Reflect On Your Experiences
December 29, 2022
In many workplaces, we come across people with lots of experience. People who claim they have ten or twenty years of experience in some domain. But when you engage with them at a deeper level, you quickly realize that their skill or competence is in no way commensurate with the experience they claim they have in their chosen sphere.
I am sure we all know of sales professionals, managers, and leaders who come with resumes that suggest that they have twenty years of experience, but when you engage with them, you get the feeling that they are no better than someone with just a few years of experience. It feels like these people have the experience of one year repeated twenty times.
Why is this so? Why do some people stagnate and struggle to get better despite their experiences?
The problem is in how these people process and engage with their experiences.
Our everyday actions are experiences, and they are meant to teach. Our experiences are opportunities to assess our biases, question our actions, make honest self-assessments and look for areas where we can improve. Experiences help us collect data, seek feedback, gauge our performance, and improve.
Putting it differently, we can’t learn and grow from experience without engaging in the process of reflection.Reflecting allows us to distill our experiences into something we can learn from.
Therefore, when people don’t reflect, they tend to stagnate, repeating mistakes and unable to leverage their experiences.
To Reflect Is Difficult
Many of us are skilled at telling others what to do, yet we find it incredibly hard to zoom in on our own foibles and skill gaps. Most of us find it easy to focus on others but struggle to look inward and reflect on how we deal with our day-to-day challenges.
A big reason we struggle is that reflection can make us confront our own inadequacies bringing up shame, embarrassment, and a feeling of defensiveness.
Another challenge stems from the fact that many of us are so focused on dealing with our daily challenges as they arise that we don’t take time to reflect on them after we have dealt with them. Instead, we hide behind the facade of being busy and shy away from engaging with the one process that will help us learn and grow, all because we want to protect our egos and avoid going through the pain of feeling bad about things we could have done better.
Give Yourself Time
Our inability to engage in the process of reflection can render us incapable of learning from our experiences.
To get better at it, one requires humility- to acknowledge and accept our experiences for what they are and be willing to give ourselves the time. Time to reflect.