Want value? Add weekly reflections to your routine!
Let's face it. When we first come across a novel concept or new idea we immediately come up with more than a few reasons to reject it. We put on our defensive shield wall if you will. Our protective armor. This happened to me several years ago when I first came across the leadership development technique of conducting a weekly reflection. I still remember the session at the Midwest Leadership Institute. David Limardi introduced this concept to the class. It immediately drew my interest and I was resolved to begin this new technique to aid me during my leadership journey.
That lasted about two months. Life caught up with me and this positive habit did not materialize. Fast forward several years later and this worthwhile leadership development technique continued to be emphasized by other leadership scholars. One of my leadership mentors, John Maxwell (through books only), continued to hammer this point home. It was like, Okay! I hear you! Isn't it amazing how when you know you should do something, but your armor prevents you from making a change or truly assimilating a new habit?
Why not do it? It's not hard. Oh, how do I begin? Is there a better way? What is the best practice for weekly reflections? I need to research it, do more research, and just a little bit more research. Oh, I know, I need the most expensive journal! Oh, don't forget the best precision point pen they make...no! I need a fine tipped pencil to make this work. Wait a minute. Let's do this electronically and save a few trees. Let's face it...these are all just a manifestation of our armor.
So what is the secret to successfully embracing this valuable leadership improvement technique? The primary secret is to simply begin it! That is the hardest thing. Just start it. Here is what I do, some of the following might work for you, but you will need to modify this technique to better fit you. However, please use what you can, follow my mantra: Do it now, and to begin this week:
Set aside one regular day of the week: I do mine on Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee as soon as I wake up. In fact, I did mine this morning prior to publishing this blog.
Make sure you dedicate enough time to complete the exercise: This depends on your thoroughness. My weekly reflections can take 30 minutes to an hour.
Be honest with yourself: This is all about personal accountability. It's your scorecard. What did you do well? Celebrate the win. Where did you fall short? Hold yourself accountable. Commit to improving next week.
Winning: I identify areas that I crushed during the week as a win in my journal.
Continuous Improvement: I identify the areas where I fall short as areas where I need to focus on improving.
Review your calendar: As you complete your reflection, look back at your calendar and think about each thing you did, a project you worked on, a meeting you completed. Where did you win? Where can you improve?
Set Goals for the next week: To get where you are going you need a plan. At the end of your weekly reflections, set goals for the next week. Keep the amount of goals small. Focus on 3 to 5 things you want to work on. Things that are important to your leadership development.
Win the day Scorecard: Daily Review your goals to hold yourself accountable. I call this my win the day approach. If I can accomplish my daily goals, I won the day. If I win the day through the majority of the week, I won the week. If I win the majority of the weeks in a month, I won the month. You get the point.
Be kind to yourself: Don't be too hard on yourself. Have fun with it. Be honest with yourself, but remember we are all just human. We all have flaws. The good Lord knows I have many. Practice some self love here. Leadership is a journey not a destination.
I hope this encourages you to embrace weekly reflections during your leadership journey. This habit has been transformational for me. Take some time to invest in yourself. You, your family, and your team will benefit from the investment.
Do it now! Win the day!