Of late, I’ve been in a state of reflection.
In order to do that, I’ve had to slow down a bit. And breathe. And listen.
The challenge with reflection is there is always such noise going on in our heads – and in the myriad devices at our fingertips – that often the higher wisdom we seek can’t be heard because these other voices shout so loudly.
That’s why it’s so important for leaders to create a positive ritual around their reflective time and stick to it so it becomes an ingrained habit that happens more often than not.
Tal Ben Shahar taught me to call this practice a “Time In.” It’s time away from the busy-ness and the runaway voices in the mind. Steven Covey would have called it “Quadrant Two” time.
No matter what you call it, your time spent as a leader looking within to plan, reflect and check in with your heart and gut is where you will get your inspiration to expand and access a place of ‘higher’ guidance. The noise level “out there” has become overwhelming negative. If you want to remain positive, it must become an intention and a focus. (Especially if you’re NOT the “born happy” type, like me.)
I like to start my reflective times by quietly, and with a degree of reverence, taking a deep and grateful breath, making sure to exhale fully and completely before inhaling again. This act alone sends a signal to my body that I am ready to engage my whole brain. I take my right hand and put it on my heart as I bring to my mind something for which I am grateful. (Today it’s the pleasant cool weather and the bright sunshine.)
I breathe into that thought while focusing on the area around my heart, knowing that I am sending the chemicals of calm through my bloodstream and accessing both sides of my brain. Then I set to my reflection. This kind of reflection need not take long, but it takes presence.
At my executive meetings I offer this thought – as a practice, every Friday before the end of your workday take the time to sit in quiet and stillness and reflect on your week. What went well and why?
Where have you created value for your employees and customers? What have you completed? What have you deleted? How have you built your Positivity Ratio?
Of course, your natural tendency might be to look at your calendar to see what you didn’t get done (and of course that is an important part of completing your week) but the purpose of this Positive Leadership ritual is to retrain your brain to access wisdom and the increased creativity that comes from the positive emotions you create.
Positive emotions create a Broaden and Build response in the brain and cause you to get smarter, more creative and see things from an expanded perspective. What a great place to be as you reflect on your week (or your month or year.)
As we approach the busy holiday season, this season of giving thanks, begin to reflect on all the things that are good on your team, on all those that make you successful and on all you have to be grateful for.
If you don’t have one already, I invite you to create a Ritual of Reflection that you practice at the end of every week.
I suggest you use a Positive Leadership journal, either a bound book, or a digital document, to record your reflections. I also suggest you spread the idea of reflection by asking others “What went well and why?” and “How have you created value this week?”
When your team knows you are doing this each week and that you will be asking them about their reflections – they will be more focused on creating value during the week. That’s a win-win for all.
As I reflect on the many things I am grateful for in my life, one of them is YOU. If you have found your way to my list, I know you CARE. I know you want to continue to evolve as a leader and enjoy a “spillover” of positive energy that spreads beyond your company and your customers to your communities.
The world needs Positive Leadership! Join me in Practice of Positive Leadership and energize your team like never before! .