6 Points of Reflection Before You Plan Forward
If you don’t take time to reflect what has brought your current success, you risk wasting lots of time and energy aiming for some future success that’s simply not right for you.
Imagine a fishing trawler out at sea. A storm is approaching. The captain decides to take shelter at the closest port instead of risking his crew and catch by sailing home through the storm.
He calls into the harbour master. He asks for the coordinates. He sets a course and away he goes.
But what if he had his starting coordinates wrong in the first place? Where would he end up? He’d run ashore in the wrong spot, unable to disembark, or he’d be sailing around the seas indefinitely.
You’re no different. If you don’t stop to evaluate what your starting point A is, then you run the risk of never reaching your point B.
Here are the points of reflection.
Know where you are today, and why, before you plan ahead:
- Balance – assess how balanced your approach to life is. Where has your focus been recently? What has been compromised? What’s not been a priority?
- Values – your personal values define who you are. If you’re ignoring or conflicting them, you’ll feel out of sync and frustrated with yourself.
- Strengths – what energises you the most when working? Engage your key strengths more to excel and be at your best.
- Skills – what soft and technical skills are you keen to develop? And for what reasons?
- Environment – what are you surrounded by? If you’re a product of your environment, are you making things easier or harder for yourself?
- Inner Circle – assess who is going to help you achieve all that you want and who is going to hold you back.
Time and time again I see leaders putting the head down and working harder for longer hours, expecting the same of their team. They’ve the best of intentions. Yet they feel despondent when the results they’re responsible for aren’t what they seek.
Get to know yourself a bit better. Take time for reflection. It’s smart, not soft, to do so. Get your thoughts out of your head. Let your mind see them on a piece of paper in front of you.
I am sharing an exercise called Know Your Current Reality. It’s the ultimate reflection tool.
It is an important visual exercise. Therefore, it’s best for you to download it. Here is the link:
>>>> Click Here to Download the PDF Exercise <<<<
It helps take a snapshot of your life as you know it today. It’s incredibly valuable in helping you identify what meaningful goals you want to prioritise now. The ones in life that matter most.
Whilst I have some exercises that help in this regard, they’re always followed up within a 1-2-1 coaching session. There’s no point in trying to delve into something so important and personal outside of a coaching relationship.
As a start, here are a few questions always worth considering:
- What drives you at work?
- What do you stand for in life? What is non-negotiable for you?
- What traits do you abhor in others? Why?
- What characteristics and qualities do you admire in others? Why?
Flesh out your answers with as much evidence from your life as you can. Let your mind see its own thoughts on paper. Bring them to life. What experiences, events and relationships can you point to in your answers?
Strengths & Skills
Let’s bundle these together without confusing them. What’s the difference between a strength and a skill?
Skills can be acquired, they’re competencies that you learn. They can be technical, such as a role or industry-specific skill. Or they can be soft like your ability to leverage your market intelligence and experience, otherwise known as communication skills.
Your strengths are those work-related activities and qualities unique to you, that you’re naturally energised by.
You’re probably skilled where you’re strong. But you’re not necessarily energised by tasks that you’re skilled at.
Your peak performance is sourced when you leverage your unique strengths, allied to the skills you’ve developed and the experience you’ve gained, in pursuit of a meaningful goal.
Consider these questions:
- Where do you think your strengths lie?
- How have you been leveraging them recently?
- How can you use your strengths more intelligently going forward?
Make a list of your hard and soft skills. Which of your hard and soft skills will you still use in an elevated position in a year’s time?
You’ve now covered 4 of the 6 Points of Reflection – Balance, Values, Strengths and Skills. The 5th and 6th are your Environment and your Inner Circle.
How are your physical surroundings stretching or limiting you?
For example, take a close look at your office environment.
- How does it make you feel?
- What feelings and behaviours would your business ideally like to evoke when people walk in the door?
- Is this where you want to be?
- What changes to the workplace would help you perform better?
- How can you freshen things up?
Is it a dreary, grey, old, carpet-tiled, coffin-esque space with strip-lighting? If so, you’ll struggle to attract or retain young, dynamic and ambitious talent. It will have a negative effect on everyone’s energy levels.
There are few things more important in life than surrounding yourself with people who are fillers instead of drillers.
Imagine your performance and/or greater success in life is a bucket. Who helps you top it up? Who’s putting holes in it?
The latter make you work twice as hard with no reward. What a waste of time.
I ask my clients to create their own Personal Board of Directors. Their Board may have a couple of industry experts or mentors. I’m usually on it as their coach and general sounding board. Then for some, there’s a personal trainer.
For others, there’s a yogi, old boss, a parent – whoever is going to help you accelerate your own success in the direction that matters most to you. Who is on your Personal Board of Directors?
Don’t expect to live a fulfilled life by chance. And don’t expect to perform at your best if you’re not fulfilled. Reflect and see what works best for you and why.
Because you can forget about inspiring others to perform beyond their current results unless they see the real you. They won’t see any authenticity in you if you don’t see it in yourself. This is at the heart of successful leadership today.
The 6 Points of Reflection help you assess where you are today. They give you a very clear sense of self. Answer the questions in this article and you’ll develop a platform from which you can launch towards a more meaningful future success. One that’s right and fit for you.
About the Author Jasper Walshe
I coach leaders, executives, teams and groups of millennials in highly skilled professions to strengthen their leadership skills, engagement and performance. I create bespoke coaching programmes to help busy, fee-earning professionals focus on their best approach to navigating the challenges and opportunities that change brings on a daily basis.