Leaders and Reflection
The last couple of months have been a great time of reflecting. I ended 2011 believing that I needed to take some time out. The year had been a good one. I launched one of my sons, I launched a new book, got to work with some amazing people doing workshops, speaking, and in private practice. All in all, I was pleased with what I was doing and where I am headed.
At the same time, as I was contemplating the upcoming year, I wanted to make sure that my schedule was lining up with what was really important to me. One thing I have come to realize is that even when we believe we are doing really good things, sometimes the really good things are not the best use of our time.
The more important question for leaders might not be: Is this a good thing for me to be doing? The better question for leaders regarding their time might be: Am I doing what God has gifted and is calling me to do? The difference between these two concepts can be significant for leaders. Taking time out to reflect, to spend time in prayer, and seek God’s wisdom for our lives can often bring about much needed clarity for leaders.
If you’re sensing that taking some to reflect would be beneficial for you, than I encourage you to do it. I believe every leader can become more productive and influential in life, by taking time to reflect. Here are three reasons why leaders can benefit from taking time to reflect:
Leaders can gain greater clarity and perspective. When you intentionally aim to gain clarity, you can get it. One of the best ways to do this is to schedule time to do it. You may want to take a retreat and get out of town. If you can’t get away, take a weekend or two, to contemplate your life. You will want to schedule in some time alone. Be purposeful about how you go about this.
Leaders can make sure that their actions are lining up with their life goals. Contemplating the long-term effects of what we are doing is important. If leaders aren’t cognizant and intentional about where they are headed they can end up in unexpected places. Good questions to ask yourself:
- What are the most important things for me to accomplish in my life and leadership?
- What are my hopes and dreams?
- What do I believe God is calling me to?
Leaders can make certain that their core values are being reflected in their life. Life is moving quickly for many leaders. Sometimes things that are most important to leaders are not always being lived out. If for example, one of your core values is spending quality time with your family and you’re too busy to do so, than you’re missing out. Take time to write out your core values. Ask yourself: What is really important to me? What do I really value in life? Look at key domains in your life when answering these questions:
What I found during my time of reflection was that something I thought was a good thing to be doing was actually not the best use of my time. As I looked at my life, I realized that there were other things I could be doing that were better suited for my giftedness, life goals, core values, and where I believe God is calling me. I then made the necessary adjustments. It wasn’t easy to see at first; however, had I not taken the time to reflect and pray, I would have been on a different course this year. I am so glad I took the time.
What have you learned during times of reflection?