Giving ourselves time to think is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Most of us rarely spend much time in self-reflection. While we know it might be beneficial, we don’t believe we have time. In fact, what we tend to do is we often blame others for not giving us time to think.
Playing victim does not win you time to self-reflect. It just makes you crazy.
Do Self-reflection intentionally
The random reflection is important. To take reflection to the next notch though, you may want to intentionally set aside time for focused self-reflection. This might be time to think about a specific event, a conversation or a challenging situation you are currently trying to sort out. In being more intentional during self-reflection, you can give your mind time to work its way around whatever you need to sort out.
How to do Self-reflection
Here’s an example of how I used self-reflection to sort out my dilemma
I was at a meeting the other day and someone said something offensive to another member of the team. The comment was meant as a joke, however, it was grossly inappropriate. As one of the leaders in this group, I felt it was my responsibility to address it.
I want to have something to say that will not only stop the negative behavior but also inspire the individual making the inappropriate comment to consider their impact and become more conscious in how they say things. It is through my self-reflection that I can get my desired outcome.
Let self-reflection grow your leadership
Self-reflection allows us to be aligned with our purpose and values. It can have us become more intentional in getting the impact we desire and going in the direction we want to go. We have to, however, make the time to do it. Add self-reflection to the top of your To Do list today!
Let me help you out with some regular reminders about slowing down.
Join me for Coffee Break with Kathy
Guest blogging for me today is Zara Lyttle MSW RSW.
Zara just completed her Master's in Social Work. I remember a time long ago (or so it seems) when I was working on my degree, working full time and raising my family. It was extremely difficult.
Many women want to make this journey. They don't want to decide between career, education and raising their family. They want to do it simultaneously and actually find the experience rewarding.
How do you do that though? in the face of overwhelm and the bombardment of doubts, how do you stick to the path?
Zara found a way and shares her story here. You will find some great lessons for anyone trying to live life to the fullest!
Starting the journey
As a mother of two young children working part-time as a professional in the social work field I encountered a unique opportunity when my son was a year old. It was the chance to take my Masters in Social Work near my home community in Northern Alberta. This was something I always wanted to do and my husband encouraged me to apply. I knew I would be embarking on something that would change my daily life and future direction. I also know myself and if I was accepted into the program, I would commit myself to completing it. Here I am 3 years later and I am proud to say I did it, I have my Masters in Social Work! I want to describe to the reader the process of how I was able to manage multiple roles which still ensuring I cared for myself and was “Present” as a mother, wife, friend, professional, and student.
Supportive employers help
When I started my program I knew I would have to continue work part-time. Luckily I had a flexible employer that let me do a great deal of my reporting work from home. This eased the pressure on my time for attending block week classes and doing my practicum three days per week. The support from my employer was just a piece of the puzzle that was my support system while I completed the two year masters program.
Build a large support network
The biggest support I had was my husband. He provided the encouragement when I doubted being able to juggle everything. He took time off work to care for our children while I was away and generally was just there, telling me how proud he was of me. It wasn’t easy as we didn’t always have a lot of time together, but we soon fell into a routine of “scheduling” time together as almost a reward for me completing schoolwork. It was a motivator for getting my work done.
Another huge support was my mother, who helped me get through a move partway through the program, also provided child care, and allowed me to complain about my workload while still reminding me that I “could always quit if I wanted to”. It was funny, that reminder that I was making a choice to do the coursework was a motivator for me. She kept me sane through the process.
Surround yourself with positive people
Altogether, I took support from friends and family when I needed it and was encouraged all along the way. One friend let me stay with her during my block classes and listened as I excitedly told her what I was learning. I encourage anyone wanting to go back to school for higher education to surround themselves with positive people who love you and will give you the support you need. You also have to be willing to accept that support, as that isn’t always easy either!
Be present each moment along the journey
Lastly, the most important piece of advice that I believe can help anyone attempting to juggle the multiple roles we all have in life is being “present” in the moment. My focus was that for each task, each role I was mentally and emotionally “present” for them. It wasn’t always easy when I had papers due, family commitments, and work reports upcoming. I had to commit myself to being present at all times. When I was with my children and husband I focused on them. When I was writing a paper I focused on that. When I was at practicum I focused on that. Well…you get the idea. Being present was a constant exercise in focus that I believe allowed me to accomplish what I needed to while still being a mother to my children (which was the most important thing to me in the whole process).
