052 - a simple reflection tool to help you get ahead

I had a uni lecturer in the final two years of studies who taught me a powerful skill for life that's changed me, even though at the time we all thought she was batshit crazy for how much she raved on about it

It was a class on "Food Service", as in, looking at the systems they use for food delivery and preparation in hospitals and nursing homes, pretty boring - except she introduced me to Peter Drucker, a man of business, and that's what this subject became to me - a business course, not a nutrition course. We went into systems and everything in between - but I digress, there was an even more powerful tool found in that subject

She would continually harp onto us about reflection, and how it's a skill we'd need to develop in the real world and take with us into our final year of uni, on our 19 weeks of placement across various disciplines

And at the time, we hated it... we thought it was a chore and we did not see the power of it

But Leslie, if you ever read this - thank you! As reflection, especially self-reflection, has helped myself and a ton of our Academy kids learn more about themselves and grow/develop themselves into better people and better athletes

From the outside looking in, reflection seems boring and a waste of time. That used to be my attitude toward it, thinking I could better spend my time elsewhere, but now it's where I spend the majority of my time of a morning/night or during a big event

Of a morning, it begins with four questions:

  1. What do I see happening?
  2. What is the challenge?
  3. What is the lesson?
  4. What can I change?

For instance, this morning what I see is a lull period, a few days of low energy for me personally. The challenge is I need to prioritise myself better and spend the energy I have on the tasks that matter most, and the lesson is that I shouldn't give my energy away to menial things or people that drain me. And as for what can I change, well, I can set better priorities and work hard and smart at those things

And then, of a night, I ask two simple questions:

  1. What went well today and why?
  2. What didn't go well today, and why?

And those are two questions YA + A's need to begin asking themselves after every training session and match. THIS is where reflection begins for you. It's simple, easy, and incredibly effective. Why do it after every training session and game? Well, you'll begin to see patterns forming, if there's a specific thing that's always going well, how can you leverage it? If there's something that's continually not going well, then something has to change...

My personal recommendation to add to this activity would be to do it with your coach or Mum/Dad to gain an outsiders perspective so that you don't stay inside your own head. Any coach would and should love this sort of forethinking, reflectiveness, and activity

You'll begin to discover more about yourself, your strengths, areas to focus and improve upon, and also the patterns that you have in your life - which all will, in turn, help you develop yourself into the athlete and person you aspire to become

Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • At the end of each day, training session, or game - grab a pen and paper and ask yourself the two questions + answer them truthfully...
  • Why did it go well? What was so great about it? Was it something I did, or something that someone else did that made my job easier?
  • What didn't go well? Why wasn't it a success? Was it something I did, or something outside of my control?
Nick Maier