When we are preparing for a change, whether it is a change we know about, such as an upcoming move, job change, new addition to the family, or just recognition that we want or need something different in our lives, it can be really helpful to our preparations to reflect.
Now it might sound counter-intuitive to first look back in order to prepare a clearer path forward; but really, reflection is a great way to gain clarity and confidence about the future, with the added bonus of also helping to prevent the reoccurrence of certain pitfalls to which we may be susceptible.
This week we’re going to take a look at three different reflection-focused exercises I frequently use and recommend; Timelines, Accept/Reject, and the View Finder Perceptions Model.
What is reflection?
I define reflection as the process of considering past experiences from the perspective of current life.
It can be informal, such as thinking about a certain person or situation from our past that popped into our heads, or telling autobiographical stories to our friends; or it can be more formalized through activities such as focused writing, or talking with a therapist.
Every time we prepare or update our resume, we are to some extent reflecting, as we typically have to think about our experiences in order to hone in on events and accomplishments.
Yet, this type of reflection tends to remain at the surface. We usually don’t explore our perceptions and beliefs, what worked and didn’t, and the reasons why we found our experiences enjoyable or not when working on our resumes.
Why dig deeper?
There are certain advantages to doing just that - exploring the emotional aspects of our memories - however.
While we might not want to do it at the same time as our resumes, it can be beneficial to reflect when we contemplate finding a new job, changing careers, or prepare for any significant change, as well as when we feel restless and want to make a change but aren’t quite sure about the specific direction.
Reflection, especially when focused, can help us to define our course, as well as provide direction on where to focus and what to avoid, resulting in a tailored change that is specifically designed to work for us.
Although reflection can benefit any change, I especially recommend reflecting when attempting to make a significant change that requires a quantum leap in order to succeed.
In these situations, we are attempting to stop a historical pattern, and the more we can understand about how the pattern began and embedded itself into our lives, the more we can become empowered to reinforce more appropriate patterns that support our intended change.
Pushing through discomfort to gain clarity.
I have found reflection comes easier for some than for others. And where some of us welcome the insight and ‘aha’ moments deep reflection can offer, others avoid it like the plague because of the discomfort it can bring, and perhaps because they're not interested in having the sensation that can often accompany this type of work; one similar to that of sticking our heads in a giant bell while it is being struck.
Yes, it can be uncomfortable, yes it can knock us off of our center, but by sticking with it reflection can also bring us great clarity and understanding, increased confidence and a stronger sense of balance that is much more difficult to achieve without first going through the rough stuff.
How this week's tools can help.
The reflection tools that will be included this week can be helpful to reflectors of all types; from those who are practiced to those who are not.
The tools are intended to help us hone in on certain patterns, and are guided in a way that less structured reflection, such as when writing in our journals, might not offer.
They also are intended to be easy, with the hope of minimizing much, if not all, of the discomfort some of us feel when examining our past.
So, if you’re game and want to learn more, stick around this week for some approaches to help you get started on your way down memory lane!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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