By Jill Kotsis
In a recent podcast, Jim Rohn talked about the need to take a timeout—putting yourself in a closet and closing the door! Most of us put our kids in a timeout, but this timeout is for you. Jim emphasizes how important it is to look back on your life and reflect on your investments into yourself.
This struck me because I realized that reflecting on my experiences—even painful ones—could generate much greater value from them in the future. Mike and I spend time in reflection as part of the PFM process. I sometimes wonder how other couples manage to learn from the past without that regular time of reflection. I believe this is a huge area of opportunity for almost all of us!
Reflective practices like meditation, yoga and daily gratitude are becoming more popular. In the midst of a non-stop cycle of pushing forward and constant activity, hitting the Pause button on life is incredibly appealing. These practices are powerful because they help us gain wisdom, self-understanding and clarity.
The Power of a Timeout
One of my favorite books is Time To Think by Nancy Kline. She says that the answers to all of our problems are within us if we ask ourselves the right questions and are open to hearing the answers. However, life is so busy and noisy that this time to think must be sought out, planned and prioritized, or it won’t happen. The world is against you on this pursuit, but it’s a pursuit worth taking. Let’s dig into why.
Almost every life coach encourages a reflecting practice. Our friend and coach Steve Chandler calls it “integration time.” He encourages his clients to take an entire hour to reflect on a coaching session to make sure it sinks in and gets applied. Dan Sullivan, founder of the Strategic Coach program, teaches to stay positive by looking backwards: when you set a goal, don’t simply measure how much farther you have to go—keep looking back at the place you started to realize how far you’ve come.
We also teach this method in our PFM course to help couples:
- Stay motivated
- Become better at setting realistic goals
- Celebrate just how far they have come
If you don’t take time to reflect, you’ll be passing up incredible opportunity for personal growth and service to the world. Your life is rich with experience and learning that can be passed onto those around you as you live out your life’s purpose.
Tips for Your Reflection Time
What do you look back on during your reflection time? The list is endless, but here are some examples:
- The challenges you’ve been through and overcome
- Positive experiences and actions you would do all over again
- Mistakes you never want to repeat
- Books you’ve read, insights you’ve learned, quotes you’ve heard
- Progress you’ve made and ways that you’ve grown
If you’re a parent, it’s also worth reflecting on each of your children and how they have grown and developed—their strengths (so we can build them up) and areas where they need to grow most (with our help) to be their best versions of themselves.
Daily scribing or journaling can provide rich insights as you look back on the prior day by capturing it on paper. This reflection can multiply the rewards and learnings from your journey in life. There are countless gratitude notebooks and directed journals available to help you grow into your best self through the power of reflecting.
Take a Timeout with Your Spouse
Reflecting is built into the PFM process, from beginning to end. We work with couples to develop the habit of Weekly Meetings. In the Weekly Meeting, we start by reflecting on our personal “bests” for the week.
PFM workshops are also a critical reflection time for you and your spouse. During our workshops, couples have the time to really assess where they are in life, who they are, and who they want to become in order to create the life they desire. I’ve always believed that half of the value that we give couples is simply the accountability to commit to that reflective time together.
This week, take a time out! There are so many options —find what works for you and your life. Make it a habit, put it on your calendar and commit! Repeatedly build reflection time into your life with your spouse. Take a couples getaway for exactly this purpose—clarity flows so much better when you’re away from the daily grind.
Learn how the Purposeful Family Course can help you get started. The next class kicks off this fall—we can help you make personal reflection a new way of life for your relationship and your family.
How strong is your family? Take the Family Checkup and find out now!