The Power of Reflection 

Paolo Giuricich, Organisation Development Consultant

The world is a hectic place where things are changing and evolving faster by the second. In business, the drive towards innovation and fresh creativity is simultaneously exciting and challenging – we’re always looking forward and striving for growth. A quiet moment of reflection can give us focus and inspiration when we are most in need of it.

 With more and more people choosing to go freelance and engage in the world of short-term contracts, the professional landscape has become increasingly based on individual contributions rather than collaborative efforts. The nature of the gig economy creates a workflow characterised by the ‘feast or famine’ phenomenon. Unsurprisingly, many freelancers (and I include myself in this category) experience feelings of loneliness and loss of direction within their field, and there is little support available to help us move forward progressively.

 In between rushing all over the globe to see my clients, having to juggle the logistical responsibilities of running a business, and the relentless pressure to find new work, there is precious little space for gathering feedback and reflecting on what I’ve achieved. While on board a flight from Austria to South Africa after a successful client meeting, I realised how ‘unplugged’ moments are essential for reflecting on the week I’ve had. Learning to analyse and interpret my recent experiences has been an invaluable tool for improving my life – both personally and professionally.

 A favourite book of mine is ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni, which illustrates the importance of trust as a basis for all successful teams. The author explores different ways to approach a position of power and authority, the types of behaviours, principles and attitudes that promote productivity, and how to ensure your business has a culture of inclusivity and diversity.

many freelancers experience feelings of loneliness and loss of direction

While on board a flight from Austria to South Africa I realised how ‘unplugged’ moments are essential for reflecting on the week I’ve had...

Whether I’m working with colleagues I’ve known for years, or a team of partners who I’ve only just met, I apply the same process of trust-building by exposing my authentic, human side every time. It’s natural for this to make one feel vulnerable, but it’s an essential step for ensuring everyone around me feels more relaxed and inclined to trust me.

You only have to look at global politics to observe that our professional culture devalues natural human vulnerability, but I believe being vulnerable is one of the most important ways to achieve a happy workplace. My recent collaborative work on the ‘Future of Learning’ project opened my eyes to the upcoming changes to leadership and how we interact with one another in a professional setting. The rise of A.I. and technology-based business services means that now more than ever we need to be prepared to bring vulnerability and humanity to the table.

We need to create a space where our natural human side and unique personality can sit comfortably and without judgement while at work. Indeed, as well as encouraging trust between one another, exposing one’s vulnerable side can help us develop essential skills.

From the office to the home, the power of reflection is essential for personal relationships, too. My son is seven years old, and is completely and refreshingly uncensored in his opinions and thoughts. As we get older and enter the world of work, all too often we close ourselves off to this open and genuine approach to life. We can learn a lot from children – primarily that vulnerability is not the same as weakness.

 Whenever you can, take a break from the demands of your hectic schedule to sit down and commit to a moment of reflection – it will help you personally as well as professionally.

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