One of the first steps to becoming a “master of your craft” is developing self-awareness. Self-awareness refers to having a clear perception of who you really are. Are you able to objectively identify your strengths and limitations? What are your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, values, and motivations? These are some of the fundamental questions that everyone needs to ask themselves if they want to have a clear sense of who they are and ultimately succeed in life.
Unfortunately, today’s society moves fast and is driven by the use of technology, which makes it extremely easy for us to lose ourselves in this chaos.
Therefore, it is imperative that you set aside some time to pause and quietly reflect on your life. A great exercise that you can start doing immediately is self-reflection.
Get a logbook that looks attractive to you and that you will only use for self-reflection. Place it in your nightstand. Every night before going to bed, take 5 to 10 minutes to reflect on your day or life in general. What worked? What can I do better in the next game? What is my passion? Who supports me at school? Remember that you are constantly “performing” in various areas of your life, whether it be at school, work, on the court or in close relationships. Put the date on top of the page and include a descriptive title. Write a paragraph with as many details as possible. Start with tangible questions (e.g., what healthy change can I make to my diet?) and then make your way to the more abstract questions (e.g., what is my purpose in life?).
Here is a sport example that supports the idea that self-reflection can improve performance. In 2013, Neil and colleagues explored the potential value of a reflective practice intervention with a cricketer. The intervention consisted of a combination of education as well as guided and unguided reflective practice. At the end of the intervention, the cricketer reported an increase in self-confidence and improved focus during actual performance (there was also an increase in batting average). The researchers stated the following: “it is thought that by establishing more effective reflective techniques the cricketer was able to develop the self-awareness required to understand the aspects of his performance that were limiting, as well as those that facilitated positive performance. Such self-awareness empowered the cricketer to take responsibility for finding his own solutions to the issues he faced, subsequently impacting the way in which he thought about himself and his performance”.
Set goals. Do just one thing at a time. Keep it simple and smart. Do it consistently. Reflect on the process.
Neil, R., Cropley, B., Wilson, K., & Faull, A. (2013). Exploring the value of reflective practice interventions within applied sport psychology: Case studies with an individual athlete and a team. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 9, 42-56.