Self-Coaching Challenge: Learn the Power of Reflection to Increase Self-Awareness

Daily Quote: “This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically. If you can truly know yourself, you will begin the journey of transformation.” Deepak Chopra

Reflection: If you are open to new ways to improve  your life both at work or home, you might want to try the Self-Coaching technique of “Self-Awareness through Reflection”. Increasing you ability to be more Self-Aware will keep you from living life on “autopilot” or feeling “stuck” by just moving through daily activities and tasks like this is all there is in life. This approach to living is boring and self-deflating to say the least. Self-Awareness and reflection is gaining in popularity because new neuroscience research on the brain’s ability to grow and expand. The Brain is more like a muscle than a fixed structure. The potential for expansion and learning through out life is getting more attention because it is important in helping you shape your thoughts and behavior which impact decisions about career, relationships, and your life.

Basically, Self Awareness and Reflection is the ability to process and gain understanding of what your experiences teach you about who you are and how to live a more fulfilling life. Self-awareness is important because it provides the opportunity to assess your strengths, recognize what is working for you and learn how others perceive and measure your competencies and capabilities. Learning how others react and perceive you helps to uncover “blindspots” which many times are the barriers for living a more productive and optimum life. A simple illustration of this is to overrate yourself as strong leader and get a false sense of pride out of it, only to be devastated when you receive feedback from your team that this not how they experience  and perceive you.

So in essence self-awareness is the capacity to reason about experiences and to use information about your effect on others to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience. Its chief components include recognizing personally relevant information about yourself from reflection and others, and using that information to create  a plan for personal changes and self-development.

If this doesn’t sound important, I will remind you of the fact that tens of thousands of individuals derail themselves by not acknowledging personal and professional behaviors and decisions that are not aligned with reality. They make wrong decisions about what jobs to take, what work environments to enter, who to work with, and by overrating their abilities and underrating their deficiencies lose touch with reality and become “stuck” and depressed about their lives. The good news is like so many personality and brain functions,you can develop new ways to think and behave that are more aligned with your goals to live a more meaningful and constructive life.

Your main tool for accomplishing these changes is to become more aware by using reflection and introspection. The key is to evaluate were you are now and where you would like to go in the future. Then reflect on the gaps between now and future and determine what needs to be changed.  For these changes to happen, self awareness and reflection plans must be clear, concrete and time-bound. This reflection process is a deliberate, time-consuming process that requires you to study yourself and others feedback to you so that you can assess yourself accurately.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here is a methodology that I have used to coach executives and managers develop their self-awareness.

  1. Block off 30 minutes at the end of the day for reflection time.
  2. Select an one area of your personality that is not working for you or you would like to improve. Commit to reviewing and getting feedback on this area, such as your ability to listen to others or how you react to pressure or stress at home or work.
  3. Spend the designated time introspecting on the personality area you selected. As you reflect, think of real life examples where listening has been important for making decisions. Then, identify who was there and how you behaved in listen to their opinions or advice. Make the example as concrete and vivid as you can. Then, ask yourself some critical questions: In what way did you listen or not listen to others? Did you interrupt other people when they were talking? How long does it take you to criticize or reject ideas presented by others? When you are supposed to be listening are you really taking time to understand what the other person is saying or are building a rebuttal argument? to rebut you new information and what type of information is it easy or hard for you to learn? Are you a visual learner or auditory? Could you restate what the other person was trying to communicate to you to their satisfaction? Do you listen better in groups or individually? How did this interaction workout? What would you do differently to improve the outcome of the interaction?
  4. Reflect and Record your reflective observations in a journal. When capturing you reflections be sure to write down your thoughts and evaluate whether your behavior is following the 3-1 positivity ratio we have talked about in past posts. Having  a Self-Coaching journal will be useful to see how this negativity and lack positivity reflection keep you “stuck”.
  5. Develop a specific action plan to change your thinking so you can your behavior for the better.
  6. Then identify other areas of your thinking and behavior or habits you would like to change.

When doing more reflection I have one cautionary point –most of us are not very good at evaluating ourselves and consequently fail to be accurate in their assessment; they engage in self-deception. You can combat this tendency by thinking of multiple examples, rather than just one situation to review for each personality characteristic you study. You can also check the validity of your observations by asking trusted others for their thoughts and feedback about your level of competency on the characteristic you are trying to improve.

Daily Quote and Reflection:Attitude and Reaction to events

Daily Quote: The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Charles Swindoll

Reflection: I think the key question is whether your attitude the kind that other people want to imitate or do you display an attitude that makes people want to avoid you. Many times we are tired and stress by the many obligations and responsibilities we must carry. Yet we still can choose our reactions to these events and responsibilities–we can be moody, negative or oppositional or we can be fun to be around, enjoying others and happy to be alive. Which one will you choose this Thanksgiving? Have a great holiday and be gentle on yourself and others. Your Coach–The wick

Daily Quote and Reflection: Things that matter in Life


“In the end, just three things matter:
How well we take care of ourselves and others
How well we have accepted both the pleasure and pain of living.
How well we learned to just be… MW Hardwick

Reflection:  What are your three things that matter?

Personal Development Project–Discovering Life through Daily Reflection

Personal Development and Change Process   Learn the Power of Reflection. Change  your thinking and change your life. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D. 

