Time for Leaders to Reflect

Now is the time for Leaders to stop, debrief and reflect. For some of us it’s time to celebrate. For some it’s time to change and rebuild. For all of us it’s time to embrace the lessons of 2018 before we sit down with our loved (or unloved) ones at the Christmas dinner table.

At this time of year, are you actively picking up the pace to meet end-of-year deadlines in order to shift gears and don the Santa hat; join Christmas celebrations with friends; buy and wrap presents; pack and get on a plane; step back into your ‘role’ in your extended family (whether you like it or not) and drink that Christmas cheer?

If so, you risk overlooking one of your most crucial and meaningful obligations..

Are you taking time to stop and reflect on the year that was?

As a person wearing many hats: a leader in your organisation; a professional within your sector; a husband or wife; mother or father; family member and friend; an individual with passions and interests, how did you embrace (or cope with) being all of these things while leading a complex  busy ever-changing organisation in 2018?

And how do you manage the shift from your ‘work self’ to your family and social self at this time of year?

Engaging in meaningful reflection at the end of a big year allows you to lighten your emotional load, learn valuable lessons, celebrate your wins and acknowledge and embrace your failures. Most importantly, being able to understand and appreciate the year you’ve had will allow you to be more present with family and friends over the holiday period.

WHAT But what do you reflect upon?

A good place to start could be asking yourself: What have I learnt on both a personal and professional level in 2018? What lessons am I taking with me into 2019? What negative thoughts and feelings do I risk taking with me into 2019?

HOW do I reflect meaningfully?

Consider sitting with a counsellor like myself to help you drop the game face and be truly honest about your observations and experiences this year.  The counselling process helps you tap into authentic and often powerful insights, and will leave you feeling happier and healthier for your holiday break!

If you can’t get to a counsellor, take an hour, sit on some grass and ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What am I proud of this year
  • What has left me feeling fearful, confused, angry?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What am I avoiding?
  • What am I worried about going into the Christmas period?
  • How am I impacting my relationships at work?
  • What relationships do I want to improve?
  • Do I need to stop and acknowledge a valuable experience; a person who made a difference; a failure; a win?
  • What do I need to process and leave behind in the office?  
  • What difficult feelings do I need to shine a light on and bring to the surface before they affect my down time, my sleep and even my relationships?

What are the benefits of reflecting now?

When you think about it, the benefits of Reflection at the end of the year are compelling.

  • Lighten your emotional and mental load and be present for family and friends – honour your family and friends by leaving your work challenges and the emotions, thoughts and behaviours they trigger, at work.
  • Feel good about 2019 – look to 2019 with excitement and determination, not dread.
  • Celebrate your wins
  • Acknowledge, value and learn from your failures and slip-ups
  • Role model the practice of reflection – for those around you
  • Learn more about yourself – your emotional, mental and behavioural patterns
  • Feel emotionally refreshed – not drained, for the festive season
  • Get closure on some of the big challenges you faced in 2019


As I wind down my Counselling Practice for another year, I wonder how many business leaders struck a balance by bringing their ‘whole selves’ to work in 2018? How many inadvertently ignored the human side of their work personality and missed opportunities to reflect and learn about themselves?

For your own good mental health and the health of your family and friends, I implore you to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through your observations, experiences and emotions and kick start the process of reflection, self-awareness and learning. You will enter the Christmas period with a lighter load and look towards 2019 with a greater sense of hope.

I will help you maintain professional momentum within complex business environments without losing what you value most: Your health; your relationships; and your peace of mind.….