Do your employees enjoy their work? Are they genuinely happy when they walk into one of your locations? Is their life turning out to be what they envisioned? Does each day help them grow into the person they want to be?

Questions like these might seem odd for a franchise operator, but they’re very important to success at work and overall satisfaction. Life is made up of a constant stream of decisions, experiences, successes, and failures, and we move forward largely based upon the lessons we learn from all of them.

Employees can have a strong set of skills, remarkable intelligence, the gift of easily connecting with others, and abundant financial resources — but to be truly effective, one of the most important characteristics they need is self-awareness. Nobody has a greater influence on what they do and accomplish than themselves.

What is self-reflection?

Self-reflection is a process through which your employees will take time to focus exclusively on themselves and what matters to them. It’s a break from their normal schedule during which they think about their goals and aspirations, and reflect upon what they’ve done in the past, including both successes and failures, along with the things that matter deeply to them. During self-reflection, they look at the past through today’s lens and consider how they might respond differently if they found themselves in the same situation today. It’s not about beating themselves up over what they’ve done, but instead learning from it so they can approach the future more thoughtfully and confidently. 1

Self-reflection can be an important tool, no matter where your employees are in their career. Taking time out to review their past, analyze how their experiences brought them to this place, consider where they stand now, and think about their goals will help them focus their energy in the most effective way and maximizes the chance that they’ll respond to coming challenges in ways that enhance growth and success.2

It’s not an easy process, which is why so few people take the time to do it, and it requires them to be completely honest with themselves. But going through the process can help them get past limitations, identify skills they want to develop, and become more effective at everything they do so they can achieve greater success and happiness. 3

Reflecting upon where they are today

Be sure they block out enough time for self-reflection, so they’re not distracted by work that has to get done or checking the time to make sure they’re not late to an appointment. Also, they will need to choose a location where they’re comfortable and won’t be disturbed. Their phone should be turned off, too.

In addition to work-related matters, they should also take time to think about their principles, beliefs, and values. They should look back at times when they felt that they may have been forced to compromise what they believed and consider other ways they could have handled those situations. 

It’s also important for employees to assess their personal strengths and weaknesses. Only by admitting and identifying both can they create a plan for improvement. It isn’t always easy to be honest with yourself, but having the courage to do so can help them create a plan for both personal and professional development. 4

Be careful that they don’t obsess negatively about life’s setbacks or what they see as their shortcomings. We may regret past actions, but the important thing is that we can learn from them. Many of the lessons that help us the most are the ones we learned the hard way. 5

In Part 2, we will discuss some of the benefits of self-reflection and how it can help your employees. These benefits include setting goals, creating a personal mission statement, and identifying how others can help them.

Footnotes

1 Cebollero, Chris, “It’s the Season for Self-Reflection,” forbes.com, December 14, 2018.

2 “How important is goal setting and reflection for your career?,” npowerjobs.com, March 24, 2016

3 Cebollero, op. cit.

4 ibid.

5 npowerjobs.com, op. cit.

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