The HR Juggler

Day 10: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Posted on: December 10, 2012


I really love the fact that all of the posts in this series are different from each other and take a different approach to the reflections and resolutions theme. Today’s post is by Phil Willcox, who you can find on Twitter @PhilWillcox and on his insightful  blog.


Let me begin with a huge thank you to @alisonchisnell for allowing me the opportunity to guest post on her blog and in the run up to Christmas too. The theme is ‘reflection and resolutions’ so I hope that this post does the theme justice and you enjoy it too!

This is a blend of a personal post and at the same time hoping to offer up some ideas, suggestions and tips that may help form some 2013 resolutions.

Reflection; I think it is an incredibly powerful thing. Primarily because without it we cannot learn. It is such a fundamental part of the learning process yet is potentially the one that we give too little attention to. When I say this I mean both for individuals and L&D practitioners too.

So what are the risks of not reflecting enough?

1) Missing stuff; it could be that as we rush through the reflection process we get some information and yet there was more to be learned.

2) Reverting back; because we didn’t spend enough time really processing what happened, what we could do again, differently or better we don’t have the plan for what and how to change. This means we don’t change and revert back to normal.

3) Poor application;  it may be that we got as far as realising what we did well or need to change and satisfied ourselves that yes, this is something I must change. Because we haven’t gone on to work out what that means in terms of tangible actions and steps, we don’t apply it.

I guess what I am saying is that insufficient reflection makes for poor resolutions. Simply saying, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall …………’ is not enough.

On the flip side of all this, reflection is:

– Challenging; it involves a lot of cognitive effort and thought. Often this thought is about ourselves, what we do, how we do it, the motives, desires or dreams that are fuelling those actions. It may be that we need to at first simply realise or maybe even wonder if those motives, desires or dreams are right or appropriate for us right now.

– Time consuming; in this time pressured, instant access, immediate interaction, rapid change world we live in, we need to make time for reflection. Giving it a cursory 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there will not do!

So what are my tips?

For individuals:

1) Build a reflection model that works for you. By creating a process and a methodology that you can use to support your reflection process. Once you have the model or process you can remember, you can then run it when needed. Mine is; What did I do well? What would I do differently next time? What new lessons came out of that? What are my actions? Others use; stop, start, continue, or maybe went well, went poorly, went differently to how I expected. Find one that works and you can remember so it is ready to hand when you need it.

2) Notice occasions where you can reflect. Think about your day to day activity and how you can integrate your reflective practices into it. Occasions I use to reflect are; cooking food, washing up, driving, running, blogging, ironing, travelling (train, bus, tube, taxi). There are probably others that will work for you and at the same time using things that you already have in your day to reflect can be really effective.

3) Make purposeful reflection time. As well as integrating it into your day to day activity you will also need time to just reflect. To get some space and time away from other stuff to just reflect. I suggest sessions that last at least 20 minutes and as many of those a week as you feel you need. You may want to explore combining this with some form of mindfulness or attentiveness practices, they can help.

Making time to reflect is (in my humble opinion) one of the best ways we can take control of our learning and purposefully planning how and what we will replicate and what we will learn to help us achieve whatever it is we want to achieve. 


Because better reflections make for better resolutions!

Mirror, mirror on the wall ………. What did I do well? What would I do differently next time? What new lessons came from that? What are my actions?

8 Responses to "Day 10: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall"

That has reminded me that I need to do more reflecting – instead of charging forward all the time. I started regular meditation eighteen months ago and seem to keep coming across messages with the word ‘mindfulness’ in them recently, so it’s time for me to start taking notice!

Hi Graham great to hear that it has been helpful! What fascinates me is that the times when I am busiest, the need for reflection is at it’s highest and yet I can still be guilty of putting it aside for other things.

Nicely said here reflection more than ever especially in this media rich news/Comms/insight/commentary world we live in.

You’ve nicely set out the benefits, dangers & call to arms on reflection here so hope we’re on the brink of a reflection revolution.

A bit obvious to those who know but blogginy works that reflective muscle & is like cardio for the mind!

The more we blog, the more we reflect and the value of reflection time becomes more evident.

let’s hope 2013 is our year of reflectiveness, mindfulness & genius.

Nice blog – good reminder of what reflective learning is all about.

Even Punks need some time to think…

Hi Perry, thank you for leaving a comment and love the sign off! You are correct, even punks need time to think.

Your point about blogging is absolutely on the money too. I love blogging as it gives me both a process and an outlet for reflection. Plus, because you have to translate that reflection into a form that others can read and understand you must go though it in some detail. Otherwise, your posts won’t make any sense.

Finally, and picking up on your first point, there is sooooooooo much information, data (let alone one of your favourites, BIG data), content out there, how do we decide what to use? Which bits do we apply? What do I agree, disagree, believe, doubt?

Only through reflection can you answer these questions.

As a wise sage once said……..

“Even punks need time to think..”

You have indeed, very explicitly brought to life the ‘need’ of reflection as a vital element of a progression strategy. The article in it’s self is a great piece of reflection and clearly indicates the merits of practising it on the basis of need. Reflection definitely takes you through a journey of analysis and evaluation in light of which you can identify your rights and wrongs and determine call for actions accordingly. It is no doubt a wonderful tool for improvement and transformation yet used very scarcely…Time to reflect, to reflect interimly…

Hi Hina,

Thank you for your comment and I agree, reflection is such a (as you so eloquently put it) VITAL part of personal and professional progression.

I am also delighted that the post resonated with you and gave some good advice and calls to action too. That was my intent and I am so pleased it achieved it.

Happy reflecting and catch up soon!

A lovely contribution from my dear friend Hina – the only contributor here that I have met personally – I hope to meet many more of the ConnectingHR community in 2013

Very interesting post with some helpful suggestions thanks Phil. And I see too many people looking back for too long, getting bogged down in things they cannot change.

Yes reflection is useful. Yes reflection helps us learn. And we need to take care not to look over our shoulder for too long. Repeatedly walking into lampposts is very painful.

Cheers – Doug

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 234 other followers

HR Juggler’s Archive

%d bloggers like this: