Google reflection and you’ll get this definition:
|synonyms:||thought, thinking, consideration, contemplation, deliberation, pondering, meditation, musing, rumination; formal cogitation “after some reflection, he turned it down”|
Your mom and/or some of your teachers may have called it daydreaming, or wasting time.
Productive reflection happens in many ways
Maybe you set aside time to reflect (aka meditate). Or maybe you spend some time skipping stones at the shore, relaxing your mind and allowing it to ponder the secrets of the universe or your corner of it. Sorting buttons, or chopping potatoes can open you up to reflection. There’s something magical about repetitive action. Singing in the shower can also work.
The rush, bustle and constant pings, beeps and burps from our so-called smart phones tend to drive us away from reflection and day dreaming. When we catch ourselves staring out our office window the first thought is often “Oh, I’d better get back to work!”
I’m here to tell you that ‘it ain’t necessarily so!‘
Reflection clears your mind
Even a moment or two of allowing your mind to relax can reap benefits. It allows you to let go of the extraneous and focus on what’s really important.
Expanding brief reflection time to a regular meditation practice can do amazing things. According to a study called Seven-year follow-up shows lasting cognitive gains from meditation, published in Science Daily, benefits can include reduction in age-related mental decline, increased ability to focus and more. What they don’t tell you is you can start with 10 minutes a day and begin to take advantage of the results
Quieting your mind opens it to new ideas
Time spent in quiet reflection about a topic or a train of thought does wonders for opening your mind to new ideas. It makes sense, for example, to reflect on your writing business at least quarterly. This could be a formal meditation or it could be time set aside at a beach, or art museum but with the intention of thinking creatively about your business.
Another approach is to do it monthly and reflect on specific topics. Topics might include:
- Branding me and my business
- Who now is my perfect client?
- I need help; how and who can help me?
- What’s worked – and what have I learned from it; what hasn’t worked and what have I learned from it?
Let your mind soar on multiple topics and see what happens.
You learn from both good stuff and not so good
One of my favorite benefits I get from reflection is solid learning as I think about what worked and what didn’t. A recent example is me getting a client’s instructions totally backwards. It led me to undo stuff that shouldn’t have been undone. I didn’t understand how I could have been so completely off base until I sat with it. What came to me is that I had read his instructions in a hurried manner – but the real problem came because I read them assuming he and I agreed on a key decision. We didn’t, not even close. The lesson is clear: read instructions more carefully, particularly when there’s more than one viewpoint on the issue.
It was a comment in our forum that led me to think about how important reflection time is. Some additional thought let me to see the similarity of reflection and meditation… and here we are.
You can begin to form a productive habit of reflection by recognizing when your mind wanders it may be a good thing. Take a moment and see where it wants to go. Schedule a time – at least 20 minutes or so to contemplate your business, or a part of it and see what you can discover. Pick a time and a place to do some reflection and put it on your calendar.
Write well and often,