With my new podcast, Reflect Forward, people have been asking, “what does reflect forward mean?” In fact, I ask my guests to describe what Reflect Forward means to them, and I love the variety of answers I get. For me, Reflect Forward is the ability to build upon your past experiences, decisions, and actions and create the life you want in the future. Your past got you to where you are now and it’s serving you well, building upon it will help you take your life to the next level. If you don’t like where you are, your past doesn’t have to define you as a person or define where you are going, but you can only change it if you reflect on what is going well, what isn’t going well, and decide what you want your life to look like going forward. You must reflect forward to be a better leader.
The ability to Reflect Forward requires three steps:
- Show Up
- Dig Deep
- Make an Impact
Show Up: The first step of reflecting forward is showing up. It may seem obvious but it’s not easy for many. “Showing up” means being vulnerable, humble, and accountable. It means committing to do the hard work of looking at yourself to make necessary changes in your life to be a better person and leader. It means being honest with yourself while still loving yourself. Showing up requires fortitude and longevity. You can’t show up one day a week and expect to transform your leadership d style and impactfulness. Showing up is a daily practice, even if it means you need to unplug to rest and recharge so you can come back stronger.
Dig Deep: As Woody Allen famously said, “showing up is 80% of life.” While I agree that showing up is incredibly important, as outlined above, to be an exceptional leader, Thomas Edison’s quote, “genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration,” resonates with me a bit more. The only way to be a successful leader is to make a significant and meaningful impact on their employees, industries, communities, and the world. One must do the hard work of learning, making mistakes, and ultimately transforming. Digging deep takes effort, transparency, discipline, resiliency, and self-leadership. It will require you to ask for help and feedback.
Make an Impact: To be the kind of leader worth following, your purpose and passion must intersect with your vision and plan to execute. You must be an effective connector, communicator, and problem solver. You must understand how to develop people so they can do their best work. You must be able to build a team, a company, and a community. And finally, you must find the best platform to advance your cause, whether through brand building, impacting social change, policy-shaping, or simply creating a culture where people thrive, which has a profound ripple effect.
When you put these three steps together, you can profound change and impact.
If you like this and want to know more, be sure to subscribe to my podcast. Want more on this topic? Check out this post on how to be an accountable leader.
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