Updated: Jul 21
Days, weeks and months can go by and leave us with the eerie feeling that time has melted into oblivion without actually having accomplished much. This may of course be true, but it is unlikely. The danger of this is that it creates enormous pressure within us and fuels the anxiety we may be feeling about the do-to lists we carry around on our mobile devices and on the post-it notes plastered all over our psyches.
A lot happens in a day. And SO much happens in a week. We put out so much energy and we do ourselves no favours by simply moving on in a haze of busyness, or under the influence of the subconscious habit of minimising our efforts and creations.
It's easy to miss it, but reflection is the gift of space we give ourselves and more than that, it is an opportunity for us to extend ourselves grace.
One of the most powerful things we can do is to reflect and process all that happens for us. Anders Ericsson has the coolest job. He is an expert at experts. Having studied the habits of peak performers from all walks of life, he pioneered the idea of Deliberate Practice.
He explains that there are essentially two types of practice. The first is naive practice, which refers to putting in many hours of effort, but without much reflection and therefore, little or no systemisation.
The second form of practice is the deliberate practice that he observes in peak performers. Deliberate practice is more methodical, and involves significant reflection, making systemisation and process evolution more inevitable. Of course the latter produces far greater gains that simple / naive practice. His research is clear on two things. Deliberate practice is key to accelerating growth, and sustaining oneself as we apply ourselves. Without this practice, we launch into busyness and put ourselves at risk of finding ourselves locked in a cycle of weariness without the insights needed to escape it.
I'd like to invite you to make deliberate, mindful reflection part of your weekly routine. It may feel like there is no time to squeeze in yet another to-do, but I promise you, this is one of those small extras that deliver beeeeeeg yields.
Let me share a process that you can adapt to suit your unique needs.
Decide on a time and place to give it a try. Think of what will feel supportive and enabling to you. You will need a space and a time of day that allows you to comfortably roam around the corners of your minds where hidden gems and insights are waiting to illuminate your awareness.
You will need permission from yourself to invest in this time for the benefit of your hopes, dreams, ambitions and goals. Your Future Self will thank you for taking this time out to make his/her life easier and more aligned to your big picture and purpose.
You'll want to approach this activity and yourself with kindness, patience, love and compassion. There is a part of you rich with these traits. Invite this part along and ask your Inner Critic to take the back seat for this exercise. He/she will get their chance, but this is not it.
When the time comes for this activity, show up for it. Show up for your Current Self. Show up for your Future Self. Don't just plan for the investment. Make the investment.
Practice a moment of Presence. Take a few deep breaths and be with yourself. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Practice holding your breath marginally longer than you inhale, and then exhale for longer that you've held your breath. Connect with yourself. You could hold your hand to your heart, or cup your face in the palms of your hands. Perhaps you'd prefer to stretch, and really connect with your body after taking a few slow deep breaths. Do what works for you.
Next, you're going to check in with yourself. To do this, I recommend you start with the questions I've listed below so that you can embark on a journey of thoughtfulness, reflection and insight. This is not the time to beat yourself up. It adds no value and only provokes shame and all its nasty byproducts. Be honest with yourself and extend yourself grace and kindness in huge doses. This is an opportunity to meet yourself intimately to explore your experiences and your inner-working.
By no means do you need to explore all the questions, and, you may develop an entirely different list of questions as time goes by. Play with them. This is serious work and the invitation is to adopt a lightness toward yourself as you make your way through your reflection:
What felt really good this week? [Notice, I used the word 'felt']
What made it feel good?
What felt hard, overwhelming and complicated this week?
What sort of compassion and care do you need?
What did you experiment with this week?
What was it like to experiment?
What kind of results did you see?
What recurring doubts and worries came up for you this week?
How did these show up in your body, mind, heart and/or soul this week?
What do these worries and doubts tell you? Are their messages different through the different parts of you?
How did your inner child feel about your work and responsibilities this week?
What made you feel safe and comfortable?
How can you create more of this?
What boundaries did you practice this week?
Where do you wish you had more boundaries in place?
Which of your existing boundaries would you like to adjust?
What growth or successes did you experience this week?
How are you willing to celebrate them?
What were the highlights of your interactions with people this week?
How do you savour these?
How could you create more of these?
Knowing what you know now, how would you like to approach the week ahead of you?
What is a priority for you this week?
What are you willing to scratch off your to-do list to give your priority a real chance to materialise?
How can you be good to yourself this coming week?
What is a good mantra to support you as you go through the week ahead of you?
Using all of the information you have gathered, are there any changes you want to implement for the week ahead? Make a note of them, before they drift out of your consciousness.
Reconnect with yourself with some slow, deep breathing. Remind yourself of what you need most. Often, it can be the most simple and basic truths. Allow the peace of that to gently settle into you.
Let me know what you think of this process and what shifts become available to you as a result of them.
If you're looking for economical, high value support to help you step away from the cycle of weariness, have a look at my upcoming programme, Beyond Resilience.
I am currently booking spots for August through to November for 1:1 coaching. Hit Reply if you're interested or book an exploratory call here. I'd love to chat through my 1:1 coaching programme, Qualified to be You, or to explore the support you need in a no pressure kinda way.