DAILY REFLECTION!!! Yaasss! I am excited about this topic. Why you ask? Because this simple thing changed my life. I have to say that prior to my completing daily reflections, I thought I was just winning at life. I wholeheartedly believed that I was an amazing boss, a great person, and a good mom, daughter, sister, and friend. Once I started being intentional about reflecting on my day, I started to see that I wasn’t as amazing, great, or good as I thought. I began to see the opportunities for improvement that I had been leaving unexplored.
It is an interesting story of how I began daily reflections. Well at least I find it interesting. Several years ago at my former job, we had applied for and received a grant worth several million dollars designed to improve service delivery. One component of the grant provided access to consultants who would help us with several things including how to manage workloads and maximize efficiency. Having seen the sheer size of my workload and responsibilities, one of the consultants began spending a lot of time with me and my team. During this time, he introduced me to Agile and Lean principles. More applicable to the topic at hand, he introduced me to Chairman Fujio Cho’s technique that encouraged leaders to “Go See. Ask Why. Show Respect.” This was typically used in conjunction with a technique known as the gemba walk We will definitely delve more into gemba walks and some Lean principles during the upcoming Professional Development Series.
So going back to the story, Andre, the consultant, asked me what I liked most out of all of my responsibilities, to which I responded meeting with the front line employees throughout the state. He suggested that I incorporate the gemba walk and Chairman Cho’s words into each visit. Let’s just say that the value gained from speaking with the people actually doing the work, who were affected by my decisions, was a game changer! I asked them three questions on these visits:
The answers I received vastly improved service delivery and morale.
Then I began thinking about what would happen if I asked myself similar questions every day. Could I benefit from this type of reflection? Well ladies and gentlemen, DID. I. EVER! I began asking myself these four questions daily:
To make this time more meaningful, I would reflect at night, after my son went to bed, while sitting in my living room looking out of the large picture window into the front yard. This was the best time for me because the house was quiet, the neighborhood was quiet, and I was at peace with my thoughts.
From being intentional with spending time reflecting on those things allowed me to be more self-aware. I was able to identify and more importantly, able to work on those areas that I was not excelling in. The daily reflections allowed me to catch things before they became bad habits or to identify bad habits and decide whether I wanted to change them.
This is probably where you expect me to say that when I identified a bad habit or thing I wasn’t doing so well, I would change it or work on changing it immediately. Yeah…no. As with everything else I have told you all, I am always striving to be true to self. Sometimes I recognize that those things that I identify are a problem but I either decide that I am not ready to change that thing about myself, that the thing is not as bad as I thought, therefore not worth the work to change it, or even in its badness, I like that thing. Here’s an example: I am very sarcastic. To the point where sometimes I am not sure whether I meant what I said sarcastically or not. Yes, I am bilingual, English and sarcasm. Anyway, many days my answer to the question ‘What didn’t I do so well today?’ is related to my level of sarcasm. However, several years after starting the daily reflections, I have chosen not to change it.
The final word…Daily reflection allows you to be intentional every day and proactively identify conduct and behaviors that are inconsistent with becoming the person you are working to be.