I have been reflecting on reflection. As I get older, I get more cognitive in how I navigate the world, and I have lost much of my youthful spontaneity and emotional guidance. I am unsure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, thus the practice of reflection. Even more interesting, as I ponder my existential belly button, a second thought emerges as I reflect on the process of reflection. I am not the meditation guru, nor am I a person to do regular practice of anything aside from going to bed and night and getting up in the morning. Yet, I find myself increasingly sitting in silence and trying to listen.
Even as I write this, I question the validity of this type of approach to self-improvement. My mind wanders as I wrestle with the foolishness that I feel for a few minutes. Yet, after the first 5 minutes, I am surprised by how much better I feel. I then ponder the idea of reflection even more and consider why this simple little practice even works at all. And then I do it again the next morning and every morning after that. I then remember that teaching from days past that I will change if I do something for 30 days. So, I am in the process of reflecting on reflecting and checking to see if I am changing.
Learning to Listen
Listening is a complicated activity where you have to weed through fears, ideas, beliefs, and misunderstandings to get to where you can find the answers you need. It takes concentration, practice, and diligence. After the first few days, you will begin to hear differently. I am on day ten, and I am still struggling to listen well. The “squirrel” syndrome challenges me, and I am easily distracted by the ideas and thoughts running around my brain.
Listening to Learn
Listening for the unspoken is truly a gift, and again, with practice, you can listen with clarity and purpose. I am listening to determine a different approach. I have spent the past few days trying to understand what I am supposed to be learning. Sitcoms, Facebook posts, and our current obsession with the ongoing Twitter fest muddle my thinking, and the noise is relentless. So silencing the cacophony is a challenge for me. I think I am getting better, but practicing is the only way.
All of this is important as professionals because we make decisions, choices and provide guidance all day. We are bombarded with information about budgets, timelines, processes, and of course, the ever-present and ongoing crisis that emerges every time we step outside our front doors. We must consider our actions and behaviors carefully. One of the best strategies for making this happen is reflecting and learning through this reflective work. In my coaching work, I utilize a learning theory called “Reflection in Action,” which suggests that ongoing and persistent reflection can assist in self-improvement. Again, practice and patience can help you embrace your capacity to reflect on your work.