Learning and Making Decisions Through Reflection
This morning, like most weekday mornings, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. I could hear the patter of snow on our bedroom window. Yes, it is early May, but it is still snowing here in Newfoundland. I thought about something I had heard last night: You have to take the fleas with the dog. I chuckled to myself and went downstairs to make a cup of coffee.
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After the coffee was poured, I went back upstairs, to my office, and sat down at my computer. This is my morning routine. I opened up a clean Evernote file and began typing a conscious stream of thought. What is a conscious stream of thought? Well, I imagine it is something different for each person. I just write nonstop for fifteen to twenty minutes.
You may be wondering what I write about. I typically gravitate toward two topics.
1) The previous day
I write about what I did, who I interacted with, how I felt, how I made other people feel, my wins, what I could have done better, and so on.
This morning, for example, I reflected on a spat that I had with my son, Parker. A few weeks ago we moved his bedroom down to the basement. He now has the luxury of having his own bathroom. Yesterday, after breakfast, Parker went down to his room and, instead of getting ready for school, wasted twenty minutes lying on his bed texting his buddy. When it came time for my wife, Jennifer, to leave (she teaches at the same school), Parker was still in the shower. Jennifer had morning duty and so had no time to waste. I ran downstairs, banged on his bathroom door, and said “Get the f—— out in the car!” I was extraordinarily mad, and Parker knew it. I carried that anger with me all day yesterday. My conscious stream of thought this morning got me thinking about my error, and I reflected on other times that I had acted more calmly and civilly in such a situation. I got to a more pleasurable headspace. In my conscious stream of thought, I imagined myself acting differently in that moment from yesterday morning, and I planned how I could talk to Parker about it so that he would know that I was sorry for how I had reacted but also would learn from the situation. I followed through on that just a few minutes ago. I believe that Parker and I each learned lessons.
2) My day ahead, my agenda, and how it is building toward my vision
This morning, for example, I thought about a scheduled call with Michelle, a marketing consultant who is helping me to build an online sales funnel. I reflected on how I want people to feel as they progress through my funnel. I thought about how I really want my authenticity to come out. So, although a sales funnel is designed to move people along toward making a decision to buy a product or service, I want people to feel differently when they are in my funnel than they do in the majority of online sales funnels. The opportunity to reflect on that in my conscious stream of thought was just what I needed. Michelle and I had our call, and we feel that we are on the verge of something great.
Would you like a copy of the template I use to conduct my morning conscious stream of thought? Here it is.
Some of the best learning opportunities come to us through reflection. My reflection through writing down my conscious stream of thought serves two purposes: I get the benefits of reflection and I get to practice writing.
Do you take advantage of learning through reflection? How do you do it? I welcome your comments below.