Reflection is one of the key habits of a transformational leader. The Transformational Cycle of the Science of the Positive tells us to focus on Spirit first, followed by Science, Action, and, finally, on the Returns hope to achieve. Before you start thinking about the Spirit with which you want to start the New Year, you might benefit by spending some time reflecting on the Returns of 2018. The Seven Core Principle reflections below can help you look back as you plan ahead.
Choose to be positive when you look back over the past year. When we reflect on the past with a positive outlook, we grow, learn, and gain energy for the future. “Failures” are simply experiments with outcomes we did not expect. Are there positive lessons to be learned from last year’s negative experiences?
The lessons of our past become meaningful in the present. By staying present and mindful, we can see the past more objectively. Think back over the past year: did you spend time looking backward or rushing ahead? How can you spend more time in the present moment in the year to come?
Examine the past year with the scrutiny of an objective investigator. This will allow you to ask new questions of yourself — perhaps ones you have been afraid to ask before. There is much we can learn from our experiences, if we can set aside our preconceptions and misperceptions. What wisdom have you gained over the past year that could be helpful in the future?
Reflection can help us refine our purpose, and work towards it with renewed determination. If we start from a place of compassion, we can use reflection to understand and grow. What happens when you think about your past year with an attitude of compassion? How can you use these insights to refine your purpose for next year?
Although we will never reach perfection, we can always learn from what we’ve done in the past. Ask yourself where you could have devoted more energy to being perfected over the last year. In what areas did you improve? Where can you do better?
Reflection takes time and energy. It is through proactive allocation of our most precious resources (focus, time, and energy) that we can learn and grow. Did you take time for reflection over the past year? How could you be more proactive about building time for reflection into your life going forward?
Living from our deepest passions allows us cherish our successes and laugh at our mistakes. Celebrating the goodness that we have experienced sustains us. We must dare to be inspired by growth. What passions sustained you over the past year? What passions have you lost connection with that you could rekindle?