Some people may not find it important to self-reflect, or don't have the discipline to regularly make goals and track progress. Self-assessing is specifically for people who want to bring themselves to their own elite place. Especially if you live day-in and day-out in a fast-paced, chaotic environment, it's very easy to get distracted and watch days, weeks and even months slip through your fingers.
To regain control and ensure you're making time for what truly are priorities in your personal and work life, it's important to take time each day to reflect on your goals, the progress you're making and what factors might be holding you back from achieving them. If you're a leader or in a position of authority, you owe it to your organization and to yourself to regularly "check up from the neck up."
For entrepreneurs, in particular, this should be a regular function of everyday life. Entrepreneurs have a unique challenge they often need to contend with — sometimes you are your own worst enemy. They can be their business's biggest obstacle — their thinking, their habits, their inflexible opinions about how things should be, their work ethic, their lack of knowledge — any of these factors, if they aren't aware of them, can inhibit progress.
Are you the strangle-hold on your business or are you the reason the business is succeeding? All it takes to find out is a little self-assessment.
CREATE YOUR OWN ROUTINE
How often and how intense you self-assess depends on the type of person you are. For some, keeping a daily log can seem daunting and challenging to maintain. Meanwhile, others — like myself — thrive when obsessively tracking progress. The key to effectively self-reflecting and achieving your goals is to maintain a regular check-in — whether its daily, weekly, once a quarter or once a year — and stick to it.
No matter how often you self-reflect, the most important function is that you set goals that are achievable and include a target timeframe for completion. Some goals may be broad and intimidating to look at. To combat this, break them down further into smaller milestones that you need to hit along the way and include a target deadline for those as well. Adding milestones and deadlines will help hold you accountable and keep you on track toward achieving the goal.
You don't need a fancy app to track your progress. Simply pull out a notebook that you can carry around with you or keep easily accessible. There are plenty of self-assessing notebooks available, or you can use a clean notebook to plot out your goals and keep track of your progress. Search online templates for inspiration and customize a planner that will help you succeed. Or, if you plan on self-reflecting only a few times a year, write down your goals and check-in points on a piece of paper. Keeping this paper out in the open will help keep you mindful of your priorities and on track with your goals.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
All of this is easier said than done. Regular check-ups are a great idea and something many people may be truly interested in starting. A simple online search for "self-reflection questions" will pull up several articles to help spur some ideas. Here are a few to consider as you begin:
• How can I add more of my true self to my business or my career?
• Am I treating my body with respect?
• What opportunity did I miss? Can I let go and move on?
• What has fear kept me from doing? What have I been avoiding?
• Am I using my talents to their full extent?
• Am I putting enough into my relationships?
• Am I engaging in worthy activity? Am I using my time wisely?
CALL BULLSH*T ON YOURSELF
This journal is something that you are utilizing as a tool to help you. It's for you; no one else is going to read it. You need to be honest with yourself and willing to call bullsh*t if you find that you're sugarcoating your checkup. Once that happens, it snowballs and your self-assessments are no longer effective.
SEEK OUTSIDE SUPPORT
It's common to seek motivation and support from others, whether it's a business coach, mentor, family member or friend. Having a support structure of people who are aware of your goals can help you take the right actions toward successfully achieving them. Also, consider attending at least one conference a year that will help develop you, your life goals or your career. This might mean that you're out of pocket for three to five days, but being in this environment and soaking up all the information will help recharge your battery and make sure you're getting better at being you.
The purpose of self-reflection isn't about winning in business or your career. It's about winning in life. The winning score in business could be your bottom line. The winning score in life isn't that different for everyone — did I go to bed with a smile on my face or did I go to bed biting my finger nails? There's a big difference between those two types of emotions. Being concerned about your business or career can help drive you to happiness, because that could be what motivates you to do something great or smart or bold. The goal is to get to your place of happiness. You have to be intentional about it or you'll watch life pass you by.
This article originally appeared in the January | February 2017 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Self-reflection helps you win in business and in life" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.