REFLECTION: One of my annual Labor Day weekend tasks is a job that I’ve come to enjoy. With notebook and pen in one hand and digital camera in the other, I make a leisurely tour of the garden taking photos and making notes about what worked and what didn’t in this year’s plantings.
Sometimes I take a chance on a plant or a location or a combination, and it’s a dismal failure.
Sometimes I notice a not so great result and realize I’ve made that mistake two or three years running.
Sometimes the conditions are just right for an outcome that no one would have predicted, and planning or past experience has very little to do with the result.
It’s both a rewarding and a humbling exercise. This habit of reflection and evaluation is one that is helpful in other areas of life beyond the garden.
A couple of years ago, I recall chatting with a young man by the name of Cary Mullen who was just beginning his speaking career. Having already proven himself wildly successful on the downhill speed skiing circuit, Cary had developed the feedback habit of high performers. He told me that he follows every speech with some time on his own reflecting on the high and low points of the presentation and planning the adjustments he’ll make next time out of the chute.
It’s a proven recipe for learning, advancement and success. And, it’s something that happens far too infrequently when we get caught up in the daily frenzy of life.
ACTION: Pick one thing worthy of review in your life this week (a project, a presentation, a vacation, a transaction, a relationship).
Either solo or with a colleague, friend, or family member) spend a few minutes asking what you could learn from how things have been going in this area of life.
What might be adjusted or repeated to create the best possible outcomes next time out?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If we are always ‘on’ and never take time out to replenish, our interior life will suffer and our creativity will wither and die.” – Safire Rose
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: I first met a set of reflective questions in studying some of Stephen Brookfield’s work during my Masters’ program a decade ago. Here’s a variation on his set. Try them out on a specific incident or experience, and see where they take you and what you learn:
* When was I most engaged?
* When was I most distanced?
* When and by what was I most affirmed?
* By what was I most puzzled or surprised?
* What was the single most important thing I learned today? Why? How will I capitalize on it in the future?
PAUSE READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Pause on Shifting Focus, MW writes: “One of my volunteers describes ‘wiping off her shoulders’ before she enters the house as a reminder to let go of workday worries. This ritual allows her to enter her home without the weight of the world ‘on her shoulders’ leaving her free to enjoy her time at home with those she loves. Cool, huh?”