In my mastermind in North Carolina last week, we completed some reflection exercises, looking back on our work from the past quarter. And while I was reflecting, it occurred to me that my weekly practice (I call it my “Weekender”) has changed the way I look at my business – and my life.

My Weekender practice has made me aware of the great and the not-so-great things I do (and helps me change them for the better), it’s allowed me to shift from reactive to proactive, and it puts a bookend on my week.

What heightens your awareness, shifts you into proactive mode, and puts a bookend on your week? It's my Weekender reflection practice, and you can do it, too! #weekender #personaldevelopment Click To Tweet

Increasing Awareness

Reflecting on what’s working – and not working – every single week gives me a richer, fuller picture of both my business and myself.

Like you, I do a lot in the course of a week. But it’s easy to forget the good stuff in the rush to move on to the next thing. In the first part of my Weekender, I list at least 5 things I’ve accomplished that week. Some of the things are bigger or more important than others, and that’s okay. I’m often surprised at how much I accomplish in a week!

I added a section on celebration to my Weekender specifically because I suck at it, and I’d rather not. Every week, there’s been at least one thing to feel great about and to celebrate. This section gently nudges me to commit to doing something fun to mark the occasion.

Last week, my celebration was getting a daring new nail polish, and every time I look at my hands, I think about the cool thing I did. Which sounds kinda frivolous, until you understand that this sort of celebration combined with reflection creates new neural pathways to help me reinforce my desired behavior. Cool, right?

Reactive to Proactive

Part of the benefit of my Weekender practice is shifting my mindset from reactive to proactive. Instead of being passive and waiting for the phone to ring or my inbox to fill up, I’m identifying the challenges I’m facing and the opportunities ahead for me.

The challenges section is there to help me identify trends so I can take action (it’s not meant for whining, although sometimes, it happens). If something shows up in my challenges section more than a couple of times, it’s a clear hint that I need to do something differently.

My coach tells me that when something that drives me crazy keeps showing up, it’s probably time to set up a system or process to address it. She’s so right. It’s empowering to act on the stuff that’s challenging me. And some of my best process and program improvements I’ve made have come out of this work.

I also have a question in my Weekender about the opportunities that are arising from what I’ve learned this week. The opportunities section might be my favorite one. It shifts my perspective away from obligation (“I have to do this because it’s on my list!”) into possibility (“I have the chance to do something that serves my client/me/my business!”).

Identifying places I can practice new skills, help my clients, and further my goals is not only exciting and cool, but it allows me to focus on the growth and development aspects of my work.

Work Week Bookend

I complete my Weekender every Friday afternoon, and it really helps me shift my focus from work to weekend. When I first started my coaching & consulting practice, I worked a lot of weekends, because I was so excited to be learning and creating and doing new stuff! But I knew that working 7 days a week wasn’t how I wanted to work or live, and setting some boundaries about when work began and ended was important to me.

The last piece of my Weekender is a short list (3-5 only!) of focus areas for the next week. I fill it out after a quick peek at my quarterly goals and checking out what’s on my calendar for the following week. Because I finish my Fridays by reflecting on what I’ve done as well as what’s in front of me, I end the week’s work feeling good about it. And then, I can start my weekend with a clean slate.

How has reflection changed the way you look at the world? Tell us in the comments below!