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Do I Really Have to Reflect? (#175)


The Confident Leader


Last week an exhausted CEO confessed, “I feel like I just finished a 100-yard dash and I have to start another one on January 1st!” He went on to say, “Robin, please don’t tell me I have to reflect back over this really hard year.” I shared that there might be another way.

“Reflecting on life is like trying to fold a fitted sheet—confusing, occasionally messy, but you’ll end up with a smoother tomorrow.”

― Anonymous

This Week’s Edition

Reflection doesn’t have to be a once-a-year annual burden. You can do it in smaller steps along the way.

Clarify Your Thinking

I just finished reading, Unreasonable Hospitality, by Will Guidara. It’s a great read about his journey to become the #1 restaurant in the world

A key element of his success: daily reflection.  In his overly ambitious pursuit to be #1, he felt like he needed to improve just a little bit every day. So, he finished each day with a pen, a journal and a glass of red wine! 

Effectively, he put each day under a microscope and inspected it for tiny areas of improvement. He credits this daily discipline with his ability to see things in real time and make crucial adjustment on the fly. 

Old Thinking: I’m too tired. I want to go on vacation and forget what just happened. I know I need to reflect to be better, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ll do it next year. 

New Thinking: The burden of a look back over a full 12 months is daunting, but I know reflecting is an important leadership skill. Maybe there is a different way to reflect? Tiny steps… five minutes a day… that’s easy enough. I’ll start today. 

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Leaders who think that reflecting is too hard or too time consuming, will not do it. They risk leaving hard fought wisdom in the battlefield of their leadership and/or repeating the errors of the past. Plus, the strategic value of reflection is too important to overlook.

If you can muster a look back over the past year to glean the learnings… by all means do it. Here’s a previous newsletter I wrote about an approach that we use and has worked for many. 

If that’s a little too much for you this time around, start simply. Follow Will Guidara’s daily ritual. Here’s a step-by-step process for daily reflection we’ve created to help you out:

Step 1: Get the supplies you need:

  • A great journal 
  • A nice pen that writes ever so smoothly 
  • Stock an evening beverage of your choice 
  • Designate the best seating location that brings you comfort and joy

Step 2: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you of the evening appointment with yourself.

Step 3: Review your day one hour at a time with a few prompts to spark your reflection:

  • Did I run my day or did my day run me? 
  • What was the high point? What was the low point?
  • What did I accomplish? What did I want to accomplish?
  • What friction did I experience?  How can I solve that?
  • Who did I connect with? Why was that important?
  • Am I satisfied with today? How would I improve today? 
  • Tomorrow, I will _____________!

Start today as a Sunday reflection is fun and rewarding. 

Boost Your Performance

For anyone intent on taking their leadership to the next level, taking time to reflect is a competitive edge, primarily because so few leaders take the time to do it even though it’s available to everyone. 

As you look at your calendar for this coming year, establish recurring time for your reflection process. 

What’s Your Opinion?

What is your approach to reflecting over your day, a project or the entire year? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.