The importance of being self-reflective at work

ShowUp Team | Published: April 16, 2020

I’m going to write a word and before I do I ask that you stay with me in reading this post. The word is reflection with self in front of it. Self-reflection.


Are you still there?

I’ve come to realize that this term has the power to clear a room. In my teaching experience it aligned the bladders of groups of university students who suddenly all needed to take a bathroom break and only come back when their chosen classmate, the one who chooses to stay and learn, texts them when my lecture is done. Upon my own reflection of classes such as these, I use to ask myself “where did I go wrong?”; and even in asking myself that question, I wasn’t self-reflecting.

The word reflection means a change in direction so that it returns to where it originated. In the world of discovery it’s a fascinating concept to use with light, sound, and waves; but stick the word self in front of it to symbolize growth in human behavior and it becomes something to avoid or fear. Feared only because it is misunderstood and assumed painful to one’s self esteem. There is no room for the blame game with self-reflection. At ShowUp, we know what it means to self-reflect and we know how to work it to your advantage.

With work being in a constant state of motion the direction can feel more like a revolving door than a moving arrow. To attain fulfillment, you want the arrow. Everyday you change with your work depending on what you experience. Self-reflection brings you back to you at the end of the day, and it allows you to process what happened as well as how to use your time and energy wisely the next day. Oh and bonus points - your CV/resume gets filled with your leadership skills and what you can bring to the table. In reality, self-reflection saves you time and keeps you working at your peak.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Think back to a recent work experience. Did it have purpose?
  2. What are your thoughts on the outcome?
  3. What are your feelings on the outcome?
  4. What part did you play in the outcome that served you well?
  5. What part did you play in the outcome that did not serve you well?
  6. What can you put in place so that when a similar situation happens you’ll get a different response that will lead you to an outcome that is more aligned with your desired direction?
  7. How can you take the present outcome and re-frame it to fuel your arrow?

Self-reflecting with ShowUp gets you your how to sustain your why.

The way to achieve your own success, is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.

How do you re-frame an outcome? First by the willingness to put in the work and the choice to invest in yourself. The “how to” component of self reflection is equivalent to the action steps toward an vision. Without action steps, nothing happens. The answer is perspective and confidence. Take what is concrete - the outcome, and see the big picture.

Change the perspective on the outcome until you can tap into an angle where you see opportunity to take your power back. That point is where you will find your confidence in knowing what your next step will be and acting on it. If you are unable to attain any gained perspective on the outcome and continue to judge it as a negative, well then maybe it’s time to ask yourself some tougher job alignment and values questions. At ShowUp we got those to :)

Self-reflection can align you with your work and give you the upper hand in taking any outcome of any situation and running with it. Using it will help you develop leadership skills and confidence in your actions. It covers the basis of “What went well?; What went not so well?; What was the outcome?; and What can I put in place to better align the outcome with what I want?” In other words it helps you draw out the conclusion and re-frame it to your advantage. A solution to working with purpose.

So to answer that intriguing question: What did I do to keep students interested in self-reflection? Well, I knew my content was good, but looking back I had to align the starting method with what I wanted most - student engagement. So….

I emphasized how important the next topic was to their ongoing professional development and if they wanted to give themselves the best chance at being a leader and creating their own personal brand, it would be worth a listen. Then I gave them a bathroom break before I started the lecture ;)

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