Seriously. When is the last time you etched 15 to 30 minutes out of your busy schedule to sit down, relax, and reflect? This IS the season for giving & receiving, celebrating and reflecting — reflecting on the good, bad and the ugly of 2013, right? Unfortunately many of us find that we are too busy with the daily grind that we don’t take time out of our busy schedules to reflect…and learn.
Reflection is a key element of learning. Reflection enables us to evaluate experience, learn from mistakes, repeat successes, revise, and plan again. In order to improve our lives and our businesses, it’s critical to spend some time reflecting on past experiences so that we learn by becoming more focused on what we need to start, stop and continue into the future.
We recently shared an article via our social media platforms that spoke about taking time to relax — to stop thinking — because that is when most of our great ideas come to us. It is this quiet time that allows us to truly reflect on the past, learn from it, versus spending time actively engaged in frantically searching for the answers to “what’s next?’ or “where do I go from here?”
This is actually great news, right? Relax…and good things will come to you. Unfortunately most of us are not ok with that philosophy. We’ve been taught to take action, make things happen…just do something. Don’t just sit around and think things will land in your lap. Don’t we all wish it were that easy? Hmmm. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is merit to this, but it’s all about striking a balance.
As a business coach, I stress to my clients that they put placeholders into their schedules for strategic planning. And most of my clients, when they hear me say this for the first time, look at me confused, with a blank stare. “But I thought you wanted me to take action and create some results?” I politely reply with, “How do you know what to take action on if you haven’t spent time reflecting so that you know what to strategically plan for in the future?”
And this is not only true for business, but for individuals also. How can you know where you’re going if you don’t spend time reflecting on where you’ve been? Those past experiences, good and bad, will direct and redirect you as you’re on your path to reach your goals…your objectives.
Like people who make New Year’s Resolutions, businesses should be spending time reflecting over the course of 2013 and establishing their New Year’s Resolutions for their businesses through reflection and strategic planning. Individuals and businesses who set aside time for reflecting and learning from past events are much more enabled to pave a clear, successful path ahead.
Seriously. How can you know where you’re going if you haven’t spent the time reflecting and preparing? Do you set out on a road trip aimlessly? Do you head to the airport without knowing where you’re going? Of course not. You take the time to reflect on what you need in order to make the trip successful.
Take the time to reflect on what worked for you (and your business) over the past year and thencreate a plan…a way ahead for 2014. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you gain, how clear the way ahead becomes, if you, in earnest, find the time to relax…Reflect…learn…plan…do. (You’ll see more on taking action (doing) in next week’s blog.)
Are you taking time to reflect? How do you incorporate time for reflection? How has reflection helped you? Your business?