People sometime ask me what is the one thing I do, every day to keep myself in balance. That one thing, is reflection. I reflect, everyday.
Everyday, I take "time" to give me, some of me.
I take time to breath, deep and penetrating breaths.
I take time to reflect on my day, and most of all the moments when I was less of myself. The instances in the day, throughout the day -- in my interactions with others, when faced with challenges or problems -- where I could have been "better," or a more evolved person.
I take the time to not only celebrate my aspirational hopes, but also the times when I underwhelm myself. When I disappoint, myself. When I could have been kinder, more loving, less judgmental, more supportive, more patient, more giving, less fearful about "whatever." To remember, that I am not as good as my compliments, and I am not as bad as my criticisms. I simply am, who and "whose" I am.
I take the time to see me not as the world sees me, but as I see myself, and as God sees me. I then ask the question -- am I comfortable talking to God today? Am I reasonably comfortable in my own skin. My experience is, most people -- even the most successful -- are not very comfortable in their own skin.
And so, this is the real value proposition of reflection. Personal reflection. It makes you more valuable to the world, and invaluable for yourself.
Reflection not only recharges your inner batteries, it humbles your spirit, calms your energy flow, encourages truth, taps down pride, and most of all, it helps you to enter a "No B.S." zone in and for your own life.
Personal reflection, for me, is the most precious part of my day, and much of the world's problems comes from so-called leaders, and "smart people," having an arm full of formal degrees and impressive achievements, who simply do not reflect at all. Or worse, they rationalize. And to rationalize, is to tell rational, lies.
What do we fear most? So says my friend, brother and co-founder of Global Dignity, Professor Pekka Himanen, "the thing we fear the most is ourselves. We fear... ourselves."
Personal reflection frees you, from your own fears. Honest and frank personal reflection, sets you free.
This is Love Leadership for your own soul. Try it. Let me know what comes.
Onward and with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc., author of Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.