Have you ever heard of a successful CEO at an established company who spends all their time in the weeds, and micromanages their team members? I don’t think so. In this episode you will learn what reflection is and why it’s so important as a leader. You’ll also learn key tips to help you reflect regularly. So, get out of your head, into your heart and let’s talk about the art of reflection.
Hey, it’s Julie and welcome to the Corporate Yogi podcast.
Today I want to reveal a top habit of all high performers. And I’m warning you now, it’s not what you think it is, and when I explain it, you might feel a bit of resistance. It’s a practice that requires maturity, discipline and planning and most importantly… it will require you to do less and say NO. The habit is the ART OF REFLECTION, and it’s absolutely critical as a conscious leader. Think about it, have you ever heard of a successful CEO at an established company who spends all their time in the weeds, and micromanages their team members? I think not. In a small company or a startup – yes definitely, but not in a major established organization, it just would never happen, bc part of the process of maturing and stepping up is learning how to manage your time and how to balance the time IN the business Vs ON the business. You’ve just gotta learn to zoom out, reflect and see the big picture.
So here’s a look at what you’re going to learn today:
1) First, you’re going to learn what reflection is and why it’s so important
2) In the 2nd segment you’ll learn tips to help you reflect regularly
3) In the 3rd segment I’m going to share a fantastic resource that will jump start your reflection process and make you part of the elite 3% of the population.
4: and in the 4th segment I’ll share some proof points from my clients so you can understand how reflection has helped them get more done.
So get out of your head and into your heart and let’s dive right in shall we.
There are a number of reasons we need to reflect, I’m going to share 3 of them here with you now. The most important of which is that reflection and zooming out to look at the big picture helps us recognize if we’re on track or not. And if we’re not, then we can change course and get back to where we need to be. There is nothing worse than watching someone go down the rabbit hole of a bad idea, and no matter how many signs there are to abort mission and jump to plan b, they stay laser focused on going down that rabbit hole. It is so, hard, to watch. Whereas if they had a steady practice of reflection, they wouldn’t enter that rabbit hole, or they wouldn’t go down as deep. The reflection would force them to see the path they’re on and recognize they’re completely off track from their main objectives
Another benefit of regular reflection is that it helps us be in charge of our own destiny, instead of living by other people’s agenda. It’s too easy for other people to place goals and priorities in our path, which essentially detracts from our ability to accomplish our own predetermined goals. As a leader, you’re going to be inundated with ideas and advice from others. And yes some of the advice may even be valuable. However, you have already set goals and you have to stick with them, and you can’t simply change course every time someone suggests a new idea.
The third reason is that reflection helps to minimize SOS, or Shiny Object Syndrome. When new ideas or new opportunities are presented, we never want to just say YES without thinking it through. Especially when we have limited resources – like time and money, saying yes to a new opportunity would likely mean saying NO to your original plan. And how do we ever gain traction and measure our results if we don’t follow through?
So to recap, there are a number of reasons why we need to have a steady practice of reflection – the top 3 are: it keeps us on track and out of rabbit holes, it keeps us immune to other ideas and distractions and it helps to minimize SOS, shiny object syndrome.
OK now I want to share a few tips on how to reflect
Tip #1 – Pick a regular time and make it non-negotiable in your schedule. The cadence of how often you reflect really depends on you. You may find that once a week is a good cadence, and start to build out reflection time for a 3 hour block on Friday afternoons, with dedicated time where to focus on what is working and what is not. It can be digital with your laptop, or old school with pen and paper. It can be by yourself, or with another person who inspires you and holds you accountable. Or it could be with a group of people you put together, who regularly inspire you. I know some more senior people who find weekly reflection too frequent, so once a month is really good enough for them. The cadence doesn’t really matter, so long as you pick what feels right for you and you’re consistent. And what do you do during this reflection? Well an obvious place to start is to check in on your goals, to see if you’re on track. You can also ask, what is going well, or what is sucking my soul. Where am I stuck? What is holding me back. You can also analyze how you’re spending your time each day and build more habits and behaviours, like batching or time boxing work, restricting how much time you spend on social media, or planning out your day with more structure.
Tip 2 – Be realistic. To say you’re going to reflect for 2 hours every single day might not be realistic and you may be setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic and try to find that right formula for you. You want to be able to look forward to it, when the time comes. You also don’t want to feel stressed out bc there’s things at the office that really need to get done.
Tip 3 – Shift geography and make it a ritual. This is my favourite tip bc it seems so simple yet it so very powerful. When we shift geography we are moving to another location. This can be a different place in your office, a difft room at home or it can be in a public setting, like a restaurant or a coffee shop. With the pandemic nonsense I’ve lost my ability to go to coffee shops, but I used to do that all the time, especially when I needed to zoom out and reflect. Restaurants were always a great venue too, bc they don’t get used much in off-peak hours, so I would book an 8:am meeting, then leave the waiter a big tip and let them know I would just be working at the table for the next few hours. This shifting of geography is really powerful, bc when we change our surroundings, we change the way we think, we change our thought patterns.
And one last tip on reflection. In tip 2 I said that 2 hours of reflection every day might be overkill for you. But, just to contradict myself, I do actually do daily reflection, in two different ways, as I wind down the day and finish with clients I take a minute to review my passion planner and check off everything that did get done and transfer anything into the next day or week as needed. This is reflection, but it literally takes 5 a max of five minutes. Then I also do an evening reflection of journal prompts in bed at night, and that also is quite quick – 5 – 10 minutes max, and includes highlights from the day, what I’m grateful for and what I appreciate. Now these are short moments of reflection that I incorporate. I would never crawl into bed and start wondering if I’m on track for my 5 year plan, no. That’s not what I do. It’s more about short-term gratitude and reflection. So to recap those tips to build your reflection practice, 1 – Pick a regular time and make it non-negotiable, 2 – Be realistic, 3 – Shift geography and the bonus tip: short mini reflections of what happened IN the day are powerful, prevent the Dip and raise positivity.
