Writing for Hays Viewpoint, leadership coach Simi Rayat explains why self-reflection is a key ingredient to success and wellbeing.
When we are rocking our moves on the dancefloor, we are in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Although it can have its charm, it can also be busy and frantic, like our everyday lives. Perching on the balcony creates space for self-reflection; to take a breath, tune into what is happening and experience the vibrations, just like when we get a moment to savour a much-needed coffee or cup of tea.
Many of the clients I coach have benefited from regularly taking their ‘foot off the dancefloor and stepping up onto the balcony’ to really digest, capture and absorb what and how they are feeling and thinking at a moment in time.
By building short yet frequent ‘balcony moments’ into their daily practice, they have been able to lift their heads from the detail and create a sense of objectiveness and detachment from their situation to adopt a more holistic view.
So, what makes these balcony moments so powerful?
When we are stuck in our never-ending to-do list, rushing from one activity or place to the next, we can often lose sight of our ‘why’ – the real reason we are busting our chops. In these times of frenzy, we get trapped in the detail and become narrow-focused in the lens we apply. We therefore misidentify where we can generate greater value.
Being able to take a step up onto the balcony creates a space for self-reflection and new perspectives to emerge, enabling perceptions to shift. This also allows us to view things more objectively and creatively.
Mentally escaping – even momentarily – from social media and the physical noise and turbulence around us mobilises a sense of calmness and stillness. Whether this be through meditation, mindfulness or simply being alone and giving your mind a chance for self-reflection and to catch a breath, taking stock and connecting with one specific topic is hugely powerful.
Freeing ourselves from distractions and unhelpful chatter in our own heads allows us to think clearly about specific topics or issues. Having clarity can help shape and crystallise ideas and carve a path for the way forward, whether this be small steps or the beginning of an exciting project.
Taking the time to really focus on one thought, idea or decision allows you to build a deeper understanding of it and formulate your own views. This feeling of being able to take the time to gather your own thoughts and nobody else’s is liberating and empowering. It also instils confidence.
Similarly, taking the time to reflect on what is working or perhaps no longer serves you well is a great way to gather insight into what you need to stop, continue and start doing as you navigate turbulent times.
Making the space for self-reflection
Being a mum of two young boys, juggling running my own business and being absolutely present with my clients, homeschooling and managing a family household, I soon realised that my sanity during lockdown was heavily dependent on making space for my own self-reflection and balcony moments.
Even if it was just for 20 or 30 minutes once a week, having this mental space to gain perspective, clarity and insight was essential. This practice is now embedded in my routine and I relish this time of walking to the river alone, not being on my phone and giving myself the opportunity to contemplate.
This personal-thinking time has helped me develop some of my most inspiring ideas, make some life-changing decisions and focus on the here and now. I come back to each of my roles more reinvigorated, energised and ready to take on the next challenge that comes my way.
By Simi Rayat
Simi Rayat is a leadership coach and the founder of Wellbeing Face.
A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.