The Importance of Self-Reflection Part 2

In part one of our two part series of self-reflection, we discussed that self-reflection is an important exercise for your employees. In Part 2, we discuss how to do self-reflection.

The importance of personal goals
In simple terms, self-reflection will help employees clarify where they are and where they want to go. When they know these things, they can develop short- and long-term goals that will give them a path to where they want to be, rather than simply leaving it up to chance. 1

Goals are important and beneficial. A report called “New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory” noted that the progress employees make toward goals is a major predictor of their feelings of well-being and success in their work. 2

Their personal mission statement
A valuable tool that can help employees in the self-reflection process is a simple statement that outlines who they are, what they believe, and what they want to achieve from life. Like a company’s mission statement, it provides guidance they can consider whenever they must make a decision.

Employees can draft a personal mission statement in their mind, but it’s far more effective to write it down. That way, they can review it regularly, or share it with people they trust to keep them accountable. When others see them acting in ways that aren’t consistent with their mission, they can point them out. Having a written statement also gives employees something to look at when they need motivation or want to measure their progress. 3

Whether their personal mission statement is brief or detailed, it should address several key points:

  • What defines them as an individual
  • How they define success
  • What matters most to them right now
  • How they can make a difference in others’ lives
  • Their short- and long-term goals 4

Other people can help
It’s easy for employees to focus on how they see themselves or what they think of as their strengths and shortcomings. However, there’s often more insight to be found in how others view them.

That’s why it can be a good idea for employees to ask trusted workers and colleagues about how they view their leadership, if applicable, their strengths, and their weaknesses. They probably don’t want to ask all the employees at their location. They can keep it simple by asking two simple questions:

1. If you were in my position, what’s the first thing you’d change and why?
2. What can I do to be a better person, a better employee?

Those questions may be simple, but the answers they receive can provide plenty of insight into what others think they do well and where they need to improve. 5

Practicing self-reflection
We created this downloadable worksheet to help employees start the process. Have employees review it before they begin reflecting to ensure that the questions address what matters most to them. And be sure they write their responses down, because that will create a reference they can review later and use as a measurement for their success in achieving their goals.

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1. Commission on Dietetic Registration, “Professional Self-Reflection Portfolio Guide,” undated. ; 2., op. cit. ; 3. ibid. ; 4. Murti, Lata and Ringenbach, Kathleen, “Creating Work-Life Balance: Using Personal Reflection to Guide Personal and Professional Growth,” The Scholarly Teacher, February 27, 2018. ; 5. Cebollero, op. cit.

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