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Reflecting on life and work events, no matter how big or small, is a very powerful tool for developing yourself both personally and professionally. As American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, John Dewey once stated:
“We do not learn from experience–we learn from reflecting on the experience.”
Reflecting helps you strategically navigate through situations while also providing opportunities for clarity, learning, and increased wisdom. Additionally, reflection leads to a deeper understanding of your unique worldview.
Three Benefits of Reflection:
Reflection leads to greater success – Reflection provides you (or your team) with an opportunity to derive meaning out of the work experience. This not only creates a more active learning experience, it also enables more effective development outcomes moving forward. A simple question, for example, at the end of team meetings, “What can we do better next time?” can instill continuous improvement actions for your team. Give it a try.
Reflection empowers you to take charge of your own development – Taking inventory of your accomplishments, insights, and areas of opportunity empowers you to focus on your personal and professional development process (not just the tactics). A favorite coaching tool of mine is the “Journey Line.” Chart out your professional “life line” with all it’s ups and downs. What are the patterns you see, both for the high points and the low points? What does your journey tell you about yourself?
Reflection builds stronger connections between experiences – Learning by thinking is just as important as learning by doing. This is the rewarding process of making connections between previous experiences and then using those connections to design the best path forward. Again, back to your Journey Line, where were you energized by your work? Where were you not? Why? What does this tell you about your next possible career move?
Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. This “meaning making” is crucial to our ongoing growth and development.
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