Tell me, does this schedule sound familiar?
Last week, I had 26 meetings with seven different teams, five interviews, nine phone calls, two presentations, three in-person meetings, 1,035 emails and a sick dog, all in a 40-hour workweek.
By the end of it all, I was exhausted. I probably couldn’t tell you what any of those meetings were about, nor did I feel like we had solved all the problems of the world.
This may sound like a time management problem, but in the world of digital marketing and rapid change, this is a normal week for me.
So how do I continue to be a leader who can drive my team forward while being inundated with so many different topics throughout the week?
I pause. Sit still. Just think. Reflect. And learn.
As I drive home in silence, I ask myself these five questions:
1. What went well today?
For me, I see success in a complete project or a breakthrough with a team member.
Allow yourself a win. Growth comes in hard moments, but confidence comes from recognizing a job well done. If you don’t give yourself the time to identify what you did well, it will be difficult to grow as a leader.
Answer this question for your team: did you notice moments of growth in your team that you need to acknowledge?
2. What didn’t go well today?
Did you miss a deadline? Did you lose your patience? Did you miss an opportunity to truly listen to a colleague or teammate? Whatever it is, own it and recognize that you can always get better.
Growth happens in uncomfortable moments of fear and frustration. Let’s use the classic Michael Jordan example of being cut from the basketball team at 15 years old. If he wouldn’t have pushed through his fear and frustration, he would have never seen the success he has today.
Turn these moments into opportunities to create growth both personally and for your team.
3. Did I listen effectively?
Listening is a skill. Think about how many conversations you have daily. Can you recall all of those conversations and who they were with? We get distracted so easily by all the noise that it becomes difficult to focus on those who truly need us.
For one week, listen more than you speak, and you will be amazed at what you can learn.
4. Did I answer concisely?
Remember, there is power in simplicity. Are you providing too much value to your team by giving them all the information at once?
If we overload our teams with too much, it causes confusion and leads to complacency. Be clear and concise to get the best results.
5. What can I do better tomorrow?
Choose one thing — just one thing that you can fix tomorrow. Changing that one thing every day can lead to a lot of positive change over time. It’s that simple.
There is power in these simple questions. If you spend time reflecting, you can grow and learn to recognize what got in your way today for a smoother tomorrow.
I challenge you to ask yourself these questions, find your own reflection spot and your own rhythm so that it’s a natural choice every day. Give yourself a chance to be reflective and grow your own self-awareness.
To summarize this perfectly, John Maxwell, organizational leadership coach and author of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, says: “Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you.”
Find time to pause today.
And don't forget to check out the previous blog in our Leadership Series for more helpful tips!