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Seasoned by Reflection

You’re the coach. It’s the NCAA basketball finals. Your team is down by 1 point with 4 seconds to go. Do you want your all-star rookie or your 4-year, seasoned veteran to take the last shot? My guess is that you’ll choose the seasoned player, even if her stats are not as impressive as the rookie’s. Experience in performing under pressure can give the seasoned player better odds.

Seasoned players and leaders have spent years reflecting on the situations they’ve encountered, considering what worked and what did not, observing what was required to meet the challenges. Reflection is an important part of personal development. The goal of reflection is understanding, synthesis, and integration of experience. It is not about judging the past as bad or good, criticizing yourself, or self-aggrandizement. It’s taking time to think about and recognize what happened, accepting the past as it is. Then it’s taking the next step to learn from what happened and identify your role, behavior, and response.

Think there isn’t time to reflect? I use the time spent driving to-and-from events or meetings. I often take a walk in the early evening. And, I set aside specific time to write and think each week. All of life’s experiences can teach us things if we are open to reflecting and learning.

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