The need for reflection

Life today is busy.  In the last 10 years, the most consistent refrain from individuals and organisations who I have worked with has been:

I just want some time to think. 

There’s too much going on – I need clarity.

I don’t have anyone I can really talk this stuff through with.

I need some space for me, to remind myself what is really important.

This lack of time to reflect, to pause and stand back, has negative implications; not just for an individual and their mental health, but for their organisation too.

For leaders, in an increasingly complex world, it can be an isolated position. Advice comes from sources with a vested interest: work colleagues or family and friends. Common challenges include workload, time-management, strategic thinking, developing employees, effective communication and guiding change, while striking a healthy work-life balance. Often there is never the time to focus on what is truly important (for the organisation but for you as an individual too).

For those in helping professions, research paints a picture of individuals that care, but are faced with situations of uncertainty, complexity, lack of control and support, with often highly-charged interactions with service users.  And while the majority find satisfaction in their work, an increasing number suffer from stress and ‘burn-out’.  Looking after yourself is a low priority.

I want to focus my support on supporting leaders (at all levels), particularly those working to help others. I believe coaching, mentoring and one to one support can be hugely beneficial. It offers pressurised leaders a chance to step back, to test things out, to be listened to and to be heard. Good leaders are authentic, courageous, committed and self-aware, but when things get tough, everyone needs a confidante, a trusted partner, to both listen to and tell the truth.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau