LEADING IN UNCERTAINTY: LEVERAGING THE POWER OF REFLECTION
The COVID lockdown has created numerous challenges for leaders to overcome, but it’s also been a source of insight and epiphany for many. The personal and professional gravity of the situation, combined with an altered working environment, has led many to reflect on some pretty big questions; “How truly happy was I with life before COVID?” “What assumptions did I make, that no longer hold true?” “What aspects of my life will I change when we’re through this?” After many such conversations, I wrote a blog on this called “What to start, stop and continue post-COVID,” which you can read here.
We are now entering a kind of interim phase. On the one hand, we are still dealing with COVID in our communities. On the other hand, we have started returning, albeit slowly, to our previous lives. The risk, of course, is that our insights, epiphanies and new found clarity could quickly fall by the wayside. If we’re not mindful, before we know it, we could be right back where we were before COVID.
The question is; how do we resist the pull of familiarity, and maintain a focus on what is most important? One important answer is to leverage the power of reflection.
COVID forced us to examine our lives in a way that many of us seldom do, but we don’t need to wait for another crisis to reflect on what matters most to us, personally and professionally. We can make the process of reflection a habit.
If taking time out of your busy life to stop and reflect feels like a luxury, then you probably need it more than most. Done well, reflection is a force multiplier; it enables self-awareness and self-regulation, it supports learning and insight, it’s a precursor to creativity and innovation, and it encourages a heightened sense of purpose and meaning. Perhaps most importantly, it helps us to implement and embed the changes we seek to make.
Assuming you have already done some deep reflection on your purpose, what you value and don’t value, what your goals and priorities are, and who is most important to you, then the following five reflection questions will help you follow through. I recommend scheduling 15 minutes for reflection on these questions every week, but you could even do this just once a month and it will likely have a profound impact on your life.
- How purposeful have I felt this past week? Why? What is the one thing I could do to be (even) more purposeful next week?
- What have I prioritized in the past week? Why? What is the one thing I could do to align (even) more closely with my values next week?
- What did I achieve this past week? Why? What is the one thing I must achieve next week?
- Who was most important this past week? Why? If I’m to align with my purpose, values and goals, who must be most important next week?
- What did I learn this week? How could I share or integrate that learning into my behavior/systems/practices next week?
You can also conduct this regular reflection ritual with your team, or even your family. Simply substitute “we/our” for “I/my”.
I hope this blog will help you to leverage the power of reflection for a more purposeful, meaningful and happy life, at work and at home.
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