Self Reflection is an important competency, and a common term used in Learning & Development. Just a quick google search on the term 'self reflection' leads to more than 357.000.000 results!
Apparently there is a lot of self reflection to be done...
And it is not without reason... You can learn and improve a lot from self-reflection. It increases your self-knowledge, makes you (more) aware of emotions that play a role in different situations and it gives you insight into how you can act more effectively. But how does one do that? How do you self-reflect? Recently I ran a Personal Effectiveness training using the Logical Levels of Change, Learning & Communication, based on Bateson & Dilts.
This theory states that people can think, learn and communicate on different levels:
The effect of each level is to organize and direct the information on the level below it. Changing something on a higher level would necessarily change things on the lower levels. Changing something on a lower level however, could but would not necessarily affect the upper levels.
For example: Many people have the behavioral skills to get up on a stage, grab the microphone and tell an audience of 200 people something about themselves. Yet many do not think that's a very pleasant task. There is something on a higher level that is blocking them... Perhaps a belief? (ie. "I do not have anything interesting to say.") Only changing that belief can lead to true changed behavior. Just changing the behavior does not necessarily change the belief. When you want to learn how to self reflect, these levels can be a very helpful tool.
For example, try this 3 Step Self Reflection Exercise:
Think of a situation that you recently experienced that you want to reflect upon. An argument? A conflict of interest? Or perhaps a difficult conversation?
Then write down the answers to following questions based on the different levels of the model. Starting with the lower, bottom level: 1. Environment: Where are you? What do you respond to, when and with whom? 2. Behavior: What do you do, see, hear, how do you act? 3. Capabilities / Skills: What can you do, how do you handle the situation? 4. Beliefs: Why do you handle it that way? What do you believe? 5. Identity: Who are you? What is your goal in life? 6. Purpose: What else is this happening for? What is the purpose? Step 3.
See if you can formulate a conclusion at the end and don't forget: Be kind to yourself! This willingness to examine yourself, to make corrections and to do better in the future, is essential to your personal growth.
Happy self reflecting!