Reflection 7: Output and action or what do I do with my reflective output?
Over the last 6 blogs, we have shared insights into how to be more reflective and support reflection in ourselves as well as our colleagues. We hope that you have felt inspired or at least had your reflective strategies validated by the ideas and sources of information that we have shared. In this our 7th and final blog in the series, we highlight a selection of strategies for action……having reflected, what next? How can we make effective use of the outcomes?
In Reflection 2, we highlighted Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle (1998) as a structured approach in which conclusions and actions feed through into improved/refined/changed actions and behaviours. Reflection needs to be ongoing and embedded in our practice. As Drucker said ‘Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection, will come even more effective action’: it’s a continuous cycle of improvement. However, as humans we run the risk of losing focus and becoming distracted so it is important to identify a range of actions that will help to support implementation and sustained action.
- Plan concrete steps that will move you forward towards your goals – actions that are clear, realistic and achievable. The much used SMART mnemonic (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) has value here, not as a straightjacket that pressurises us to judge success or failure, but as a way of thinking purposefully about goals.
- Incentivise yourself to achieve – identify what motivates you and work with that. In his book ‘Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ Dan Pink (2009) identifies the need for humans to direct their own lives. The power that comes from within, with the space and scope to perform and ‘Listening to our own voice’.
- Positive attitude and commitment towards change and being proactive in your reflection and actions: Carol Dweck’s (2007) message ‘Go With Growth’ is underpinned by what she calls a “growth mindset” in which people believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. “Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a test of their worthiness. Growth mindsets see the same encounters as opportunities to improve.”
- Embed reflection into your life – In Reflection 3 we spoke about mindfulness, walking, seizing small moments of personal time. Make a start in creating your calm mind with the Headspace website/app which provides some free introductory online sessions to being more mindful: https://www.headspace.com/
- Access support to help you – find sources of support and feedback: a mentor to share their experiences and advice; a coach to provide you with planned reflective space and time and, when needed, a challenge to your thinking (https://www.level7live.com/coaching/) ; a friend who you trust to ‘tell it like it is’!
- Accountability – it’s up to you! You have the power to make changes. We believe that by focusing on our 7 aspects of reflection you will feel empowered to take charge.
At this festive time of year we hope that you have time to relax and to have some reflective space to recharge you for the new year ahead.
Merry Christmas from the Level Seven team and we wish you a reflective and prosperous 2019!