Supercharge your Professional Growth Through Self-Reflection
Reflection. It’s quite the buzzword in the world of education. Critical reflection is a key component of professional growth. You take note of what dazzled your students and what fell flatter than a pancake. It’s how your lesson plans are made and evolve over time. But do you use this same system of checks and balances in your personal life? If the answer is no, then how in the name of Daenerys Targaryen do you plan to grow as a person?
It’s time to put a little intention into your self-evolution, friend. And this is the perfect place to start!
The importance of reflective practices
First, it’s important to truly understand why self-reflection is so important.
Life is happening all around us. Often we’re so absorbed in thinking into the future we don’t even notice the blur that is the current moment. The thing about reflection is this: it requires stopping for a period and bringing our attention to what has happened and what’s currently happening in a calm and mindful way.
And the beautiful part about this is that in practicing reflection, we’re building true self-awareness — understanding not just who and what we are, but why we are those things. And what we can do more of or less of to be and experience more of what brings us peace and joy so we can be more fully present and positive for others.
PREACH? You’re darn right.
Reflective approach challenge
This is important business! Okay, so now that we got that all squared away, it’s time to take action:
You’ll need a pen and paper. Or split screen of a Word doc. Or a white board, or a blackboard, or a Post-it and a pencil, or a Sharpie and your arm…
Take a few deep and cleansing breaths and gently bring your focus to this past year. Think back to three things that brought you joy and that you’d like to repeat going forward. Resist the urge to self-edit. If opening that fresh pack of socks brought you peace and joy, boom — write it down. Or maybe it’s a memory of your three-year-old with chocolate ice cream all over his face. Or your wedding day. There is no event too large or too small for this exercise. Boom. Exercise — another great option.
All right. So now that you’ve written down your three moments, under each write specifically what it was about those events that made you feel good. You’ve gotta dig deep on this one. If a new pack of socks was a memorable moment, think about why it brought you peace and joy. Was it the feeling of being present while you slipped your foot inside the plush cotton? Was it relief knowing you no longer would have to be marginally annoyed all freaking day by your big toe poking through the tight hole in your old sock? You get the point. Figure out what specifically brought you joy and jot it down.
Now comes the fun part. Think of ways to recreate the feeling in the future. If you wrote about the joy you felt from doing random acts of kindness, your list might include playing cards at the nursing home or paying for the frazzled mom behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru line. Your list should incorporate things that fit neatly inside your comfort zone and things that push the envelope. And be sure to include things that are quick and easy and some that take a bit more effort. Other than that, there are no rules. Get creative and have fun!
And that’s it! By purposefully writing down your intentions, you’re supercharging them with some serious staying power. This power will make all the difference in turning your intentions into actions and your actions into a more joyful, peaceful, and purposeful existence.