When was the last time you spent a significant amount of time reflecting on your career? I will admit that I have let it slip lately… Even as a Learning Professional, it can be hard to walk the talk sometimes, but as we all know, self-reflection is time well spent and often provides benefits for both personal and professional development.
This came into sharp focus for me a little while ago - when Training Journal asked me to feature in the February edition of their magazine. I had to answer so many question about myself, and about my career – from my noblest hour to my best learning and development experience – that I realised how much I had let go of the habit. I found the whole process incredibly insightful, and for the first time in a while I took a moment to acknowledge what I’ve learned over the years and how my successes and failures have led to where I am today.
What was particularly interesting for me was the difference it made in taking a long-term view. Normally I reflect on a project, a piece of learning, from the last week, month or quarter, but going back over my whole career helped me see some of the ‘dots’ that Steve Jobs talked about.
Obviously, it shouldn’t take being on the cover of a magazine to be reminded of the benefits of strategic self-reflection. Especially when I am the one who is so often encouraging people to build their personal brand by identifying what they do well and which areas they might want to develop further.
So as a reminder to us all, I thought I would share a little process that can help with self-reflection. If you are completely new to self-reflection, or are like me and need a bit of a refresher, the Gibbs reflective cycle can provide a clear and straight-forward starting point. (Many other models are available and work equally well!)
Description – think pragmatically about what happened without embellishing with thoughts and feelings.
Feelings – now consider what were you thinking/feeling, and whether that might have factored into the situation.
Evaluation – think lists! What was good/bad about the situation?
Analysis – what sense can you make out of the situation? How was it in relation to your initial ideas?
Conclusion – be honest, and think about what else could you have done.
Action plan – consider all of the above and work out what you would do if the situation arose again. Do you need to develop new skills? Do some research, consult someone else… whatever it might be, make sure you are clear about it, and plan to do something about it.
Taking time out for self-reflection on a regular basis can have huge benefits for your self-development and emotional awareness, which in turn can promote deeper learning in your career. It’s relatively straightforward to do, and it provides a vital step towards successful professional and personal development. And take it from me, you don’t want to wait until you are featured in a magazine, when you can start today!
You can see how my renewed self-reflection journey started out in Training Journal’s February edition.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
Copyright © 2018 Bray Leino Learning