I love the idea that pearls of wisdom lie within your lived experience and your wisdom can be so valuable to other people.
The obvious question that follows is how do you find those pearls?
What is the human version of oysters taking in grit and producing pearls from the grit?
I have reflected on this a lot, and an important part of the answer is: reflection!
If you are anything like me, your life has gone like this:
You have been inspired to do stuff, you get scared, you can easily feel inadequate, but you go for it anyway, you take lots of little steps consistently, you fail a lot.
At times you can feel utterly defeated by outside forces and by your own fears and insecurities.
You feel disheartened for a while and then you get up, you reflect, you learn, you refine, you try again and eventually begin to experience some successes.
You just keep doing the work, you keep engaging and keep going, however difficult it becomes
After some time, by this continual process, you gradually and incrementally get to a better place.
But it is the process of acting, succeeding, failing, reflecting and growing is my daily practice and I hope will remain so for the rest of my life
And for me, the key aspect of this journey is captured in that one short word: Reflecting
Learning to reflect, skilfully, is a very powerful aspect of leadership
It is one hallmark of a growth mindset. You reflect, you learn, you build inner strength and you improve
How do you reflect powerfully?
As I reflect on the power of reflection, here are seven of the ways I see that I have come to harness the power of reflection. I am sure there are plenty more:
- I journal a lot – literally every day, in fact, for around twenty years now, through the Morning Pages tool that Julia Cameron suggests in her multi selling book The Artists Way. I have not missed a single day for around two decades
- I ask myself good questions, like: What can I learn from this? What did I do that contributed to this? What was my part in this? What didn’t I do that caused this? What am I noticing at the moment? What is amusing or even funny about this? What is wanting to exist through me, next?
- I reflect through writing a lot – as well as journalling every day, I go to a local café every morning between 9-30 and 11-30 to write on my laptop, to type up notes from coaching conversations and develop ideas that could go public as books and blogs or video shorts. 90% of this writing never does go public. It is me figuring stuff out. But the 10% that does go public is the result of what emerges from much deep thinking and reflection.
- I get myself coached, mentored and supervised, I get therapy – I get other people to ask me great questions and help me see my blind spots so I can become more aware – positive and negative. Where might I have been playing safe or playing too small? What am I not seeing here?
- Through conversation – I share my experience with trusted friends and colleagues, and I ask for their feedback – how do they see what I am describing? I get them to help me to reframe my experience or expand the meaning I have made
- I read a lot – I love hearing the reflections, insights and perspectives from other people – in the same field as me and from totally different fields
- I pray and meditate – I ask for insight and guidance from the mystery, the source that is greater than my own personality
And I am very aware that I have organised my life around reflecting a lot. It is really important to me that I spend time reflecting. I love doing it and I see it as part of my job, the philosopher part of my job description.
If you would value a conversation to reflect on the pearls of wisdom contained within your life experience, drop me an email:
In the 45-minute conversation, we’ll explore:
- What your wisdom might be
- Who your wisdom is for
- How you can grow and progress towards offering more of your wisdom, and in what form
Drop me an email at email@example.com and we’ll arrange to have that conversation