Reflective Practice

It’s the end of the year and it’s not unusual to feel you’re limping toward Christmas on an almost empty tank of fuel. To help top up the tank it’s useful to reflect on the year, especially with a view to acknowledging accomplishments.

Find yourself a quiet space with a pen and paper. Take ten minutes to review the year and list all the things you’ve accomplished professionally. These accomplishments don’t have to be huge. An accomplishment can also be maintaining a positive status quo—for example, keeping a stable team. Next, do the same thing for your personal life.

Good reflective practice proposes that we do not learn from experience, rather we learn from reflecting on the experience. So when it comes to significant things that happened during the year—both good and bad—here’s a useful reflective process.

  • What happened?  What did you do or not do?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • What was good about it? What was tricky about it?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • What will you do differently next time?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

Another approach is to simply create three columns: one for capturing what’s been good during the year; one for what you have found tricky; and one for how you might do things differently in the future.

If you’re leading a team, consider encouraging team members to individually reflect on the year, and then collectively as a team.

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