We all need to take action in our lives. Personal Development Leaders are constantly telling us to take 'Massive Action' for instance and to work 'our f#@king faces off' which I absolutely agree with. Time is of the essence and we need to use it wisely. Wasting time on tasks that don't serve us or help us to live up to our purpose can feel defeating and we should try to avoid these activities if possible. But what about actually taking time out to reflect? Is this bad? Admittedly, it is not something I make time to do that often.
I am currently reading and working through the 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth by John C. Maxwell and am currently studying Laws 3 and 4. They are specifically, the Law of the Mirror and the Law of Reflection. In particular it is the Law of Reflection that I am struck by and it has got me thinking about how I could execute this law in my life. John C. Maxwell explains that every period of action should be accompanied by a period of reflection. Some time, taken out, to affirm how a situation went and what can be learnt and gained from the experience. Action in, reflection out.
In today's fast paced, every changing world, have you made time to reflect? I certainly haven't but I would like to make it a more regular habit. I like to be busy and between my family, my various engagements as a Trainer and Personal Developer, being a Toastmaster and singing at church, I often find my time is spread thin. I really enjoy all the activities I do, but this chapter of the book has allowed me to realise that perhaps I am not taking the time to learn the lessons that are on offer from all my activities. While constantly striving for action and filling my days with activity, perhaps some time each day and week is necessary and essential to my future growth?
John Maxwell in his chapter on reflection gives a series of questions that can be used to begin a moment of reflection. Questions such as, 'What am I doing daily to grow?', 'Do I need to forgive someone in my life who needs to be given grace?' And 'What were the potential learning moments I experienced today, and did I seize them?'
These are really good questions and often we don't go deep enough to answer them. These questions address not only our actions, but our interactions with those around us. Our outer world and our inner world.
I especially like the questions around what were the moments I missed, where I could take on some learning and help myself grow. It is only when we look over our days and weeks, months, years and even chapters of our lives, that we are able to see patterns, explore ideas and then from this reflection, find new ways to take action. This is really a personal exercise.
I am not proposing that this reflection should become a moment for wallowing in self-pity but it is a time to be honest. Watch out for your negative self-talk though, and like Chapter 3 of John Maxwell's book advises, take responsibility for your actions and your part in certain situations.
Starting this week, I am going to find at least some part of my week to take myself out for a coffee, to go to a park and sit with myself or even go for a leisurely solo bike ride. Without distractions, in a quiet way, where I can reflect, take stock of my time, relationships and actions and see where I can improve, forgive, take a different path or make a different decision. Like all the 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth, we only get out what we put in. John Maxwell says to write out of the questions and write our the answers which might also be new to you.
I hope you might be able to do so as well and that it helps you in your life! We can only try! Perhaps it opens up a whole new world of action for you!
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.