How often do you take the time to sit back and reflect? Maybe once a year? More regular or possibly not at all? And what questions do you ponder over?
Often, reflection time is seen as a luxury, a nice to do when we have ‘time’. Who has time for this? In her book Becoming, Michelle Obama talks about how she missed reflection time when she was the first lady. Because of her go-go-go schedule, she didn’t have the opportunity to sit back and contemplate and this was definitely one of the things she was most looking forward to when she moved on from the White House.
Why is focused reflection so valuable?
I recently joined the the ‘create your own economy’ breakfast event, organised by the wonderful AltusQ team. In the introduction Pat Skalsky asked us what we thought the one key attribute is that extra-ordinary leaders have in common. Guess what? It is having regular focused reflection time. Just as simple as that.
Reflection is looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer
When we reflect, we consider deeply something that we might not otherwise have given much thought to. This helps us to gain insights and see how to move forward.
When we reflect, we consciously look at and think about our experiences, actions, feelings and responses and then analyse them in order to learn from them and make better choices for the future. Reflection often involves revealing errors and weaknesses, as well as strengths and successes. We are trying to spot patterns that are either working for us or working against us. It also helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
How to get started?
Chris Collins from AltusQ threw us into the deep end and challenged us with the following question:
If you could go back in time to 2010, what would you tell your 10-year younger self to do differently, knowing what you know now?
It is a very potent question that gives us an opportunity to learn from our fears and mistakes and move forward, stronger and more focused. It’s important when answering this question to be honest, considered, thoughtful and analytical.
In the 5 or so minutes we had to discuss this question at the breakfast event, we did uncover some interesting common themes. We talked about our relationship with failure and being less scared of it, as well as our urge for control and the fact that we probably should have let go a bit more. We also discussed taking bigger risks and enjoying the journey more, every step of the way.
Obviously a decade is a long time to look back on. Reflection is very useful in between activities or projects and on a more regular basis (yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily). The more you flex your reflexion muscles, the easier and more valuable it gets.
What are you grateful for and really proud of?
Personally, I like to consider the positives first, starting off with thinking about what I am grateful for. At the beginning of this year, I bought a beautiful gratitude diary that I’ve been using every day. I sit down for 5-10 minutes every night and jot down the learnings and gifts received that day. It’s been healing, energising and enjoyable. I then ask myself what I am proud of and what has gone well, before moving into what I can improve. In this way we act more like a ‘nurturing friend’ than our ‘worst critic’.
Marketing reflection is so powerful and often forgotten
When we work with clients, we have built-in reflection time. Our process is a circle, which starts with thinking (strategy), doing (activity) and then reflecting (analysing results) which circles back to strategy.
We ensure to take the time to delve into what we’ve done, get to the insights behind the data and think deeply about how we can improve and optimise activity to get to where we want to be and reach our client’s business objectives in the best possible way.
Shane Conlon from National Technical Services says is beautifully:
‘We engaged Twinlife several years ago and Sonja and her team of wonderful marketers have really helped us realise the power of being proud of who you are, celebrating where you have come from and looking forward positively to where you want to be. They are an integral part of our team and really have become just like one of the family!’
If you are still thinking that you don’t have time for or are too busy for focused reflection, think about what Peter Drucker says:
‘Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.’
A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to get an objective reflection on your marketing efforts.
Also, if you are interested in joining me to next ‘create your own economy’ breakfast session hosted by the AltusQ team, please let me know and I’ll bring you along as my guest.Tags: Focused reflection, marketing planning, marketing strategy