Archive for September, 2016


Fishing for Ideas: The Value of Reflection

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fishing-for-ideasDo you make time to stop for reflection?  Do you ponder information for more than a moment or two or do you quickly process and move on?

No, I’m not talking about the negative spirals where we deconstruct things done wrong, but rather that the deep, thought filled introspection on something meaningful.  The place you go mentally to ask yourself “I wonder” and “what if”, considering something from multiple viewpoints.

I’ve observed that we are busy, busy, busy these days.  We tell ourselves “have to keep up”, “I’ll get passed by”, “have to get this done now, no choice”, or “I don’t want to drop the ball and look bad”.  We all rationalize the need to keep moving.  It can often feel like if we slow down we will miss out.

What if you could actually do more by doing a bit less now and then?

In my experience, deep analysis and real strategic thinking has been getting short changed in our quest for speed.  Many do not see the value of pausing and have lost the art of reflection.

I believe we need to stop and make more time to reflect.  To give our busy minds down time to process the host of information we have collected, allowing our conscious and unconscious mind to connect.  By giving our minds a break from the constant pressure, we can often find new insights and creative ideas.

I remember reading that Thomas Edison was known for taking his fishing rod and sitting on the end of a pier, casting away.  However, he would never put any bait on his hook.  He would simply sit there for hours.  What is interesting is that he didn’t really want to catch any fish.  What he wanted to do was to sit there uninterrupted, allowing him to reflect.  Edison knew that if he looked as if he were fishing, no one would bother him – he could reflect uninterrupted.   What Edison was really after, what he wanted to catch, was ideas.

One might say that reflection is the root of my Ponderings and Insights blogs.  Have you noticed that my blog articles contain embedded questions?  That I don’t typically write about:

  • 7 insights for marketing success
  • 3 critical pieces of advice for change
  • 12 steps to getting attention
  • How I succeeded, and you can too

I provide information, sometimes a story, and ask you to consider some questions.  I want you to do some internal analysis and think for yourself.  For me, writing these blogs is a way to stop and reflect on a concept, and then share with others.  Each of my blogs is my own reflection of sorts – where I share items that have been ruminating in my mind.

So here are several important (well, important to me) questions for you to ponder and reflect, to gather your own personal insights:

  • How do you spend your time?  Are you allocating it to the right things?  Things that are strategic, not just tactical and have longer term value?
  • Are you perhaps rushing along so fast, working, working, working?  Do you need to lift your head and mind, to allow your conscious and unconscious to connect?
  • What comes to mind when you observe someone looking out a window or perhaps sitting on a park bench “doing nothing”?  Do you know for sure that they are doing nothing?  Might they, perchance, be thinking and reflecting?  Perhaps they are like Thomas Edison, taking time to consider their creations and fishing for ideas.

My wish for you today is to find time to stop, pause, and to reflect.  To make the time for critical, strategic, inside work that is sorely needed these days.

So let’s go fishing together, reminding ourselves that the next time we see someone “doing nothing”, that they might just be fishing for insights and ideas instead.  Here’s to catching more!

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Guiding Principles

- Think Holistically
- Seek the Root Causes
- Respect the Individual
- Demonstrate Accountability
- Collaborate with Clients
- Work with Integrity, Always
- Relate to the Business Strategy
- Ensure Alignment
- Demonstrate Responsibility
- Transfer Skills

Thoughts and Quotes