A perfect time for reflection


Most of us are super busy during the holiday season — getting ready, traveling, celebrating in all sorts of ways. There’s lots of emotion in the air (and often a mix of emotions). 

Happily, we get a short respite between Christmas and the start of the new year. 

I treasure this space. With festivities behind us and so many people on holiday, things get quiet. I find this to be a perfect time for reflection. 

Reflection is something most people never get to doing. Life is always hectic! But when you make time to slow down and look back great things happen.

The benefits of taking time to reflect

Meaningful reflection requires time and space. You must slow down and get quiet, and that in itself is an important gift you can give yourself. 

Taking time to reflect enables you to gain perspective. Rather than drifting from day to day and week to week until a year has sped by without any insight, when you create focused, quiet time you can see so much! With thought and attention, you can consider what worked in your life, and appreciate yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. You can also spot the patterns or habits that kept you stuck. 

The insights gleaned from reflection afford you tremendous opportunities for moving into your future. This is a time to consider what you want to build on, as well as what you want to do less of — or stop doing altogether. Consider the qualities you need to cultivate or nurture to live your best life. Start to consider the goals you want to set, and how you can reach them.

5 tips and suggestions for meaningful reflecting  

Why not create a special ritual for this process? You might even want to begin an annual tradition of reflecting. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Set aside some time for yourself at a particular time of day and find a place you like — a cozy nook, in front of a fire, a special chair — to settle into.

  2. You might want to ask someone to be a partner. Sitting together, you can do some thinking and writing, and then share your insights and ideas with one another.

  3. Designating a lovely journal for reflecting can make this a more special experience. And the journal can also be your place to note reflections at regular intervals during the year. (You might reflect monthly or at the start of each new season.) Your periodic reflections will help you stay clear and aware as you move through the year.

  4. You can approach the process of reflecting in a range of interesting ways. One possibility for getting started is go through your calendar and review the entries for each month, then note insights that come to mind. 

    Another approach is to create lists as your jumping off point. Try noting your top 10 highlights of the year or top 10 lessons learned or the 10 most important things you want to stop doing in the future. Next, jot down WHY each thing is on your list, and what you learned related to the entry. Before long, you’ll have a rich array of insights.

I would love to hear about how you reflect on the year that’s winding down, and what your big aha’s and take-aways are. Leave a comment here, or email me.

I would be happy to hear from you if you want to talk about how coaching can support you to live with clarity, intention, and commitment this year. I welcome you to get in touch to talk with me about how I can help.

I wish you and yours a New Year of living big!

Being thoughtful about what we choose

It’s been a while since I have added to my blog. Ideas have been abundant. And, time has not been an issue — there is always time, the same 24 hours in every day, guaranteed. The bottom line is that I chose to do other things, even as my heart yearned to focus its attention on my coaching practice and all the ideas that I want to share.

Why would I choose to do what is contrary to the pull in my heart? Why do so many of us do that and feel the same frustrations?

I have been working on understanding this issue for a long time. Even as I have come to understand it much more clearly, I have not found it easy to change my old patterns.

I have always been interested in and excited about many things. Unlike some people, who only want to go deep into their work or an interest that consumes their attention, I have always been fascinated by and attracted to learn about a wide array of topics. And, in our media-saturated world, it’s become easier than ever to hear about and get involved with interesting activities. It’s easy to watch a new TED talk that someone recommended. Or pick up a new book discussed on NPR. Or get involved with a political race that aligns with my values. Or support a cause championed by someone I care about. Indulging in all of these seemingly small magnets for my attention adds up to an enormous amount of time and diffused focus.

As well, there’s another challenge I have faced for ages — saying “yes” to many requests that are not aligned to the work I want and need to be doing. This is an entrenched habit. It’s been tough for me even to slow down and consider the true scope of requests before making a commitment to take them on. I love helping people who need my skills and seek my participation in projects I believe in. And, I’ve become known as someone who has almost always said “yes”. So, there are lots of requests to be fielded.

Recently, two such projects expanded beyond the scope that I had (loosely) envisioned. And, although I did not want to work on them concurrently, I did not insist on some relevant pacing that would have enabled me do them sequentially. These projects are terrific, meaningful, and have been rewarding, but they have taken a big a toll on me. Sometimes it takes such a moment to see the light.

I have now set new boundaries. I’ve made and announced new decisions. I am being absolutely clear — to myself and to others — that I am no longer accepting projects that take me away from my core work.

And, I am limiting the amount of distraction I am letting into my life on a daily basis. I am slowing down to get more done, with clarity and focus. It feels absolutely terrific.

While my two big projects are not yet wrapped up, I can see the finish line for both. I will be proud and happy when they are complete. And I feel joy to be saying goodbye to doing any more work that does not align with the purpose that matters most to me.

My shoulders feel lighter, as does my heart!

If these issues resonate for you, and you’d like to share your experiences, ways of responding, or questions, I’d be glad to hear from you.