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Monday, May 16, 2016

Should we be making more time to reflect? | TrainingZone

Photo: Karen Liebenguth
Karen Liebenguth, experienced coach, an accredited mindfulness teacher,  a certified MBTI facilitator and Focusing practitioner insist, "Reflection can be a very empowering process. It can help you to make sense of your day; to come to decisions, to set a course of action; to step away from your habitual way of doing and thinking to discover new freedoms and opportunities."

Photo: TrainingZone

Consider just how many of us go about our days on autopilot, in essence half asleep and often unaware of what’s going on inside and around us. 

There’s a stark consequence to life on autopilot – we risk missing vital opportunities. Opportunities to learn from a project, to give a talk, to contribute ideas to an important decision, to speak up for ourselves, to support someone in their work etc. 

What is reflection versus thinking?
"Information is endlessly available to us: where shall wisdom be found?" - Harold Bloom We have constant and instant access to information. 24-hour news, the internet; all this instantaneous communication encourages us to read and absorb information quickly. It can make us impatient and leave us wanting more. 

Information is a bit like junk food - too much of it can make us ill. Just as it is important to eat nutritious food, it is important to be careful what we think and how we think about it.
Reflection comes from the latin reflectere, meaning to bend back, to turn back or to turn around. Where reflection means to think about something, not all thinking is reflecting. Reflective thinking takes practice. It requires us to slow down, to pause and to reduce information input.

The process of reflection helps us make sense of our day-to-day experiences, it can help su to move forward, to come to decisions, to create a course of action, to challenge ourselves to switch off autopilot and our habitual ways of doing and thinking.

Gilead: A Novel Paperback – January 10, 2006
by Marilynne Robinson (Author)
‘I know more than I know and must learn it from myself.’ This wonderful line from the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson captures the power of reflective thought. When we reflect we are our own teacher, through reflection, we bring consciousness to something we already know (at the unconscious level) and teach ourselves...

Alternative reflection models 
Here are four potential ways to reflect, depending on your preference.

Talking to yourself
Having a conversation with yourself in the form of questions and answers.

Reflective writing
When we write things down we support the process of reflection because when we write thoughts down, we ‘objectify’ them. Our thoughts are now on the page, ready and waiting to be referred back to. When we sit down to think, our thoughts can sometimes be a elusive.

Reflective walking
Reflecting while walking is powerful. I have my best ideas when I’m out and about – hence my ‘coaching while walking’ approach. When we walk our brain waves slow down, clearing the mind for fresh thinking and ideas.  Many well-known thinkers recommend reflecting while walking as an aid for thinking: Nietzsche said: ‘All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.’

Reflecting with others
his can be done as a pair or in a group. Firstly decide on a topic you want to reflect on e.g. an upcoming project, reviewing a report, an important decision etc. Assign someone as a listener (the listener will also be the timekeeper). The listener’s role is to listen attentively for 10 minutes to the speaker’s reflections on the given topic. If there are silences, that’s fine too. The roles then swap.

Additional resources
Photo: Simon Hawtrey-Woore
Karen Liebenguth and her coaching colleague Simon Hawtrey-Woore she runs the initiative Empty Office Day 17 June 2016 to inspire organisations across all sectors to spend a day outside the office. 
For more information visit: 

Source: TrainingZone