Reflecting and preparing
There are key times in a calendar when we will often take time out to review and consider what the future could hold for us. I find these times useful. I call them my Reflecting and Preparing time. So much has come out of those times that have impacted my life.
I guess you may do similar as well. Key times could be related to the start of a new year, a new term, maybe a house move, a new addition to the family, or job move, a significant change in life etc. Maybe you are at this period now, where you are starting to think about the next season of your life.
If so, let me speak into that as we look together at how to make the most of our time of reflecting and preparing.
Why should we reflect and prepare?
Peter Trucker, a famous business leader once said, ‘Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action’.
This tells me that I will be smarter if I take responsibility for how I use my time to be more effective. Therefore, reflection is at the heart of this to learn and grow. Reflecting and preparing is a healthy way to advance in life. We should not take our lives or life experiences for granted. Investing time in evaluating our experiences and learnings, can lead us to become more productive and move towards a better future.
When we reflect well, I have often noted it can lead to seeing new dreams and opportunities. Why is this? It is because we decided to take time out to ‘Stop and Reflect’. We put time aside to see the ‘Big Picture’.
How to begin a time of reflection
One helpful way I do this is by asking great questions. John Maxwell often says that ‘Good leaders ask great questions’. However, those questions don’t always have to be to other people they could be to…ourselves.
Here are some of the questions I ask myself for reflection:
- What have I been learning about during the last 12 months?
- What has gone well for me this year?
- Then, what has not gone well for me this year?
- How do I adapt to change?
- What is my coach noticing about me at the moment?
- How have I grown my strengths this year?
- What have I started but not followed through on?
- What have been some of my biggest wins this year?
Moving from reflection to preparation
As you take time out to reflect, this can often stir new dreams and opportunities. My question is if that is the case…..which I know it is…..How can I prepare for them and a better future?
I have often noted that in life we can tend to be Preparing or Repairing. But if we want to be preparing for that better future, we need to again ask ourselves some challenging questions.
These are some of the questions that I consider when preparing:
- What’s the 1st step I can take today in my preparation for a better future?
- Am I prepared to commit to this?
- What could stop me from moving ahead?
- Who should I be accountable to in this?
- How am I going to track my progress?
Sadly, so many dreams and good intentions never mature and don’t last the test of time. Why is this? It’s often because there has been no process for progress.
Next step: develop a blueprint
Preparing and dreaming for a better future is only part of it. There MUST be a blueprint for how the plan, improvement, stepping up, the new behaviour etc, is going to come about. As a business growth consultant and mentor to many people, I work with my clients to ensure they have a strategy for a better future. Time is short, so let’s not waste time, just dreaming and preparing about the future but never taking the strategic steps needed to fulfil it.
Prepare ahead to stay ahead
Stay ahead with your dream or your next step and where you want to get to in the future. So, what would preparation look like for you? Take time out to prepare for your future. Often it is not the BIG steps we have to take, rather it is the small step the NEXT STEP. Are you moving into a new season? Is it time to reflect and prepare to ensure you make the most out of your next season of life?
7 Steps to Reflect and Prepare for Any Situation in Life
Life’s unpredictability often calls for a proactive approach to handling its myriad twists and turns. For a person reflecting on their experiences and preparing for future events, certain steps can be pivotal in enhancing personal growth and success. Whether it’s a new challenge, a significant life change, or a daily routine enhancement, these seven steps are instrumental for any person reflecting on their journey and gearing up for what’s next.
1. Embrace Self-Awareness
The journey of a person reflecting on their life starts with self-awareness. This involves understanding your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and values. When you know yourself well, you can better anticipate how you might react in various situations. Tools like journaling or mindfulness can foster this self-understanding.
2. Analyze Past Experiences
For a person reflecting on their history, it’s crucial to consider previous encounters with similar situations. What strategies succeeded? What didn’t? Learning from these reflections can offer valuable insights for future decisions. Try to assess past events objectively, recognizing your contributions to those outcomes.
3. Set Clear Goals
Clear goals are the compass for a person reflecting on their path forward. Adopting the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) approach to goal-setting can provide direction and purpose, equipping you for upcoming challenges or opportunities.
4. Develop a Flexible Plan
After setting goals, a person reflecting on their future needs a plan. It’s essential, however, to maintain flexibility in this plan. Life’s unpredictability may require adjustments along the way. Envision various scenarios and how you might adapt to them, enhancing your resilience and preparedness.
5. Seek Knowledge and Resources
In preparation, a person reflecting on an upcoming situation should gather relevant information and resources. This might mean researching, seeking mentorship, or learning new skills. Being well-informed is a key element of readiness.
6. Practice Self-Care
Physical and mental well-being are vital for a person reflecting on their journey. Managing stress and maintaining clarity is easier with regular exercise, balanced nutrition, sufficient sleep, and mindfulness practices. Prioritizing self-care can significantly impact your ability to handle situations effectively.
7. Reflect and Adapt
Post-event reflection is a critical phase for a person reflecting on their experiences. Evaluate what transpired: what lessons were learned, and what could be improved? This process of reflection and adaptation is fundamental to growth, equipping you for future challenges and opportunities.
In summary, the process of a person reflecting and preparing for life’s various scenarios involves continual learning and adaptation. Through self-awareness, learning from past experiences, goal setting, flexibility, knowledge acquisition, self-care, and reflective adaptation, you can navigate life’s complexities with greater ease and confidence. Remember, preparation and reflection are not one-time events but ongoing practices that enrich your life journey.
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Tony Lynch is a business growth consultant, mentor, and coach. He equips people and businesses for success and a better future.
Tony is also a regular speaker at events (now online) as well as being a TEDx speaker and has been featured in Inc for the ‘100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference’.
He has also been a Judge at the UK and International Business Awards in London and Amsterdam.