Ever wondered what the most accomplished individuals attribute much of their success to?
In addition to having the right mindset, it turns out that the world’s most successful people have a hidden habit in common. Reflection.
Before you write off sitting and thinking as a waste of time, consider this.
Every day there is wisdom available to us in the observations we make, the paths we choose, and in the things that do and don’t work out as planned. The most successful people are intentional about learning from each of these “teachers.”
Without reflection, we are missing all that our lives and experiences can teach us, making it easy to fall into the same mistakes.
Reflection is what helps us to avoid that so, for example, you truly end up with five years of valuable experience, instead of one year of experience repeated five times.
Ready to figure out how it can make you wiser, smarter, and more successful? Here are three simple steps to help you get the benefits from reflection.
Step 1: Align it with calendar intervals (i.e., quarterly, semi-annual, annual).
Reflection is especially essential when we are about to turn the page on a new chapter of our personal or professional lives. Life moves quickly, and if we wait too long before reflecting on our progress or experiences, the details easily evaporate and the lessons are harder to recall or even lost. Using the periodic checkpoints within the calendar year can provide structure and accountability for your progress and reflection. This will set you up for success in the coming months or the year ahead.
Tip #1: Make it multi-faceted.
To some people, sitting alone with your thoughts can sound like an uninviting or overwhelming task, and if you don’t know where to start, it’s easy not to start at all. We like to make it a much more fun and engaging process by using reflection guides that are multi-faceted, addressing all aspects of our life/business, to guide you through the process step by step and tap into the various styles of learning and processing information.
Tip #2: Remember, don’t be afraid of the tough questions!
Getting honest with yourself about your results and responses can often provide the most powerful and valuable insight.
Step 2: Reflect after significant events, projects, or accomplishments.
One of the best times to practice reflection is after an important project, a significant event, or an accomplishment. Before moving on to what’s next on the list, make time to reflect on what went well, what you want to improve, and what you learned from the experience.
Tip #1: Make time to celebrate.
Celebration is a necessary part of life, both personally and professionally. When we get so focused on the destination, we can miss the joy in the journey, which is what actually makes up the majority of our life. Don’t be shy! You worked hard for this and totally earned the accolades!
Tip #2: Turn failures into feedback.
One of the reasons that people avoid reflection is because they are afraid of confronting mistakes and mishaps. Look, perfection is a futile pursuit, and sometimes we can actually learn more from what didn’t go well! But, we can’t fix what we’re not willing to face, so, choose to see failures as feedback, and you’ll turn them into stepping stones towards bigger and better things.
Step 3: Turn it into a daily habit
Within each day there are opportunities, lessons, observations, and insightful feedback.
Tip #1: Choose a specific time.
We love practicing reflection each night using a guided journal before falling asleep so that we can gain the wisdom from each day’s experiences. This helps us to end every day on a good note and find the value in every situation, no matter how it went or what kind of day you had. If there is a lesson you can pull from it, then you’ve gained! Making it part of our evening routine ensures that we never miss it!
Tip #2: Let it flow with pen and paper; make it tactile.
Writing down our thoughts and reflection allows us to fully process. Plus, it’s good to have your insights all in one place to revisit at a later point in time so you can be reminded of what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown.
Ready… set… REFLECT! Your smartest, wisest, most successful self awaits you!
Image: Courtesy of Candice Henry and Lauren Henry
About the authors: Candice Henry and Lauren Henry are success and influence strategists for the next generation of leaders and co-founders of Aretios. When these sisters aren’t in the classroom teaching leadership and personal development as university professors, you’ll find this dynamic duo traveling the world, living out their dreams, and teaching other young professionals how to do the same! Ready to start living your best life? They’ll help you close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Connect with Candice and Lauren at aretios.com and @aretiosofficial.
Featured image: Color Joy Stock