it difficult to create a plan by yourself and be accountable for it, you can always get extra help. Learn more about our executive coaching programmes if you want more insight.
Prepare for self-reflection
It’s important to be in the right state of mind to self-reflect. You can practice meditation or mindfulness (stay tuned, we will talk more about mindfulness in our next article).
You can also use any activity that helps you be more present and self-aware. For example, you can go for a walk by yourself, use exercise, or even sit in your favourite spot and just take time for yourself.
(Check out our article “Review & Reflect to set you up for success” here).
Live by an “Attitude of gratitude”
As Optimists, we like to think every day about all the good things we have in our lives and that we are grateful for. We use around five minutes every morning to think about what we are thankful for that day, and it has a great impact on our mindset.
You can do this while you have your coffee in the morning or even before you get out of bed.
(Read more about the power of gratitude here).
Establish goals for yourself
Whatever it is you want to achieve, it’s crucial that you set goals in order to measure your success. Having goals will also help you create greater accountability for your actions, and give you a clearer picture of your next steps.
Create a habit of self-reflection within your team
At Optimist Performance, we have one-on-one conversations every one or two weeks to reflect on what we are doing, how we feel about it, and how we can improve in the future (Check out our post about how to use questions to empower yourself and your team).
The Optimist view…
As Optimists, we believe that “it’s always a good time”. Whilst there are always going to be other things on our to-do lists, we must prioritise ourselves.
At Optimist Performance, we help people in their journey of self-reflection. Our executive coaching programmes are tailored to the individual needs to help them maximise their strengths, achieve their full potential and accomplish their goals.
Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you on your journey to become the best version of yourself.