Mirror Mirror: Taking the Time for Self-Reflection

“Make peace with the mirror and watch your reflection change.” – Unknown

All too often we don’t make peace.  It’s far simpler and easier to see who you want to see in the mirror, instead of who you actually are. mirror mirror: taking the time for self-reflection

Without taking the time for self-reflection, though, we only glance at ourselves.  Why is this?

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Byerly recently wrote on evaluating the Army’s new Commander Assessment Program and how it is forcing leaders to reflect. He noted:

“Unfortunately, reflection is a lost art.  Many of us are too preoccupied to make time for it……also, reflection can be hard.  I have several regrets about how I handled situations, and it is not always easy to revisit these moments.”[1]

Without making time for reflection, we are missing a huge opportunity to learn and grow.  But it takes discipline and persistence to make self-reflection a habit, a significant part of our daily lives.  Here are a few proven tools to develop your ability to see yourself more clearly:

  1. Start a Daily Journal. Use your phone to make notes; or go old school and write your thoughts down on paper in a notebook.  Read it at the end of the day, and the end of the week.
  2. Put Self-Reflection on your Calendar. I recommend 15 minutes a day, alone, without distractors.  Think about your Personal Mission Statement and ask yourself, “Am I walking the talk?  What did I learn about myself today?”  And perhaps more importantly, “What am I going to do about it?”
  3. Actively Seek Feedback. Use Power Questions in conversations, such as “Where do you think I can do more to help us succeed?”

Self-reflection is really an audit process and it only works if you stay with it.  It’s not a personal beat-down, and I’m far from advocating we try to undermine our sense of worth or purpose.  Instead, I’m suggesting we add self-reflection as a key component of our learning “tool kit.”

The good news is, you can start on this path today, and begin to “make peace with the mirror.”  Commit to the process.  Start taking the time for self-reflection.  Enjoy the journey!

[1] LTC Joe Byerly “The Hidden Benefit of the Army’s New Commander Assessment Program,” in From the Green Notebook, November 10, 2020.

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