Self-Reflection Creates A Growth Mindset

#deancrisp #growthmindset #journaling #lawenforcement #leadership #self-reflection Jul 12, 2022

In my podcast this week, I focus on two of the four pillars I’ve found most useful for becoming your best person and leader – self-reflection and mindset. At LHLN we talk A LOT about mindset and how that impacts all areas of one’s life. Truly it does. Have a negative mindset, chances are, you will feel bad and do not-so-great things in all areas of your life. Just think back to the last time you woke up with a bad attitude. How did it make you feel physically? How did it make you function mentally? What decisions did you make that day that in retrospect you regret? Conversely, think back to a day that was awesome. What was your mood? What was your perspective on the people and events around you that day? What actions did you take? Chances are they were drastically different than the negative day.

So, the question becomes how can we all work to stay more in a “growth” or positive mindset and how can we limit or eliminate the more “fixed” or negative mindsets that can all plague us? Well, one way I have found is through the routine practice of self-reflection. In this blog post, I want to share some of the questions I ask myself routinely and how this has helped me become more growth-mindset oriented.

First, I recommend that you have a journal and you need to use it daily. Start with what you are grateful for each day. Things like your family, your dog, your job, etc. whatever makes you feel positive. I’ve had friends and colleagues tell me they will take sticky notes and write these things on them and stick them to their bathroom mirror.

Second, you need to take the time to really consider the following:

  • What are your values? What matters to you and write them down
  • What are your goals? Today? This week? This month? This year? In five years? Write them down in your journal. As John Maxwell says, if you don’t write down a goal, you can be assured you likely won’t achieve it. Seeing the goal(s) in writing help you to begin to formulate a plan to achieve them – to act if you will

Next, daily, you should reflect on where your mindset is at? How are you feeling mentally, spiritually, and physically? Are you making and executing a plan of self-care in these areas? Physical exercise; meditation or prayer; quiet time to focus on your thoughts and really understand what you say to yourself. These are all important to track in your journal for personal and professional growth. It’s a way to see where you were and how far you’ve come. I’ve found that as I do this, I can self-correct my mindset and put it back on track. You see, your mindset WILL impact your thoughts and our THOUGHTS impact our ACTIONS in all areas of our life. When you realize where your thoughts are, you can redirect them and, in turn, take more appropriate actions.

There’s an old saying that “Thoughts Are Things” and it has been my experience that this is true. If you think things will go wrong, they probably will. If you think people are bad, they likely will be. SO, get control of your mindset by routinely self-reflecting on where your current thoughts are!

What you will find is that as you practice this for a few weeks, (they say it takes 21 days to create a new habit) that you will find yourself more focused on your goals and the actions needed to accomplish them. Goal setting and tracking your progress toward them via a journal is the single most important thing you can do for professional and personal growth. Some of the most accomplished leaders in history kept a journal. From our great military leaders to some of the greatest thinkers throughout the ages, all shared the practice of self-reflection through journaling as a daily routine. It kept them on track and focused on what really mattered.

What I have found is that it helps me personally get my thoughts on paper. When you can write an idea on paper, you can actually see if it makes sense to explain to others. Whether it’s a new initiative within your department or a new way to coach a team, writing it helps to clarify the idea in your mind and in your ability to share it with others. It’s also helped me track my goals whether it’s trying to be better in a particular area of my life OR in creating new content for a class or podcast or blog post.

The profession of law enforcement is facing many challenges right now. It is perhaps one of the most perilous and difficult times to be a cop. Leading cops is even more challenging. Making sure that we support ourselves as leaders and those we lead requires a growth mindset. Finding the time to self-reflect on where we are and where we want to go as leaders of these important and vital organizations is paramount to our future success as leaders and as a profession.


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