Guest blog

Reflections – Rachel Devereux

In a recent conversation with Rachel on our journey to the Tedx in Liverpool, we were chatting about the reflective practice and I mentioned my recently published blog. Coincidentally Rachel’s revalidation for the NMC was due and she explained she was having to think about what she could write her reflection on and the conversation continued. So I seized the opportunity and invited Rachel to write a guest blog for me to publish, here on Sayers Solutions.

And this is what she wrote –

“In business I hadn’t thought to include reflective practice – perhaps because it’s so blatantly obvious. But then are the simplest things often the things we procrastinate over, put off or move to the bottom of the to do list?

In any line of work, reflection is good to help you move forwards and continue to provide excellent service.

Reflection happens automatically – “oh no, why did I say that”,

It happens as a peer observation – “Dude, I think you went a bit over board there”.

But often we find our selves in a cycle of negativity or defensiveness if these observations are not dealt with sensitively. Having a person, a time and an agenda to your reflection can help keep it focused and productive.

How often do you sit down and actually carve time out to reflect?

You may do a SWOT or a PEST analysis in your business plan. Perhaps you have a coach to help you move forwards.

But have you fitted in Reflection as part of the timeline in your business? Perhaps a periodic 6 monthly review, or even a reactive reflection on a specific event – your best or worst week?

In nursing reflective practice is something we are encouraged to do often, and in cases of serious incidents there is often a scheduled time for reflection to help people deal with emotions and learn coping strategies or procedures for if similar happens again.

The model I have used has been Gibbs cycle of reflection, 1988.

This model looks at

Description – what happened. Describe the event.

Feelings – how does the event make you feel

Evaluation – how was it good and not so good.

Conclusion – how could it have been more positive, what could you do differently, skills to learn?

Action – what will you implement and by what time scale?

This is not a complex model, there is not a right way or a wrong way to do it.

  1. Choose an event, follow the steps, ask why questions.
  2. Understand what happened, how it could be perceived and how it could be better.
  3. Celebrate what did go well, look at what needs new skills.
  4. Pop an action plan together.

I believe the answers are often found in the simplicity. We get so caught up in looking for answers outside of ourselves, trying to find the holy grail, the quick fix or the problem solver. When all we need is a moments peace and a flash of insight.

I’m going to ask you honestly, how many people have their best ideas in the shower, playing golf or walking near the reservoir?

These are our moments of insight, the ones that sucker punch us and catapult us into our next wave of awesome.

The best time to do reflection is when you have switched off from the event, when you have found your calm and quietened your mind.

If you schedule in time for reflection also schedule in time for non-contemplation. Book a laughter date with a friend, go for a walk, do something that lights you up and switches your mind off the problem.

Then sit down with a coach, reflection/accountability buddy, or alone and write under the headings.

You will find having switched off before you begin it is easier to tackle the task more objectively and get greater insight and understanding.

Something I can’t stress enough is to not get sucked into the downward spiral of spending too much time in memory. Yes, we must visit it for reflection, yet we don’t need to relive it. We need to remember that our memory is simply a distorted reflection of our observation. It is not real, it is not fact, it is our interpretation. We can gain valuable information to help us to learn and grow but we do not need to pick the scab and open old wounds.

And after your plans and projections then remember the only day we have to enjoy is today, plans and projections are simply seeds – some will grow, some will be dormant, and some will be entirely unexpected.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin – Mother Theresa.

Life is like any other contact sport. You may encounter hardships of one sort or another. Wise people find happiness not in the absence of such hardships, but in their ability to understand them when they occur.Sydney Banks

New years is the perfect time for reflection, you can reflect on the previous year.

Work out what went well, where you wasted time and money and how you can put steps in place to get a full diary and make 2019 your best yet.

As for me, I already have public events and businesses booked in for January and February helping people create healthy happy lives. I am also going to be offering Reflections and Resolution classes for groups who want to understand how they have been using stress to stop them achieving their best in business. Please be in touch if you are wanting support with reflections, resolutions, Veganuary, dry January or any other health, environment and wellbeing topic.”

Rachel is a Holistic Nurse and Healthy Life Coach with over 14 years NHS service and a MSc in Long Term Health Conditions.

She currently coaches people to change habits to avoid future ill health, runs health MOTs including biometrics and provides environmental healthy home cleaning options. Rachel also delivers a not-for-profit baby sling education and lending service – this helps create health from birth, with normal carrying positions supported for optimal positioning and comfort.