Weekly Intention – Reflection

03.22.13 | Posted in Weekly Intention

Last night, at one of the highest points in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, I stared out across the expanse taking in the Swiss and French Alps, Lake Geneva, and the city below, soaking in the stunning beauty of the view. So many emotions and thoughts were running through my mind, along with the continuing thought of just how blessed I am to be able to do what I do – invest in the next generation of UnCommon Leaders.

Over 60 leaders from around the globe were about to celebrate a week of learning, sharing, growing and stretching for new heights as a leader and earlier in the day I had been asking myself what was the one thing that could have caused such astonishing change in these leaders in such a short amount of time. Besides the key element that they each came hungry and motivated to maximize their experience, what was it – what was the one thing – that if taken away would have caused them to return with new knowledge, but not fundamentally changed as so many were.

Then the spark of genius hit – yes, I believe there is genius in each of us and that does not come from ego, but deep humility – and the very act that was transpiring became the focus – reflection. I could have walked to the top, taken some pictures and then gone back to the restaurant to begin our celebration, but something had caused me to stand looking out and pondering so many questions. In a word, I was reflecting and that drove questions – some simple and others deep, but those questions kept flowing and that’s when I had my answer.  Reflection had produced intentional focus which drove questions that must be answered.  And, that one, simple act had produced change that most of the leaders would not nor could not have imagined prior to the start of the leadership program.

Most high performing leaders are action and results oriented – give them the KPI’s and you’ll get the results. But, how many have truly reflected and searched at the level that we had just asked these leaders to do? Very few of us if we’re willing to be honest. One phrase that was the opening comment, repeated many times in several versions by the participants, is a clue to the impact  of reflection – “I never realized…..” 

Here’s your challenge for today – find one hour, shut off all distractions and give yourself permission to not do anything other than reflect. As it has been said before, become a human being and stop being a human-doing! Begin to ask yourself the type of questions that drive positive reflection and change. Questions such as:

  • What has happened in the past that has shaped me as a leader?
  • Where have my beliefs come from?
  • Are these beliefs empowering beliefs?
  • How has loss in my life impacted me as a leader?
  • Do I really know what it is that I do that produces success as a leader?
  • Do I fully understand how I impact others with my leadership style?

There are many, many more questions that you can come up with and the encouragement is to not view this as a competition, but what it is – reflection. Pick one question and keep reflecting upon it. Stay with it and add “and what else” to the end of the same question and dig deep.

And, when you do this today, make one more commitment. Commit to doing this intentional act of reflection every week for the rest of 2013. Next January let me know what happened!

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

This blog is dedicated to entire AHPL group in May 2014 in Gstaad (and my group of Ulrik, Roland and Marc!) & Elena, Abdullah, Andy, Juan, Stefan, Mohamed, and Peter (HPL May 2014). And, Gorm, Yvan, Sanne, Alexander, Beatrice and Albert (HPL March 2013).  And finally to The A Team…Leonardo, Sabine, Eric, Fady and John (HPL April 2013).

Go change the world! 


A Creative Guide To Exploring Your Life: Self-Reflection Using Photography, Art, and Writing – Graham Gordon Ramsay

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13 Responses to “Weekly Intention – Reflection”

  1. Terry Small says:

    Beautifully stated, Ed.

    You are a genius. T.

  2. Luiz Lunkes says:

    Hi Ed,
    You touch and absolutely got the point.
    In the evening that we met at the hotel we made a lot of reflections and, the most important, we generate also a lot of “row material, better, ideas” to reflect. Sincronicity may be the word to describe why we met. Enlightment is for me the word that describe the outcome. I personally reflected about. The answer is in your text above. Thank you for the moments of inspiration, for sharing some beautfull stories of courage, and for the enlightment. I learned a lot and you, as a high performance leader, made the difference. Luiz Lunkes.

    • echaffin says:

      Luiz, it was a great pleasure to “run” into you in Lausanne. You from Brazil. Me from the US and we bump into each other in front of the Movenpick! I really enjoyed catching up with you and to hear how HPL has and continues to impact you as a leader!

  3. Alan Allard says:

    Ed, your reminder of the need to reflect is timely for all of us. It’s the difference between being proactive and reactive and between learning as we go and simply “rinsing and repeating” out of habit. We will never find the time to reflect, we have to make it. As the author of “Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness,” I am always look for resources to pass along to others and this post made my list–thank you.

    • echaffin says:

      Alan, thanks for the comments. You’ve nailed it with your comment – “we have to make it.” Would love to have you be a guest blogger sometime!

  4. Gorm says:

    Dear Ed.
    Thanks for the dedication….the blog, but mostly the dedication you showed us this week in Lausanne.
    I believe, that you just nailed it, by pointing at reflection, as the one most important ingredient for the development yesterday and for tommorrow.
    I have now read your blog two times, and I believe, that if there is one thing that stands beside reflection it is this dedication thing, that gives the fuel to make the change, that is given by the reflection.
    You showed the path of dedication by your honesty, openness and risk taking. All important in both development, growth and true Leadership.
    That beeing said, I know that your idea of putting reflection into your weekly or daily scheme, does create right focus for understanding and focusing. Whether that is on a mountain top, in your meditation routine, on your exercise path or anywhere else. The important part is to remember the power of reflection, and dare to use it!!
    Thanks for your great contribution !

    • echaffin says:

      Gorm, you are a genius! Thank you for you valuable contributions as well. We were a powerful team that week!Dedication is something that can fuel growth as we saw the total dedication everyone came with prepared to go deep in order to become the best leader they can be.

      All the best,

  5. JPeterson says:

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing your insight and your “challenge”…it should prove to be very enlightening 🙂

  6. Randy Taylor says:

    Good thoughts Ed. Unfortunately many of us (I raise my hand first), don’t take time to slow down for reflection. It truly is an essential part of personal growth. Wish I could have dinner in Lausanne ….. all I’ve got here is the Varsity! 🙂

    • echaffin says:

      Now wait a minute Randy…”all I’ve got here is the Varsity!” You won’t get any pity party from me. There’s LOTS of great places in Atlanta. They may not have the view I had, but the food is outstanding.
      Thanks for the comments. Take care!

  7. Rodeth says:

    Those are deep questions…..worth exploring for self discovery. And each question can take time to reflect on.

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