Updated: May 7, 2020
Time is a precious commodity. I feel it more-so now than I did in my 20's and 30's, and during my childhood time really did seem as though it was standing still. Psychologists have found that this phenomenon is because of the scale of novelty of learning new things, visiting new places and acquiring new skills. These activities make it seem as though time progresses at a slower place. Correspondingly, we can alter our perception of time through keeping our brain active, ongoing continuous learning and exploration.
It's important to make the time at this stage of the year to take stock by thoroughly reflecting on your whole self ~ behaviours, actions and output ~ in order to intentionally slow down and meet the frenetic pace of life with your deliberate pace. When we're not regularly reflecting, the alternative is that we get to the midpoint of the year and sheepishly wonder where the last six months have gone. Sound familiar?
I find that having moments of reflection help with managing time and they also help in terms of direction, motivation, and course-correction. There is no ideal time to reflect, but getting into the habit of reflecting daily, weekly, monthly etc. is a good framework to start with.
Create Your "Ta-Da" List
You may have ticked a number of items off of your 'to-do' list over the last six months, but what about your 'ta-da' list? Sue Langley from @thelangleygroup introduced me to a 'ta-da' list and it's brilliant for both recognising and evoking a sense of pride in all that you've accomplished and prioritising what remains on that to-do list. This is a great starting point for your mid-year reflection as it enables you to take stock in addition to cultivating a number of positive emotions.
What Went Well?
Over the last six months, what has gone well for you? (create a list). Looking at your list, ask yourself why those things went well and notice if any of your strengths were harnessed. This is a daily practice developed by Dr. Martin Seligman and colleagues (known as 3 good things) and it can definitely be carried out weekly, monthly, quarterly and bi-annually. Finally ask yourself, how did you feel when these things went well?
What Didn't Go Well?
Being honest with yourself and recognising what didn't go well is necessary for both personal and professional growth. We're not all super heroes, even though we may try to be. Ask yourself what you failed at? When did your instinct lead you astray? Who did you disappoint? Posing these questions and then exploring the why can provide both learning and course for the future.
How Have I Improved My Relationships?
We're all guilty of getting caught up in the day-to-day, but are we making time for our social well-being? Have you made time for your loved ones and offered them your presence or have you been perpetually pre-occupied? How about your colleagues; have you focused on strengthening your relationships with them in order to cultivate both better working relationships and a better working environment? Lastly and most importantly, what about your relationship with yourself ~ have you been kind and compassionate to your whole self? Have you taken the time to nurture yourself? If you're not putting yourself first on this list of relationships, all of your other relationships will likely suffer as they're not getting you at your best.
"Other people matter." Christopher Peterson
What Do I Need to Start Doing? (& Perhaps Stop Doing)
Now this may seem like a big ask, we all have heaps of things we 'should' start doing, but what do we want to start doing? How do we want to feel and what can we do to help us feel that way? What do you wish you had taken more time for? Be realistic, there are only 24 hours in a day, but you can use your time more wisely through time boxing, you can habit-stack, you can align your goals with your values and get intentional about how you spend your days and ultimately how you show up.
When Human Nature Challenges You.....
You will be challenged. EVERY day. Prepare for the challenges. Know what your response will be when they arise. Discipline isn't easy...but it's a trait that you can build. Every act of discipline builds your discipline muscle. I use two responses to my challenges and I'm happy to share them with you. Whenever I'm tempted I ask myself "will this serve me" and when I'm not motivated I say "this is not a priority" (this being my goal) and often these phrases jolt me back into discipline. I fall off the wagon every now and then, but I don't let it discourage me and get right back on. Self-compassion is an enabler and it will help you move forward and make progress every time.
In Formula 1 pit stop crews spend between 1.9-4 seconds supporting their driver to get back onto the track to perform at their peak. We all need pit stop crews and possessing both the insight and vulnerability to not only admit this, but tap into your pit stop crew is what will separate you from the rest on the 'track'.
In summary I encourage you to regularly reflect, make the necessary adjustments, continue to learn & explore, and utilise the resources that you need to propel you to your best self.
Kirsten works with individuals, teams and organisations in performance coaching and consulting. Contact her today to tap into your potential and make her a valued member of your pit stop crew!