Something you have probably come across at various stages in life is the idea of self-reflection.
Although it might sound like quite an obscure idea, it can be as simple as thinking about something you have done and wondering…
- What was I able to achieve?
- What could I have done better?
- How will I do things differently next time?
This simple practice is implemented in many settings, through things such as school reports, performance reviews, awards ceremonies, and more – all of which encompass this idea of reflection.
So, why should we reflect? Self-reflection allows us to be conscious in our experiences.
It is a process which is important for personal, academic and professional growth. It’s how we move from just experiencing something, to understanding it and how we can do things differently next time.
Self-reflection is something which we champion at Digital Innovators and is incorporated throughout the DI Skills Programme. This might be through a team debrief following a presentation with their project employer, or a personal task set at the end of a skills training session on communication.
Reflection, however, is not really that effective on its own. Ideally, there will be two more steps to accompany this action: review and renew.
To review is to assess something with the intention of instituting change if necessary.
The review stage is more evaluative than the reflect stage. After all, we can reflect upon almost anything without necessarily generating an outcome, such as self-improvement.
Of course, improvement is not the only outcome you can strive for. Simply identifying your strong points and maintaining them might be the outcome you desire.
But if you want the process of reflection to have a real impact, for example, to make sure you perform better in your next exam, you can incorporate the review stage into your self-reflection practice.
Let’s go back to the example of an exam, and review it. Try to think of the following:
- What areas did I score highly on?
- Which topics do I need to study more closely?
- How could I have answered that question differently?
- What can I do to better prepare for my next exam?
To renew is to regenerate, rebuild, to make changes.
Once you have reviewed something, you can begin to renew.
This is the most practical stage. You have identified what went well and what didn’t, so you can actively make some changes.
For example, let’s imagine that you recently pitched an idea to your bosses at work. You were successful and this idea is being taken forward, but upon reflection, you think you could have prepared more answers to possible questions and provided more statistics which backed up your pitch.
With these changes identified, you can put them into practice as you prepare for your next pitch – and that is the renew stage!
Try it out!
The ideas discussed in this blog can be realigned to the “What, So What, Now What” Method of self-reflection. You can download our resource sheet here to give it a go for yourself!
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