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By Chris Males

Time is a precious commodity – and I think we all feel at one point or another that we don’t have enough time. This is especially true in our busy business world, where we’re pulled in many directions every day. We’re asked to put out fires that have sparked overnight, then pulled in many unexpected directions while managing our normal workload, and then we’re working hard to innovate and create the new ideas of tomorrow. This can cause us to feel guilty for not having enough time for our own personal growth. At best, we may try to squeeze in a podcast or read the latest journal article, but often this only adds to an already overwhelmed brain. So, how do we find the time to reflect and grow?

Recently, a client shared with me a unique way to effortlessly squeeze in some reflection time so he could ‘grow on the go’. Instead of always feeling the compulsion for taking in more information, could he experience growth by simply reflecting on the valuable, yet often overlooked, lessons within his chaotic days? He shared with me a practice that he called ‘Red Light Reflection’. He said, “I use red lights as a trigger to switch my brain into reflection mode. This is where I quickly reflect on the successes and challenges of my day’s events, my newest learnings, and the feelings I am experiencing. During my 50-minute commute, I can get many of these short but helpful reflection moments.”

Is a red light magical? No. But it is a trigger and a consistent, 3-minute break that we get during a commute. Where else can we find such a reminder to simply reflect? Perhaps during our morning coffee, or taking our dog for a walk. Maybe it’s waiting in line for a meal, or sitting while waiting for an appointment. So often we get dragged back to our iPhone, that computer in our pocket that keeps us handcuffed to work, and we overlook these short, yet powerful, moments where we can reflect and grow.

Too often we think the limiting factor to our personal growth is time. In reality, the more experiences we encounter, the more opportunities we have to learn. This, of course, requires that we capture that special moment before life’s clutter invades our reflection space.

In a world of volatility, it’s often in these quiet moments of reflection that we most consistently give ourselves the necessary time and space to develop our mindset skills, challenge our biases, refine our character, and reframe the dramas of the day. It’s in these moments that we effectively ‘grow on the go’.

As always, we'd love to know what you think.

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