Individual reflection helps to pick apart complex experiences, so that the successes of the experience can be repeated or improved, and the failures provide learning opportunities for growth. The format is flexible, taking you through key stages of the reflection process, and ending with key action points.
This is an individual exercise. You are facilitating your own reflective process. First, create the right physical and mental state for reflection. Finish any pressing tasks. Send any important emails. If possible, go somewhere quiet.
You don’t have to be too rigid with this process. Reflection, once you are in the habit, can be done almost anywhere. A key to successful reflection is to follow a flow of the key stages of the process, and to make space in your life for calm, focused contemplation.
Check-in with yourself: How do I feel? How was the day? What’s on my mind? Take a few moments to get into become present in the moment. Decide what experience your reflection will focus on (e.g. an experience that has recently taken place, a social interaction, a recent event, etc.)
You may wish to write down reflections with a pen and paper, free from the distractions of computers, phones, or tablets. You may want to set timings for each of the following questions, if time is of any concern:
- What happened during the experience?
- How did I feel and what were my reactions?
- What insights or conclusions can I draw from the experience? What did I learn?
- How can I apply what I learned to improve future experience? What actions can I take based on what I learned?
If relevant, set deadlines for each of the actions you have identified during your reflections and share them with a colleague. Your colleague can support you by holding you accountable to complete them.