Why bother to reflect when it feels so hard to do?
August is a funny time of year in my experience. On the whole business activity tends to be quieter than other months as so much of the northern hemisphere heads off on holiday. The TV channels have absolutely nothing to offer and the garden is sort of taking care of itself apart from a bit of watering and dead heading (that’s a non-gardener speaking so watering and dead heading is my limit).
That change in pace often throws up the opportunity for more space to appear or perhaps I should say sneak up on us. And space offers us the opportunity to reflect, to stand back and consider ‘life’ more deeply. Life could literally be an aspect of our personal lives, it could be a tricky work-based issue or opportunity, or perhaps a challenge on more of a global, humanity level. Being prepared to ‘go there’ and open up that space can feel very scary and added to that, we may not feel equipped to do it.
What is that fear of ‘space’ and time to reflect? It often seems to be associated with change. If we allow the truth that lurks in the space of reflection to see the light of day, then maybe we will have to take a different course, open up a new path, make a difficult decision, one we’ve been successfully avoiding and dodging. Acknowledging that, in fact, there is something more important that wants to make contact with our conscious mind and affect our actions in a different way, is an act of courage.
Our world is in such need of that courage, of leaders who are prepared to think more deeply, to open themselves to the space where new, important insights can show up. It can feel easier to let the days, weeks and months pass by in the comfort of our routines no matter how tough they may feel – we get used to them and they become a comfort blanket. As leaders we need to be better than that. We have to see the fullness of the contribution we can make and to do that means we have to be prepared to step back, to create, or (if it’s August) utilise, the space to see more clearly and act more powerfully.
And if it’s a case of ‘how’ to do that…we could do worse than follow this simple ABC:
- Acknowledge that space is needed and has a value and find somewhere peaceful to access it
- Breathe rhythmically and mindfully for 5 minutes each and every day, ideally in a quiet space
- Capture the insights that will start to appear – not necessarily immediately in the silence but they will pop in at some point, somewhere, if we pay attention
Every day we are faced with more and more craziness which will only be solved if we all get off the merry-go-round and apply our talents to really changing the world – one reflection at a time.