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Self-Reflection = Self-Improvement

By: Coach Mitchell

Every day we have experiences that are in some big or small way different than those we have previously encountered. We are not just spectators to those experiences. We thought, felt, and acted (or didn't act) during them.

Often we are not cognitive of what happened, so we miss out on the benefits of those experiences. If we don't notice what happened, we can't learn from them and miss opportunities to improve and grow!

What is Self-Reflection?

Self-reflection is a powerful improvement tool. Reflection is the ability to think back, observe ourselves in action, and to learn from it.

Typically, I try to have this deep moment of self-flection when I feel things didn't go as planned while coaching a class or having a private lesson/session with a client or a member. A good example is when someone seems confused and asks a lot of questions about something that I just explained at the whiteboard. I find myself thinking about what I did/said, what I thought, and felt at the time. After this I reassess and try to come up with a few ways to improve on what I may have miscommunicated/messed up.

How to Self-Reflect

Questions you can ask yourself:

What did I experience during the conversation?

What happened inside me during the conversation?

Same example, when someone has a million questions after I explain the Workout of the day at the whiteboard, if I reflect on the situation leading up to these questions, I might realize that it is maybe NOT that the member wasn't paying attention to my presentation, it is that I did not spend enough time at the board or that I didn't do a great job explaining what we are doing that day.

When I taught my first class, I remember having a lot of questions the minute after explaining the workout. To my thinking at this particular time; the workout is written on the board, I went over the movements, what could I have possibly missed? SO MUCH! Every week I tried my best to eliminate, little by little, all of the questions I may receive immediately after explaining the WOD (workout of the day). I figured out what questions I may receive and planned to make sure I explained the workout in a way so those questions were answered immediately, before a member had to ask me themselves individually.

Having the ability to look back and observe where and what you missed is vital. Even when you think you taught a great class, had a fantastic interview, or crushed a project at work, there is always more room for improvement, and you should always keep an open mind and never stop asking for feedback.

Self-Improvement: Applying What You Learned

Now follow up by reflecting on what you learned. Analyze your experience and compare to the models or principles that you want to follow. And last, you want to apply what you learned to your practice. Also, consider what options you have for the next time you face a similar situation.

We must learn from all our experiences, not just when we receive feedback.