A Time To Reflect

The ability to reflect on your experiences is a key ingredient for success. I have been observing our 5 year old boy’s learning abilities. He is very artistic and is always drawing stuff and building models. He likes to come and share with me his “works of art” To challenge his thinking and help him grow I always ask him to reflect on his “work” and tell me the story. Each time I ask him to reflect, he will self correct his work, add interesting detail and come up with fascinating abstract artistic creations. The “reflecting” helps him think possibilities and get a better grip on his “work”
In learning and development psychology, reflecting is based on concept of meta cognition or metacognitive ability. Meta cognitive ability is the skill to adjust to suit changing demands and contexts. In organisations the process of strategic planning and review is a “reflecting process” This process can also apply to your life. I would like to share a few insights about the importance of reflecting.
Get Your Bearings Right
Is there strategic alignment between your purpose, goals and your current actions? Although at the beginning of the year, you set clear goals, at this time of year, you might now be lost in the clouds of details of execution. It’s time to take a step back, reflect and see if you are still on course. You might be busy going in the wrong direction. Sometimes the young boy, who sets out to draw a car, ends up drawing a meaningless piece of art, if he doesn’t reflect on his original intention.
Check Your Tool and Skills Set
Is your execution methodology aligned to your strategy? When organisations do not do well, they first check strategic alignment. If the strategy is right, they then reflect on their processes and methodologies. A great strategy will not produce the right results if the execution methodology is wrong. The young boy uses pencil, colours, ink and oil pastels for drawing. If he uses oil pastels where he is supposed to use pencil, the result is a bad “drawing” The same goes if he decides to use black ink to colour tree leaves.
The reason why you might not experience the results you want is because your execution methodology might not be the right one for what you want to achieve. If the tool is not the right one for the job, you will soon develop frustration, and you need to put extra effort. Change your tools and skill set to ensure goal alignment.
Deal With Distracting Stimuli
The pursuit of your goals is not always a smooth ride. You may encounter detours, obstacles and distractions along the way. This is perfectly normal. The important thing is how you respond. You cannot change what happens to you or the context of your goals, but you can determine how you respond. A time to reflect like this is a time to identify these distractions and position your responses. Reflecting gives you an opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Change Your Course
Is the strategy for pursuing your life purpose the right one in the first place? Let me share with you a story about French water company, Vivendi. In 2002, it made history by becoming the first European company to make a loss of 23.3 billion Euros. The reason was very simple – what on earth was a water company doing in telecoms? They had been lured into telecoms during the 90s telecom boom. This was a wrong strategy.
Changing course might mean leaving that job, profession, industry and pursuing something in line with your strengths.
At the beginning of the year I shared about the importance of Operating in Your Strengths Zone. If you are busy pursuing something that is not in line with your strengths and wiring, you may need to reflect and change course. The young boy who draws, still battles to draw 3 dimension drawings, and what’s best is for him to stick to single dimension drawings for now. You build your strategy around your strengths.
As you reflect, I encourage you to get a grip on your purpose, refuel your motivation tank, fire up your striving instincts and continue with your special assignment to this generation. Do not wait until the end of the year to reflect – that’s the work of under takers – the year will be dead! Reflecting now is being a good caretaker of your goals. You can prune, irrigate and fertilise your goals now.
Quote Of The Week
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.- Mark Twain

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