May 13, 2019

Learning self-reflection

Remember the nursery rhyme – mirror mirror on the wall…. Well the trouble is that most of us don’t see our true reflection but rather our experience is like looking at a mirror fogged by the shower. We see some shape but not the true person. Unless you realise this, you will think the foggy shape is you.

Self-reflection is not just navel-gazing. It goes beyond what we think about our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors to why we respond the way we do.

Matt Bloom says… “Self-reflectivity is
not ruminating about ourselves,
working each thought or feeling or
action into a knotty, messy ball of
hyper self-criticism. Self-reflectivity
strikes another Goldilocks place of
noticing what is going on inside
and around us, and what role we
have played in those goings-on.” Bloom pg 18 white paper

It produces great dividends.

Self-reflection is a powerful tool that will greatly pay for itself. The time given to this increases your sense of well-being and also increases your effectiveness.

Some people are great at self-reflection but most are not. Like most people, I had to learn how to do this. If it’s something that you need to grow in then here are some pointers to help you to do just that.

Mentors focus and questions build our self-reflection

My key catalyst for learning self-reflection was a mentor who, every couple of months, asked key questions about how I was doing. He asked questions regarding the quality of my relationship with God, the health of my key relationships, asked how my emotional tank was that day. Then he enquired regarding my sustainabilites and lastly my vulnerabilities.

The key benefit of a trusted mentoring relationship is that it assists us to see what we don’t see. Everyone has blind spots. Further, a mentor’s questions help us to explore what’s happening deeper.

Who asks you how you are doing and expects a transparent answer?

The speed of our culture counters a reflective life. Self-reflection is built by deliberately allocating times for it. Each week I pause on Mondays to self-reflect. What worked, what didn’t work? What impact did I have and how could that be enhanced?

My big tip – schedule weekly time for self-reflection. Extra bonus – At the end of your day, it’s a good question to reflect on the day and be able to affirm that you did well today.

Another great practice is when scheduling time for a conference, schedule extra time on the return for self-reflection before the avalanche of work, emails, meetings and phone calls pile upon you.

Last week, a few of our team went to a conference called ‘Presence’. The speakers were awesome, the whole experience so impacting, and catching up with friends from around the world was uplifting. However, the highlight for me was the day after the conference when our team gathered with prepared answers to the following: where have you seen God at work this week? And what is He asking you to do? Answering the questions requires self-reflection. Sharing your answers with others helps their self-reflection and is so encouraging. Give it a try. The experience of a conference is greatly compounded when people ponder what’s happening and together affirm what’s next.

Happy self-reflecting.

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