Do You Reflect?

My train journey was confronting. A woman was yelling at her toddler son whilst pushing a younger son in a very flimsy stroller and it was apparent that was something was increasingly wrong with this situation.

We all listened, that is, the carriage of passengers attempted to read their books, use their devices or look out the window whilst we anticipated what would happen next.

At first I was judgmental, angry that she was blaming her child, being thoughtless in her behaviour and then I stopped and really listened to her – she was distressed, feeling vulnerable as a young mum and she was screaming for help in an unspoken way.

Whilst I contemplated moving in her direction, I was concerned how she might react, in the meantime a woman purposely moved into her space and asked if she could help.  The young woman refused loudly and the helpful caring woman persisted and you could hear the tension lessen when the sound of laughter and crying filled the airwaves in a short space of time.

I hope she’s OK as that was a week ago and I have continued to reflect on this episode all week – touched by the helpfulness demonstrated by this caring woman but more about my ‘thinking and behaviour’. Why didn’t I jump up and help or do something?

The ability to reflect requires self-awareness, time and a willingness to identify what went well and what failure occurred. In this case, my judgement was too quick and my action too slow. My fear of losing my safety or presence was far greater than my desire to be caring. This was tested by observing someone doing what I wanted to do.

Reflect to learn about yourself; your past self, your present self and importantly about your future self.

Take five minutes today to purposely reflect on your performance in your last meeting or conversation and consider how you would change: your behaviour, what you said, how you concentrated, what you didn’t say … how would you like to improve your performance? 

Louise is passionate about leadership. She is excited by observing great leadership in action and regularly blogs and tweets about her observations.

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