Self-Reflection: The Secret to 23% Improvement in 10 Days

Vampires grease back their hair because they have no reflection. Life sucks and you’re a mess if you never look in the mirror.

Socrates was right, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Self-reflection makes life worth living.

Self-reflection makes growth possible and contribution meaningful.

5 reasons leaders don’t practice self-reflection:

  1. The term self-reflection is for hippies and dope smokers.
  2. Who has time?
  3. Why bother? Just go do something.
  4. I wouldn’t know how if I wanted to.
  5. My imaginary self is better than my real self. Don’t burst my bubble.


The purpose and value of self-reflection:

A mirror bursts the bubble of imagination. Healthy self-reflection reveals self-distortion, self-delusion, self-inflation, or self-condemnation.

Fantasy is great as an escape, but a lousy lifestyle. You must know who you are in order to make meaningful contribution.

Fantasy might succeed, but lack of authenticity sucks satisfaction from life.

5 purposes of self-reflection:

#1. Pattern recognition.

For most of my life I’ve been “too busy” to waste time on self-reflection. The result – unrecognized self-defeating patterns.

#2. Increased self-awareness.

Meaningful contribution requires that you know the power of talent and the defeat of weakness.

#3. Correction and direction.

Ships never reach their destination apart from adapting as they go.

#4. Improved performance.

Customer service agents who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. (Di Stefano, Gino, et al.)

#5. Authenticity.

Self-reflection questions:

  1. What is satisfying about your current station in life? Dissatisfying?
  2. What do your satisfactions and dissatisfactions say about you? Your values? Priorities?
  3. Reflect on current satisfactions. What attitudes, decisions, and behaviors expand your life?
  4. Reflect on current dissatisfactions. How long have these dissatisfactions been with you? What attitudes, decisions, and behaviors sabotage your life?

How might leaders practice self-reflection?

What concerns you about practicing self-reflection?

Bonus material:

Why you Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even if You Hate Doing It) (HBR)

3 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Reflection (USC)