No, it’s not the prevention of the omphalo virus. Omphaloskepsis is the contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. And while it’s a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, the larger point is that wellness professionals don’t spend enough time in quiet reflection.
Why does it matter? Because to be the best version of your professional and personal self, there’s almost nothing more beneficial than purposeful reflection and introspection. Several studies suggest everything from enhanced productivity to reduced stress and improved job satisfaction. And while we all understand the benefits of meditation — a close cousin to reflection — we often put ourselves last in line for the same services we recommend to others.
To be clear, reflection is more than just slowing down to think carefully. It’s ritual that gives your brain time to consider ideas, beliefs, decisions, interactions, and attitude. The routine pause in your day gives your mind space to learn and grow beyond where it was yesterday.
Intuitively, we know reflection is good for us. So why don’t we do it? Some (but certainly not all) reasons include:
If you’re thinking you’d like to give daily reflection a try, here are a few ideas to get started:
A thought on coaches… they offer real value in helping people navigate the issues in a career and in life. But I think it’s a mistake to substitute coaches — whether a professional or a trusted friend — for reflection. To achieve the full benefits of reflection, you need to do the heavy lifting yourself. Consistently.
Once reflection becomes part of your routine, there will no doubt be times when you want to seek the counsel of others to help you move forward. But the process of wrestling with something that’s difficult before you start soliciting help can be enormously beneficial over time. The greatest value is often in the struggle, so don’t deny yourself that opportunity.
Di Stefano, Giada and Gino, Francesca and Pisano, Gary P. and Staats, Bradley R., Making Experience Count: The Role of Reflection in Individual Learning (June 14, 2016). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 14-093.