The fall traditionally signals new beginnings and fresh starts.
For me, September always holds the promise of new possibilities and with that, I get a renewed sense of vigor and direction. No doubt that feeling is linked with my childhood excitement of beginning a new school year with a crisp unsullied Hilroy notebook and brand new eraser (I am an easy one to please).
As the kids get into their 3 Rs - 'reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic - you, too, can begin the 3 Rs of your personal fall renewal: Reflect, Reveal, Re-energize. Our lives are a cyclical series of beginnings, endings and renewals. Kick start your new cycle this fall by asking some questions to promote reflection about your life and fall possibilities.
STEP ONE: REFLECTION
A reflective practice is a way of studying your own experiences with the goal of improvement. Reflection is a powerful mechanism that helps deep learning take place. Dedicating time to reflect on your life and work regularly has a positive effect on performance.
How to reflect? Your reflective practice is an individual as you are. Think about reflection as an objective research tool to help bring you insight and improvement vs. a judgment or label of right or wrong. It is generally recommended to write down your reflections to embed your learning further. Working through the questions with a supportive friend or coach can also be helpful.
Fall Renewal Self-Reflection questions:
What has been working well for me this year?
What have I learned about myself this year?
What do I want more of this fall? Less of?
What's going to make the biggest difference to me this fall?
What shift, or tweak, or change of focus would increase my joy, peace and happiness?
What shift, tweak, or change of focus might increase my effectiveness or results?
What do I need to leave behind, or let go of as I live into fall?
What is waiting in the wings, ready to take centre stage this fall?
How will I renew and recommit to what I want this fall?
STEP TWO: REVEAL
Look at your reflections and see what has opened up. Are there any themes that run through your answers? Anything you noticed that surprised you? Confirmed something for you?
As you look at your reflections, what feels most important to you for the final quarter of 2016? I am not necessarily talking about accomplishing a specific goal; I am talking about themes or an overall belief or ways of thinking. Are there several threads that connect to a similar theme?
For instance, as I did my self-reflection, many things came up that could all be connected to a desire to create more 'space' in my life this fall - like my wish to spend more time by the ocean, ride my bike more, have more fun, give myself some daily reflective time etc.
One of my clients is dedicated to "working in her sweet spot" for the final quarter of 2016, and to intentionally letting go of commitments and things that feel like obligations that take her out of that zone. Another client is going to focus on thinking about what she needs, and find ways to honour herself in her life 'mix'.
STEP THREE: RE-ENERGIZE
As you consider your revealed themes you will want to consider how to re-energize around those possibilities.
Who will I need to be that I've never been before? How do I want to be?
What will I need to do now that I haven't done before?
What do I need to do to make space for my new possibilities?
What could I do to commit (or recommit) to that new (or renewed) theme?
As you go forth with any plan you need to have people in your camp rooting for you, reminding you, encouraging you. What supports will you draw upon?
Embrace the growth and the possibilities that might happen in this new space and be sure to celebrate often - you deserve it!