Today is your lucky day, bc I have created the ultimate tool for reflection. It’s included as a piece of my Goal Setting program, which is something I do annually with all my clients, and this year I have made it available for anyone to access from my website. Did you know that only 3% of adults have clear, written goals. And as a result, they accomplish up to 10 times as much as people who have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want.”? It’s true. I learned this years ago via Brian Tracy and it actually blows my mind. Only 3% of people actually set goals. It makes me wonder, what the heck is everyone else doing?
And of the people who actually do set goals, I’d have to say the biggest mistake people make is that they sit down and start setting goals for the new year without reflecting on their previous goals to see what they actually accomplished. Big mistake. How will you ever master the process of setting goals if you don’t measure your goals. Right? You can’t have goals without accountability. And really, your annual goals should be something you write out daily and check in on at the end of every month. How are you tracking on your goals, are you making the progress you want, or do you need to adopt a different approach. So that is the biggest mistake people make when they set goals, and that is why my goal setting program has an entire section dedicated to reflection, and it is 6 dedicated pages specifically on reflection, including a new feature I added this year called a Personal Report Card, this is where you do a personal check in on about 8 different areas of your life and indicate how satisfied you are with this aspect of your life. We also take time to check in on your Purpose and your Core Values. This is the perfect time to check in on those, before we enter the new year. So if you’re looking to build up your reflection muscle, this is the perfect opportunity to do it, and the program is available for free on my website, head over to thecorporateyogi.com and visit the Resources page, where you’ll be able to download the entire program.
While we’re talking about goal setting, I should point out that the second biggest mistake people make when they’re setting goals is that they set TOO many goals, there is this “more is better” approach that people undertake and they believe somehow that they need to set goals in all areas of their life. I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, a big challenge I see with many of my clients is that their lives are out of balance, they are too high performing in one specific area of their life and as a result other areas are suffering. A common situation I see is overachieving in career and work, then underperforming in either health or personal relaitonships. So, when we do Phase 2 of the Goal setting program we don’t need to add in anything new in terms of goals for the overachieving areas, what we likely need to do is address it in Phase 3, which is the Implementing phase. This is where we commit to changes in our habits, beliefs and behaviours to enable the goals to be successful. This is a powerful part of the goal setting process, and just as important as setting of your goals.
And one more addition I added to the program this year is a Bonus planning section at the end. So you’ll go through Reflecting, Goal Setting and Implementing, then when you’re done those 3 sections, the Bonus planning section at the end will help you address your long-term goals, things like your bucket list items, your travel wish list, training and education you want to take part in. This is essentially your long-range planning. So if you want access to this incredible program, and you’re ready to invest some time over the holidays to fine tune your reflection muscle head over to thecorporateyogi.com and go to the Resources page, and you’ll find the Goal setting program there.
So let’s talk about the benefits of building a regular reflection practice. I want to share some success stories of what clients have realized once they incorporated this practice into their daily life. First off, I have a startup CEO who was so addicted to doing, and activity, that he was overindexing on work and his words, not mine, he was a workaholic. After we built him a regular practice of reflection, he started to see that he was struggling in relationship with his partner and his kids. He kept gravitating to work, for a variety of reasons, it was part mindset, part time management and part discipline. But once we built up his habit of reflection, he started to see where he was spending all his time and energy, and as a result it was his fault that his personal relationships were failing. Reflection practice helped him hold up the mirror and see his patterns and help take responsibility for what he was, and wasn’t doing.
Another client realized that his career was not what he really wanted to do and recognized that his job was soul crushing, he is now on a path to create a new business venture with a couple of partners and tells me he is more energized and excited than he has ever remembered. Doing regular reflection helped him realize that his job, although he was really good at it, wasn’t actually fulfilling to him and he started down the path of shifting his career.
The last example is my personal fave. I’ve been working with this client for years and he is very driven, and successful and has a massive impact with the work he does. About a year ago we did some planning through my Life Design exercise to figure out what his long-term life goals were, you know the big questions like what age do you want to retire at, where will you live, how will you spend your time. And through this process, he realized he wanted to live in a different country with his partner and completely have a shift in lifestyle and potentially build out a boutique agency. Well, the plan was to start this vision rolling in about 10 years time when he was ready to retire, however, bc we had done so much work determining this vision and getting resonant about it, he starting to wonder if maybe they could bump up the moving dream earlier and still keep his current job, just do it remotely. Well he did it, had a courageous conversation with his boss, received permission, they sold their house, got VISAs and will be leaving the US and moving in the new year. That’s the power of having big dreams, once you start reflecting, you run the risk of making them even bigger and come true even faster than you ever imagined.
OK it’s time to wrap up this episode on Reflection – the top habit of high performers. If you enjoyed this episode, I would love to you share it with a friend, or via social media, or rate and review the podcast on whichever platform you listen! Thanks for tuning in today, AND since this is the last episode coming out this year, thank you for listening and being part of this community. I really appreciate all you do. And don’t forget to do your reflection over the holidays and set some exciting and fulfilling goals for 2022, grab the download at thecorporateyogi.com – on the Resources page. Thanks and have a safe and happy holiday season and I wish you an amazing New Year!