This series covers the 12 Habits of Effective Entrepreneurs. Click here to view previous articles.
Habit #4 – Reflection
People generally associate entrepreneurial business leaders with action, which is, indeed, key. This is what they see.
But what they don’t see is the intense opposite side of the coin, and that is reflection. Effective leaders take time regularly to think and reflect.
Taking time to pause and reflect feeds innovation, improvement, and issues resolution. And it also creates efficiency for future actions. Taking action ensures things get done; taking time to reflect ensures the right things get done.
How Do You Develop the Habit of Reflection?
In the Eisenhower Matrix, the Urgent and Important quadrant will always demand the most attention. These are things that must be done now. They cannot be ignored without serious consequences.
But reflection falls into the Important but not Urgent quadrant. This is the quadrant that has the power to minimize future urgencies and create smooth operations. It is the quadrant of profit, protection, and prevention; but it is easy to neglect in lieu of the more urgent matters.
Do your future self a favor, and schedule times now for regular reflection. A good cadence would include daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. At each level, you will reflect on different time horizons, and, together, these have the power to change your life and business.
For each time horizon, create a templated process.
Daily – What will you ask yourself at the end of each day? Did you master your daily routines to keep your business and life running smoothly? Did you make progress on at least one project? What are the one to three things you need to do tomorrow that will make the biggest impact?
Weekly – What do you need to review each week to keep your goals on track? Did you address each area of life and business with at least some measure of attention during the week? Is there anything you need to fix or adjust to make the next week better?
Monthly – What new ideas do you need to filter through? Are your milestones on track? What are your numbers telling you? How are your communications with your team and, personally, with your family and friends? Are there any important events coming up that you need to schedule now?
Quarterly – What did you accomplish in the last quarter, and what will you accomplish in the next quarter? Are these both aggressive and realistic based on your reflection of past performance and team potential? What needs to be in place to support your team for these goals?
Annually – This is where you take a higher-level view of your life and business. Do they still align with your mission, vision, and values? What are your big picture goals for the year? What are the needs? What improvements and innovations do you want to incorporate?
Take some time to think about each time horizon for your life and business and create a reflection template for each. Then, back to the first point, be sure each of these are scheduled for at least a year.
Why so far ahead?
Remember Eisenhower Matrix? If you schedule the second quadrant items well ahead, this reserves a place for them. While you may have to adjust here and there for urgent matters, it will begin to lessen the urgencies.
If you don’t have the habit of planning and reflection, it is either because you didn’t schedule it, plan it intentionally, or do it.
Without this last part of doing it, you will spend your life and business in a state of constant fire-fighting mode, where everything in your life and business is reactionary. Working in constant reactionary mode creates chaos and stress for yourself, your family, and your team. It results in higher costs and lower efficiency. In a worst-case scenario, it could mean the loss of your business, your family, or your sense of self.
Set Your Intention This Month to Establish the Habit of Reflection.
Take the three steps above as you prepare for the upcoming busy season. The season will come, along with its urgent and important demands for your time, whether you plan and reflect or not. But what you do now in establishing this habit can make all the difference!
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results