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Inquisitive Reflection – wonder, ponder, think, question then question some more.

Author: Michelle Fitzsimons

Each month we have a focus at Threedom both personally and for our social media. This month it's reflection and how to really get to the nub of the issue.

This month we’re talking about reflection and on the back of my last post proclaiming I was going to indulge in a little myself I had an old coaching client ring me and ask if I could squeeze her in to help with her own recent reflections.

At the beginning of our conversation, she was adamant she took time to reflect and learn. She ended up spending an hour reflecting on her reflections. In recent weeks she has found herself scrambling around to try and regain and maintain some routines, balance and maybe even forward momentum which is why she wanted to speak to me. She had made all sorts of promises to herself during lockdown and she realised they were disappearing fast.

Her reflections after a few weeks of lockdown had led to her recognising she would benefit from trying to:

  • Embrace the moment
  • Work flexibly
  • Relish the simple things with the people who are really important to her
  • Be outside more

Yet now she is busy at work. The kids are back at school with the constant threat of being back home to isolate and the pressure to catch up on the months they missed. The weather isn’t great. Recession is looming and she is in a local lockdown with no end in sight? All of a sudden, her obvious changes seem a little harder to hold on to.

All her ambitions of April were clear and easy when the sun was shining, her family were all at home and work was quiet. They were pretty much forced on her, not a conscious decision and not really the result of high -quality reflection. At the time she had suddenly felt better so common sense would dictate keep doing what she was doing. Wouldn’t it? At the time she didn’t dig deeper and really understand what the changes meant and what she was getting from them. Her reflection certainly wasn’t inquisitive.

What do I mean by inquisitive? It’s the child like innocence and curiosity to keep asking “Why?” Or “So what?”. You can use much more complicated questions but why complicate things? These really work. No nonsense, to the point and thought provoking. Let’s face it anyone who has been exposed to young children will understand the power of “Why?”. The reason I like them, and this could be doing me out of a job, is that they are easy to use for yourself to make sure your reflection is truly inquisitive not just reactive.

Applying these simple questions to her April ambitions my client was able to get to the nub of what she needed. The lockdown has given her the opportunity but what did her new found good intentions actually mean. What she found out was:

Embrace the moment – actually meant she likes variety and to be spontaneous because it creates a sense of mischief and freedom

Work flexibly – actually meant manage her own workload and that of her team on outcomes not tasks and time. Develop a proactive, planned way to do her work and know when she has finished. Schedule in non-work time to the working week.

Relish the simple things -actually meant embracing the inner introvert and appreciating quiet time as productive and valuable not wasted. Reading a book for the fun of it is as crucial to her as seeing her friends.

Be outside more – genuinely was that make it as important as eating, sleeping, working and all the other essentials.

The thing that has been added to the list and I would argue the most important is to remain inquisitive with reflection. As my mother would say “If a job is worth doing it is worth doing right”  which means time to reflect isn’t just about sitting with a cuppa and daydreaming about what could have been nor is it about beating yourself up about what you did wrong or just didn’t do. It should look at the good the bad and the ugly with a desire for forward momentum. It needs purpose and honesty. What are you thinking about and why?

So where in your diary is the time to ponder, wonder, think, question, question and question some more? When it comes to reflecting on your work would your boss allow that as a “task” in your calendar? It is after all how we learn.

Want any help then just give me a shout or just engage suitably curious 7 year old. That should do the trick ?

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