The Importance of Reflection

The holiday season is a time of thanks.  You show your thankfulness to others by giving gifts and sharing your time over a holiday meal.  Though not as apparent, it is also a time for reflection.  A time to think about where you came from and what you’ve accomplished over the course of the year.  How you have treated others and, even, how you performed at work.  Reflection is vital to the health of an individual, organization, or business.  If you don’t take time to think about how you’ve done, how can you progress?

I reflect regularly - each Friday, in fact.  There are four questions I ask myself regarding life inside and outside of work:

What went well this week?

This is the most obvious way to reflect.  This question is asked to tease out the positives for the week.  If I had a good exchange with a colleague at work, I document it so I can remember how it went and why it went well.  I can then emulate this for the future.

How can you improve for next week?

Charting failures, shortcomings, or missteps is important for the health of an individual.  By knowing and understanding where you have made a mistake, you can think about the mistake and then change you actions how you see fit for the future.

How are you going to challenge yourself next week?

It is easy to go through the motions each week, doing the status quo.  But that’s no fun!  I set to challenge myself each week in some way.  It does not need to be a large challenge, such as run 30 miles.  The challenges I set out are typically small: say “like” less in conversations or no screens during work meetings.  These help me push my comfort zone.

How was the balance of life and work this week?

I’m a huge proponent of work life blend.  I want to make sure the scales don’t tip too far in favor of work or life.  Asking this question allows me to reel myself back in and understand where I stand so I can continue to focus on the proper areas. 

These questions help me take a step back from the day to day.  It is so easy to get caught up in a routine and never think about what you’ve done or haven’t done in a day, week, month, or year.  Having the ability to reflect and critically think and question your actions will help you improve on a daily basis.

Reflecting every Friday works for me, but it may not work for you.  It may be a daily activity, or it may be monthly.  The cadence of reflection needs to fit into your life.  Regardless of the frequency of reflection, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions so you can improve yourself and your life.

——

CSU will be taking a break for a few weeks, returning Thursday, January 5 with all new content.  With this being the close of 2016, we reflected on our year (we omitted the last question, as it is not relevant):

What went well this year? Producing content regularly that your readers connected with.  We got great responses on a lot of our content: “I needed this!” or “Great post!”  The feedback and affirmation from our readers is what keeps us going.

How can you improve for next year? Get closer to the end reader.  We want to better understand who are readers are and what they are concerned with in terms of the working world.  We also want to create more engaging content to drive a conversation between us and our readers.  CSU is a two way street, so we need to do a better job at facilitating conversations.

How are you going to challenge yourself next year? To create content that pushes the limits of thinking and avoid the “easy” topics and opinions.  We want to push the envelope with the topics we cover to provoke more thought and drive questions in our readers.  By doing this, we’ll be able to have stronger content for you as a reader and drive additional conversations.

——

Thank you for your readership in 2016!  It has been a great adventure thus far and we are looking forward to going strong into the new year!

Cheers to 2017!

- CSU