Have you been running a million miles an hour, trying to keep up with the busyness of the season? Many entrepreneurs, especially this time of year, feel like they are so busy they’re starting to lose control. Losing control–over your schedule, your priorities, your ability to manage all of the details–isn’t just stressful, it’s a big red flag. Recognize the symptom of overwhelm as a cue to STOP and take control. In just 15 minutes, you can move from feeling overrun by your schedule to being back in control. You can empower yourself to be in charge again with a few minutes of reflection.
Empowered reflection is an ongoing, even routine process of paying attention to your progress–especially as a leader and entrepreneur.
Basically, it means taking a time out to think about your vision and ask yourself, “How’s it going?” You step out of the busy-ness of life to ask yourself a series of reflective questions about your life and leadership. If you do this regularly, say once a month or even a few times a year, you will keep your finger on the pulse of your development as a leader and your progress toward your goals.
By practicing empowered reflection you make it a habit to assess your progress. To get the most out of your empowered reflection, try bringing the following questions to your next meeting, or schedule a 15-minute block for yourself to write them out:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What would you like to change?
- What accomplishments have you achieved?
- What lessons have you learned?
- Are the goals still the right goals?
- What do you still need to know or learn?
- How might you be sabotaging your own success?
- What do you need to start doing, keep doing, and stop doing?
- What’s next?
Every time you go through this process, you are putting a stake in the ground for what you want. You are declaring, “My vision is important to me, and I’m willing to continue thinking about it and reaching for it until I achieve it.” Practicing this form of reflection on a regular basis is a technique for accountability and focus.
Empowered reflection isn’t hard. It doesn’t take long, and it doesn’t cost a dime. You can practice empowered reflection while driving, jogging, walking through the park, meditating, lying down, or even sitting in the bath. You can almost think of this practice as “visiting your vision” to see how you’re doing. That way it never gets forgotten.
Whenever you’re feeling detached from your long term vision, whenever you could use a boost to get back into action, or whenever you want to step back to get an overall perspective on your progress, take a few minutes to run through the ten questions above. Doing so will resurface the motivation you need to make your vision a reality.
The previous article appeared on Inc.com today as a part of my column, “Behind The Desk.” Look out for new columns every week!