Taking time to reflect is baked into the holiday season like those colorful chewy bits in a fruitcake. Resolutions abound and gym memberships fly off the shelf as we review the passing year and make plans for the coming one. But why limit this educational practice to an end of year frenzy? Reflection is a free, easy, no technology needed method of digesting the present and nourishing plans to thrive in the future.
Learning to reflect is easy and the benefits are immediate. The Kolb Learning Cycle outlines a simple approach. First we do the familiar part; have concrete experiences (let’s call this life). These are happening all the time, but only become educational when we take the next step and pause to consider how things went. What went well? How do we know this? What didn’t go as expected? Why did that happen? Did we make any discoveries? These answers lead to the next step wherein we arrive at conclusions, form new concepts, make plans; basically bring along what we've learned in a conscious way. At that point we can put our learning to the test and magically find ourselves back at the beginning of the cycle immersed in the experience.
But really, why bother? Shouldn’t we be leading with vision, constantly connected and working at warp speed? To some extent sure, but not exclusively. We also need to find a quiet, unplugged moment to consider if what we are doing is producing the results we envision. The blogosphere is full of stories about people waking up one day, throwing everything in the bin and opening something like a custom chopstick shop on Etsy. Instead of that, we can make corrective adjustments along the way when we source our experience. From boardrooms to business schools, using reflection to direct strategy is gaining popularity and providing proof of its value.
Carve out time at either end of the day or week for reflection. Use what you discover to make plans and generate new ideas. Quiet the noise, get clear and digest the raw material of life. Unlike fruitcake, it's great all year long.
Eli Shostak is the ‘Wearer of Many Hats” at Think NewCo. Think NewCo designs and facilitates business retreats, and reflection is an essential part of Think NewCo’s Framework for Focus™. When we get clear and focused, we can truly understand and implement what we learn through reflection. Think NewCo’s program combines a transformational experience with an actionable curriculum. We put the principles of mindfulness and meditation into a practical business context that participants can immediately use in order to optimize effectiveness. To learn more about us, please visit our website or contact Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org.