Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” In this episode, I cover a key component of my self-reflection practice: writing. I cover my personal beginnings with writing, the importance of writing professionally and the positive impact it can have with your teammates, and how I plan to continue to become a better writer. Sometimes you need to look back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.
Col Jason Lamb, aka “Col Ned Stark”, recently published an article where he shared his parting thoughts prior to his upcoming retirement. Within those thoughts he mentioned three tenets he remains to be true over his career, and the last tenant was “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of meaningful self-reflection”
A key component of my self-reflection practice is writing. Here is some insight:
- When did I start writing?
- High school. Typical teenage angst poetry. Those early writings were my attempts to get my emotions out of my head so I could manage them. And to try and get girls. It worked…sometimes.
- Education. Reports have always been there. Something sparked when I attended USMC CSC. Being forced into distilling my thoughts into subjects that interested me gave me the confidence to continue to write. Not necessarily for academics, but for myself and the creative process of just writing.
- Blogging and writing my book – My first website, Project Rise, was essentially my blog where I challenged myself to write weekly about something. Leadership, fitness, creativity, whatever. Also, this is where I chose to document my thoughts to share with people who were interested (and so I didn’t have to give the same speech twice). This evolved to my idea to write a book on squadron command and leadership, which is currently in its final steps!
- Why is writing vital for a rising leader?
- As I continued to progress in my career, I realized my responsibility was to be a “translator”. I need to take the great work my team is creating and then remix it to a presentable format for leadership decisions. Evaluations, awards, emails, talking papers, decision papers…all written word. The art and science of doing this via the combination of words and visuals are important and must be tailored to the audience. Regardless, my job as the leader is to make sure the “translation” works for both sides.
- Reflection is a powerful tool for growth. Make writing a powerful habit to put your thoughts down on paper and keep writing until you finish your thoughts. You might surprise yourself if you end the same way you started.
- Sort of related: Bullet Journal. Quickly preserving memories and thoughts for action or reflection. Check out the last episode from season 1 for more on why I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal system.
- How do I plan to get better?
- Keep on writing! Contribute to other platforms to continue to grow. Get over your fear and write.
- Take feedback. No one is perfect. They are trying to help you get better!
- Find some challenges to write differently or to cover different subjects. Exercise your mind to see how much further you can grow