Process Mission and Objectives 


Meaningful Constructive Living is 52 weeks of hope, daily reflection and inspiration. This once-a-week all year long opportunity for personal growth  is designed to give you the grounding you need to keep your heart focused on what matters your values and priorities –living in the “here and now”  truth of your own story. The aim of the Meaningful Constructive Living person change process is to engage and empower you to significantly increase your ability to live a more self-directed and reflect life. With all the stress and change coming at you in an ever increasing pace it is crucial to possess a ” recover process”  that keeps you balanced and grounded in what’s important to you in living a more fulfilled and meaningful life.  Based on the work and research of  Dr. Mark W.Hardwick, Meaningful Constructive Living is about creating the life you want to live.. This challenge is for anyone who desires to develop and nurture an openness and authenticity in living day to day your dreams and hopes. This process is a simple, clear model that fits into your daily living.

Process with Structure

You receive a quote and reflection direct to your inbox each Monday to set the tone for your week. Emotionally rich images from painter and author Todd Hardwick (son) accompany each weekly reflection. In addition to your daily quotes and  reflection from Dr. Mark’s teaching and Todd’s  dimensional drawings , you’ll receive a weekly wrap or action plan for change to help your thinking and actions to be in sync so as to create your Meaningful Constructive life.

Registration is only $ 30 dollars and is open for enrollment any time.

After payment, you must confirm your subscription by clicking on the link you’ll receive via email.

Daily quote and Reflection–Power of Failure.

Quote: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” Henry Ford 


Don’t be afraid to fail. In failure there is always the power to learn and try again.

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.

You feel down the first time you tried to walk. You scrapped you knees learning  to ride a bike, but got back up and tried again.

You almost drowned when your brother threw off the raft to teach you how to swim.

Did you draw the tiger perfectly the first time. No it took patience and practice.

Did you hit your first jump shot in learning to play basketball?

How many swings did it take to hit a baseball?

If you check the record books “big hitters” who hit many home runs also strike out more that they homered.

Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he invented the light bulb.

Abe Lincoln overcame fear of speaking to audiences to become one of the most eloquent and articulate Presidents of all time.

At the very successful Goggle company their motto is achieving 65% of the impossible is better than 100% of the ordinary.

To me the biggest failure is to fall down and fail, and then never trying again.

You learn more about the chances missed when you don’t even try again.

So keep on swinging…

And Never, never, give-up.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Living Your Life On Purpose

I cam across a couple of quotes the other day that I thought might be worthwhile to reflect on{
Quotes: “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfect..”  St. Francis De Sales  Rumi, the poet,  once claimed, “It is better to live the questions than always know the answers.”

Reflection: For me these quotes  began a process of exploring life’s  two great questions, “Am I living my life in a meaningful way? Am I making a difference?  These questions are important and the answers are hard to find and accept. So maybe it is in asking the question that we gain the power of self-understanding because It awakens us to pay attention and observe what is going on around us rather than just sitting in our own bath water.  The earlier in our adult life that we confront this question the quicker we get on a path toward a life of meaning, significance, and purpose.  Realistically, it is a road filled with personal development and exploration, identity issues and strengths for us to focus on.

Asking the question is an indicator of getting beyond ones self-centeredness  and thinking about how we interact and support others. It begins the process of becoming… as Carl Rogers called it.  Of course, the next logical question is, “How will I make a difference?”

Over the years, many people have shared with me there frustrations and disappointments ,  they usually say something like this

—“At some point in my life, I figured I needed to make a change in my life.  I’ve discovered that my purpose is to make a difference.”  While acknowledging this important observation, I try to confront in a caring way  and ask, “Have you considered how your skills and strengths make you uniquely qualified  to be a difference maker?”  My hope is to move them toward a more concrete understanding and depth of seeing their greater contribution in more specific terms.

Of course On Becoming a difference maker begins by knowing who you are. When you know who you are, you hold a strategic advantage in life and work.

Challenge: Describe your best self?   Are you living your life constructively and on purpose?   Become who you are.

Get “tougher” Discover Constructive Living principles through mental Challenges

Life is lived and filtered by experience, emotion, reflection and action. In an attempt to keep yourself focused I am going to begin to post quotes challenge you to discover new Constructive Living principles that guide personal development and change.

Quote of the Day: “Memory grips the past, hope secures the future. You don’t take the trip, the trip takes you”.

John Steinbeck, author

REFLECTION: What this quote means to me is how we are not in control of everything that happens to us in life. If you are in control make a choice after weighing your options; if not in control admit that and move on as best as possible given the situation or events. A couple of tools for helping to manage  the stress in your life is to develop flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity. These attributes give you a sense of power to react to both good things and difficult things that come our way in life. So it is not that stuff won’t happen to all of us but how we react to these things that is important. Being able to handle disappointments and frustrations actually make us tougher for other things that may follow. By tougher I don’t mean a Clint Eastwood or gang type toughness I mean a way of thinking that makes you emotional more resilient and stronger in combating and thriving  on the struggles presented to us.

Exercise: In the next 24 hours try to identify one problem in life that is draining your energy and see if you can develop a solution that will increase your ability to handle this problem or stress factor to improve your personal productivity. Please share your successes with the rest of us because it is a powerful way for all of us to learn.