I’m reading a book called “The Spiritual Exercises” by Ignatius of Loyola. It was written in 1524, almost 500 years ago. In the first set of exercises, the emphasis is on thinking back over the previous twelve hours of the day and determining what you did well and what you did not do well in order to perform better in the future. The recommendation is to set aside time to think once in the morning and once in the evening and discern what can be learned from those twelve hours in order to improve your behavior in the next twelve hours.
Think, act, reflect, discern, think, act, …
What a powerful sequence for all business leaders. Take time in the morning to reflect on the previous evening. What did you do well, what did you do poorly, and what did you learn from your evening activities whether you were with business associates, family members or friends that you can use to improve your thoughts, words, and actions over the next twelve hours? Then take time in the evening to reflect on the previous morning and afternoon. What did you do well, what did you do poorly, and what did you learn from those previous twelve hours?
These simple periods of reflection and discernment can help us stay focused throughout the day and allow us to intentionally improve our performance as leaders day after day.