Recently, I was sitting and reflecting on my year that has been. As I reflected on each of the different events and experiences in my personal and business life that I’ve had this year, each brought a smile to my face. Some were amazing, some were horrible, some tested my strength and character, some tested my patience and many tested my skills, but each has come with its own set of learnings that I treasure. As the great Mark Twain once said, “Never regret anything that made you smile”. And I don’t. Because even when I’m reflecting on the, let’s call them ‘character building’ situations, I can smile because I proved to myself in those moments who I am and what I am capable of.
As business owners and leaders we face many challenges, for some, it’s focus, for others its organisation, for some its understanding finances, and for others, its understanding that the results we get in business are in direct proportion to our personal growth. Our businesses can only ever grow as much as we do, therefore, it is essential that we commit to knowing ourselves and spending time growing ourselves. Whatever we haven’t worked through in our personal lives will show up in our business life tenfold.
To overcome the inevitable frustrations we face as we continue to learn and grow, we need to remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles. Therefore it stands to reason that reflecting on the results you have achieved this year is an important part of your personal growth.
I encourage you to do some of your own reflecting over the holidays, it helps you to further develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carrying on doing things as you have always done them (which really is not effective at all). It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a more efficient and effective way of doing things in the future.
In any role, at home or at work, reflection is an important part of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish was less than average and didn’t quite work out the first time, would you? You would adjust the recipe accordingly or find a new one (hopefully a much better one).
Looking back on the year is not about beating yourself up and seeing what you need to do better, rather it’s a tool to look back and honour your achievements. To take a moment to acknowledge yourself and to give yourself the massive high five that you deserve.
As you reflect on the past year, if negative thoughts start to creep in, it’s OK to sit with them for a moment, but then bring your attention back to the positive. Remember to be gentle with yourself!
By being self-aware and reflective you are better able to navigate your life allowing you to choose the actions, people, jobs, business and environments that leave you feeling fulfilled, content and thriving.
Reflection is a powerful skill to have. But for many, carving reflection time into the schedule can be way down on the priorities. The achievement of goals and lists tends to take the top spots, the quick wins that make us feel good and keeps us motivated. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but having a clear vision of the future is necessary. The achievement of your vision can be greater (and quicker) if you combine it with reflection.
When we choose not to reflect on our lives, essentially we are choosing not to take the time to invest in ourselves. And YOU should always be your biggest investment. You can’t give what you don’t have, so invest in yourself! Many of the worlds greatest leaders have spent time in self-reflection; from Socrates to Abraham Lincoln to Richard Branson. All acknowledging that this is an important piece of their fulfillment and success.
So, finish the year by acknowledging your success and what you have achieved, you are awesome in all that you are and all that you do. Always remember “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh.
Thank you for all of your support throughout 2017. I hope Santa is kind to you all xo