The importance of reflection

Alan Shortall

Elite Sport and in particular any officiating aspect, comes with criticism and high intensity formal assessment. I spoke recently about my experience as an elite official, which highlighted a focus on technical competence distracting from some of the important aspects of self awareness. This was a contribution of weekly performance assessment for 30 weeks of our year, focusing substantially on whether decision making was right or wrong.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had time to stop and reflect on that journey and the experiences and lessons I can take from it. Something I am investing in is the positive messages and strategies to help engage in a feeling of self control about what we are experiencing.

Today, those messages are coming very fast, from many different people and in a substantial number. This is potentially pushing us to a point where we may feel swamped and cannot continue to consume them all.

Which is where taking the time to reflect is becoming very important. By doing so, it is assisting in our understanding of what messages are important to us and those that will guide your path through these times.

Many of us are cycling through a process of seeking to work out our next steps and beginning to implement those plans where we can. However, much of those considerations must be intertwined with reflecting on who we have been and what contribution we can make to what will be a different dynamic. This time of slowing down and changing our focus towards who we are naturally can be important in those plans moving forward.

It is a great opportunity to evaluate our goals and seek to align those with opportunities that may come up in the future. A reflection on what we have learnt, skills we have gained and appreciating what have achieved will invest in positive beliefs on what we can contribute. You might also consider looking at what you need to achieve those goals moving forward and opportunities to up skill in this downtime. If you have time to invest in skill development, then as those opportunities grow, you are in the right frame of mind and have a skill set to evolve, as well as continuing to build a growth and positive mindset.

Whilst we are getting a lot messaging, one of the great positives of this time is the number of people willing to offer their perspective, knowledge and experience via online platforms. This is perfect for widening your network of people who you engage with and will help your reflection with wider perspective. Others experience may give you clarity around your values and help with building a plan to achieve what you want to. By having this time to reflect, it can help you determine the people you want to listen to that are key your plans.

The time will come where most of us will head back into the fast paced, task orientated life we were accustomed to, however likely to be somewhat different. The importance of including a time to reflect within what you do should be a key outcome out of this time. Reflection is how we makes sense of our learning, embed what is important for our situation and determine next steps to grow. Without that time, we are unlikely to take valuable opportunities to grow.

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