In the world of startups it is so easy to get lost in the every day, and forget what the future can hold. But It is critical for us as leaders to take the time to reflect on where we came from on a daily basis.
Reflection on your past trials and successes is critical to help keep you focused on what worked and what did not — so you can reach your vision of the future. If you don’t take this time for yourself, it is too easy to forget the lessons you were taught, and risk repeating your failures.
The question I commonly get at this point is, “Okay I agree, but how can I make the time to do this... when my days are already 10 – 15 hours long, 7 days a week?”
My response is always the same: Your days will become shorter when you schedule 30 minutes a day to simply reflect.
Personally I use my time before my kids wake up (5:30a – 6:00a) to reflect on the past day. On Sunday after church, I take an hour with my journal, and reflect on the past week.
This practice has provided me insight that has fundamentally changed both my personal and professional life. It has allowed me to catch mistakes I've made, and correct them before anyone else was even aware they occurred! This has been my greatest tool; keeping me humble to the fact that as a leader I still have a lot to learn.
Using this time to reflect, I came upon a bit of a revelation. Discovered in one of my first reflection periods, I realized how much I needed to force myself to take 1 hour per day to study and read. This time is blocked off on my calendar and my team knows that I am not to be disturbed... no matter what.
At first? My team thought I was crazy. And when I asked them to all follow me in doing this? They really thought I'd lost it!
Slowly after enacting it though, light bulbs started to appear all over our office. New ideas and concepts were being spoken about from the books they were reading. Processes and systems were being improved at a blinding pace. All of these positive changes, all derived from a simple 30 Minute reflection time!
To date, I have estimated that this practice has saved our company, on average, 10 hours of work per day, per person. Converted into dollars, the impact to our bottom line is staggering.
So I leave you with this: Are you taking time to reflect and ensure you repeat what worked, and not live through those trials and tribulations again? Are you leading your team to do the same? Finally, are you helping them find even better solutions through dedicated education time? If not, then I will tell you that you are leaving an INSANE amount of money on the table, and owe it to yourself and your team to fix this today!
To Your Success & Prosperity!