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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

Shrug off the bad, distill the good

I read a fab article by Dr Kathryn Fox in the BDJ recently titled Don't let reflection eat you up! Follow the link, it's well worth the 5 minutes of reading.

It got me reflecting on reflecting again though. I think one of the main reasons we feel so negative about reflection on the whole is that we only ever reflect on the negatives.

Sir Clive Woodward tells the story of how before he led England Rugby to World Cup glory in 2003, he worked in sales for Xerox. Whenever his team made a big sale, they'd get down to the pub and celebrate, whenever they lost one, they'd be back in work first thing on Monday morning analysing where it all when wrong.

Can you think of a more depressing way to start your week than picking through all the errors of your ways the week before?

Sir Clive tells us how he flipped this on its head. Rather than briefly celebrating the highs to soon be forgotten, they'd get down to the pub to shrug off the lows. "Bad stuff happens all the time, let's just get on with it" was the thinking.

When they had a big success, that's when they'd stop and reflect.

How did we get it so right on this occasion?

What were the key moments that led to our success this time?

How can we repeat this success?

That's the sort of reflection I want to be doing!

It feels like we're hard-wired to focus on the negatives sometimes but that doesn't have to be the case. It is of course important to reflect when things don't go according to plan, implants failing, breakdowns in relationships, we learn most effectively from our mistakes after all.

But let's not neglect the positives though. The times we got the plan and execution spot on.

Let's take some time to understand how we get things right most of the time.

Let's focus on the things we did that led us here and let's do them again.

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