Every year when the two Super Bowl teams are finalized, some sports reporter will examine the college recruiting status of each starter on the two teams.  In most cases, the average rating of the Super Bowl starters was not very high.  Was the lack of a higher rating due to a poor rating system?  Generally, not.  The starters possessed average, but not exceptional skills.  What the ratings couldn’t measure was the “fire in the belly” to improve.

The fact is that physical/mental abilities can only take you so far.  Those who exceed and perform above others have an excellent ability to reflect on their previous performances and make adjustments to continuously improve their performance.

The ability to reflect on your own performance is an acquired skill that takes discipline and critical awareness.  Like the football players, reflections begin by “film study.”  Since most of our performance isn’t captured on film, we need to be able to recall as much of the performance as possible.  This involves not only what we did, but how others reacted to what we did.

As we recall our performance, the ability to do a critical assessment becomes essential.  We need to understand how we view ourselves.  Some of us are overly critical, while others are not critical enough.  Self-reflection requires a balance.  Any performance can be measured on a scale that goes from basic (we got the job done) to mastery (we did better than most) to excitement (we pioneered new territory).  A critical self-assessment would need to be evaluated on our sense of where we were on the scale.

Once the critical self-assessment is done, we need to develop a plan for improvement.  This starts with the identification of specific activities we want to do. These are best written down.  We also need to think how we will practice doing these things before our next performance

This self reflection process is repeated again and again after every performance.  Obviously, this takes serious effort and that’s why those who are masters of self-reflection stand out above others.

As you think about self-reflection as a driver in performance improvement, what do you think is the primary driving force for serious self-reflection?  Can self-reflection lead to a destructive obsession, and if you think that may be the case, how do you think we might control the obsessive tendencies?  To what extent do you think self-reflection skills can be taught?  Can you imagine a case where self-reflection skills become the norm and performance expectations continue to increase?

* * *

What thing have you done today that was a vast improvement over previous efforts?

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.