• Catherine Hansen

4 tips for 'harvesting' your summer

It's that time of year again—the end of summer! Although I'll miss the afternoon swims and dolce far niente nights, the cooler evening breezes always bring renewed inspiration, a sense of possibility, and many reasons to celebrate. This week, the Empowered Women's Circle held its final session of the summer—it was the culmination of a season focused on savouring our life experiences through the five senses. During our Thursday session, we reflected on and harvested our experiences. We "sensed into" each of our 5 senses and reminisced about all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches we experienced together this summer. Not only is personal reflection important for our EWC members so that they can learn from and build on these experiences and lean-in to a more awakened life - it should also be a priority for those in leadership positions. Reflection is the groundwork upon which to build future development in both your personal and professional life. "Reflection isn’t just about reminiscing — it’s also about taking stock of where you are now and where you want to be. It's difficult to project how you want to grow and develop without considering where you have come from." (Forbes)

Many of us gloss over the reflection process quickly, eager to start the next exciting project. I'm guilty of this, but luckily I have a team that reminds me of the importance of slowing down, celebrating our successes, and discussing where we can improve. It's a continuous, spiral process. If reflecting doesn't come naturally to you or makes you nervous, try these tips: Create a process for personal or professional reflection

  • Set aside some uninterrupted time

  • Prepare the questions you'll focus on (we have many resources within EWC!)

  • Share your thoughts with your team or an accountability partner

  • Be sure to keep documents that you can reference in the future

Ask yourself intentional questions:

  • Did I reach my goals?

  • What went well and why?

  • What can I learn from what didn't go well?

  • What can I celebrate about my progress, no matter how small?

Envisioning the future through story-telling

  • Imagine you get to the end of this coming year and you report back that it's been the best year.

  • What made it great?

  • What is different about you and your life a year from now?

  • What impact are you having in the world?

  • What has become easier?

  • How will you know if you’ve been successful?

  • Resist the urge to analyze and just tell the story of how you got there." (Forbes)

Make sure you celebrate! My EWC co-facilitator and power partner, Milisa Burns, puts it beautifully:

"Celebrating allows you to gain access to a potent source of energy we often leave untapped. Pride, coupled with humility, is a positive emotion. It’s the feeling we get when we’ve done something socially valuable. It’s an expansive feeling and with it, we also want to repeat it, to recreate the experience. Feeling proud can give us energy to propel us forward into new challenges."


Happy end-of-summer reflecting!