4 Tools for Self-Reflection Every Leader Needs
Self-reflection enables self-discovery. You must know yourself before you can enjoy giving yourself to the world.
Apart from self-reflection conformity is self-destructive.
“If you are not self-reflective, how can you truly know yourself? If you do not know yourself, how can you lead yourself? And if you cannot lead yourself, how can you possibly lead others?” Harry Kraemer
Peer pressure isn’t just for kids. You wear a suit to work when you’d prefer jeans because of peer pressure. People in wealthy neighborhoods drive similar cars, wear similar styles, and do similar things because of the bandwagon effect.
Culture building creates conformity through peer pressure. Conform with awareness. Conformity apart from self-awareness is suppression. Choose conformity willingly and you find enjoyment in alignment.
You lose yourself when external influences define you.
Apart from self-reflection useful feedback becomes subjugation. What makes someone’s opinion more important than yours? Power? Prestige?
You can’t bring your best self to others when you’ve lost yourself to external influences.
4 Tools for self-reflection:
#1. Awareness of influence.
You begin to find yourself when you notice external influences.
What is influencing you right now? Is it internal motivation or external?
It’s OK to conform if you do it knowingly.
#2. Pattern recognition.
What do you repeatedly feel? Record your emotional state every morning for two weeks? What emotional patterns do you notice? How might emotional patterns reflect people pleasing instead of your best self? How do emotional patterns reflect who you are?
What are you doing when time stands still? What does that say about you?
You find yourself when you lose yourself. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it Flow.
We discover who we are in connection. Isolation leads to self-deception.
Sometimes others know who we are before we do.
What are some tools for self-discovery?
How might people practice structured self-reflection?
Where Leadership Starts – The Surprising Practice You Can Begin Today
4 Questions to Ask at the End of the Week for Self-Reflection
The Secrets to Self-Leadership
How do you become more self-aware?
–Start by being brutally honest with yourself when it comes to admitting what you’re thinking and feeling.
–Be open to feedback from others. Listen and consider their comments.
–Every day ask yourself a series of questions to gain a deeper understanding of one of your thoughts or behaviors.
–Practice meditation. It’s a good habit to help you become more aware of the present moment.
For a more formal process, try the Johari Window. It’s a four-quadrant box: known to self and others, known to self but not others, known to others but not self, and not known to anyone. The goal is to have as much as possible in the first box (known to everyone) and as little as possible in the last box (not known to anyone). You will always be surprised at what you learn.
A good reminder for all of us. Take the time to slow down and honestly look at ourselves.
One example, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises, is the Daily Examen:
Presence – As I review my day, allow me to truly see myself.
Gratitude – What am I especially grateful for in this past day?
Review – When/how did I experience joy? What troubled me? What challenged
me? Where and when did I pause?
Response – In light of my review, what is my response?
The Daily Examen can be done at any time – while on a peaceful walk, as you go to bed at the end of the day, when you are brushing your teeth, etc. It doesn’t take long and can be a valuable daily activity to ground you in your truth.
I tripped on the line “What makes someone’s opinion more important than yours?” Our culture worships our self, but I’ve lived with myself for 52 years, and I’m certain there are times when someone else’s opinion is more important than mine. Someone with greater knowledge/truth. More experience. Better character.
But that doesn’t negate the point you are trying to make. Love the post… makes me…self-reflect!