This was my visual cue I carried around with me during the two year program. Good luck to all those that embark on the journey of balancing roles and being “present”. It can be done, but not without support …
In Leadership roles we have big projects, big responsibilities and big challenges. Yet ultimately, a Leader’s greatest task is to manage the little things. Below are 10 little things Leaders should place high priority on each and every day.
These tiny moments of time add up to big changes in your Leadership. So next time you grumble that you don’t have enough time, consider what you can accomplish in only a moment or two or ten, if you choose to intentionally design that time.
I blogged earlier this week about being present. In case you missed it, click here to read my experience of being present.
Being present is slowing down and really being aware of what is happening and experiencing the moment. We have a tendency to get caught up in what we need to do and fret and worry that we won’t have time; we worry about how we will handle things or what others will do. We also live in the past, re-living something that didn’t go so good in the past. We go over it again and again in our minds.
We live in the past and future
What happens is that this past and future thinking gets in the way of what we are supposed to be doing in the here and now. We are distracted from the paperwork in front of us, emails needing responded to, the person we are having a conversation with or focusing on the meeting we are attending.
Use your senses to become present at work
It all sounds good and fine to become present when things are slow and you’ve got time to relax and be present. But what does this really mean at work and during our busy days?
The best way to become present is to use all of your senses. Imagine being in a meeting that is long, boring and maybe even painful.
Start by taking a deep breath and notice what your senses are up to.
By pulling in all of your senses, you will be brought into the present. You will have a real feeling for what is going on and your reaction to it all. From here you will be more present, focused and aware of everything.
What changes for you?
Try it and let me know how it works. What changes did you notice? What was the impact of becoming more present?
What help with this? Try reading Mindful Leadership by Maria Gonzalez. She has a fabulous way of introducing mindfulness to the workplace.
Why is it that we avoid doing things that we know are good for us? It’s been a year since I hired my own coach and one of my goals at that time was to add meditation to my day. And that’s been really really hard. I can make all of the excuses about not finding time, or there is not a quiet space for me to do it, or I don’t know how to do it. The truth is I get in the way of doing it.
The last few weeks have been very busy and a wee bit stressful as I’ve prepared for a conference, a training session, workshops, added new clients, continuing to take training and personal growth on top of being a mom and a wife. And the stress has really taken a toll on my body. I’ve noticed this increased tension in my shoulders and more headaches. I’ve become reminded once again that it’s important for me to add something to my life that helps to reduce stress and bring me back to a place of consciousness and presence.
As I’ve started meditating a little bit over the last few weeks, I’ve recognized how important it is and of course I’ve been surprised that I resisted for so long. Simply adding 10 minutes of mediation in the morning or in the evening has had significant impact on my ability to relax and slow down. It has had an amazing bonus ability to have my mind quiet enough to become creative in what I am doing and what I am working on. When I do it, I am more relaxed in my relationships and I love the feeling of just being!
When you put up walls to things you know are good for you and things you know you should be doing, like going for walks, having a little bit healthier snack, meditating, getting a massage or journaling, I invite you to question yourself. Question why you resist all of those little things that we often call self care things. The things that you struggle to do and yet you know you should do and you know are good for you. The things that in the long run you know will make your life easier. Stop and question what the purpose is in putting up those roadblocks and putting up the barriers. Why are you making the excuses? Then, pick up those barriers and move them out of the way. They are not as heavy as you think, you assume or you make up that they are. And if you do find they are a little bit heavier, ask someone for help to move them, because in the end when you know what is good for you, you are pretty smart and are probably right! It is good for you.
p.s. Its not so bad to ask for help either. Thanks Ernie for helping me to move some of my roadblocks!
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
Sign up for my newsletter here!
Want to follow my blog?
Click the RSS feed below and follow the instructions. That way, you won't miss any updates!