Let’s think about our days. They are made up of meetings, making phone calls, answering phone calls, checking voicemails, reading emails, responding to emails, texting, updating all our social media sites, attending events, blah, blah, blah.

When was the last time you stopped…paused… and reflected on your progress?

I’m reminded of Stephen Covey’s work and his concept of Quadrant II thinking in his book “First Things First.” He teaches that when we find ourselves too busy to spend time planning and reflecting, that is precisely when we need to do it most. It will help us relieve some of the anxiety in our daily lives, but more importantly, it will help us to decide what is important to us and what conscious and intentional actions we must take next.

Authors Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal in “A Bias for Action” spent ten years observing the behaviors of managers in nearly a dozen large corporations. They concluded that “a mere 10 percent of the managers we
observed spent their time in a committed, purposeful and reflective manner,” while the other 90 percent “squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities,” a state they labeled “Active Non-Action.”

The 10 percent of the managers who took time to reflect were more successful at engaging their teams, meeting their goals and rejuvenating themselves. I also find that when leaders slow down, they are able to be reminded of their vision and value, re-engage with their intentions, and plan and act from this renewal of vision and the bigger picture.

So, here are some pointers on reflection:
  • Take the time to reflect upon a situation in relation to your intentions.
  • Begin your day with a 10-minute meeting with yourself in which you reflect on what is important to achieve that day.
  • Remind yourself of your vision.
  • Respond to all the communication noise during specific times during the day. Set the expectations.
  • Disengage from your high-level activities for at least 10 minutes during the day. This simple act will provide you with the mental space you need in the middle of your day.
  • Close each day with a celebratory reflection and reflect on the good things you’ve accomplished.

The more you take the time to reflect, the easier it will become for you to see the next step you need to take. Step into leading and play a bigger game in your life. Don’t wait, model leadership. The world needs us to do this.

By Pat Obuchowski

You can read this article in our Summer issue

Tagged in: