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Chasing greatness? Why you need to make sure you self-reflect first

Greatness may be the road less traveled, but it’s not because there’s limited access or strict barriers of entry.

The pursuit for more — or the denial of mediocrity and denouncement of complacency — once realized, is one of the most obsessive spells to be under.

Though difficult, it’s an understood difficulty; although there’s long-suffering, it’s expected; and while humbling, those who are committed welcome it.

Still, greatness remains elusive even to the those who are aware of its tangibility. You can have the highest motor, be the most ambitious, set the highest goals for yourself, and still find yourself lost at times.

That’s why when it comes to achieving excellence I’d argue the single most important quality one should hold on to is self-reflection.

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If it seems rudimentary it’s because it is. Self-reflection isn’t some new-aged, cutting-edge concept. It quite literal: a reflection of one’s self. Yet, it’s something many creatives, entrepreneurs and any pursuer greatness tends to overlook.

With all that putting of the head down and locking in, it’s easy to miss crucial sings and even easier to end up headed in the wrong direction. And for what, the sake of hustling? 

When we self-reflect we give ourselves a chance to process what’s happening to us, we allow ourselves to asses the journey, and more importantly, it gives us a realistic layout of what we can and cannot do. 

Self-reflection is nothing more than fine-tuning who you are as an individual to best suit your quest for greater. But first, you have to slow down.

Slowing down

You cannot achieve greatness without slowing down. While it may seem counterproductive, when we slow down what we’re really doing is giving ourselves time to see the results of what we’ve already done.

A lot of times when we get inspired we hit the ground running, which is completely fine. It’s just that there’s a point after running so far that we have to stop and see where we ran if it was in the right direction or even if we should try different running shoes.

People who refuse to slow down are the ones unaware of the muck they find themselves in. Not saying that stopping to evaluate your life suddenly reveals future potholes along the way, but it certainly prevents you from being blindsided or unaware of how you go to where you are.

Self-reflection doesn’t have to be a drawn-out affair, either.  When we’re slowing down we’re journaling, we’re taking notes and being mindful of major decision, we’re listening to our bodies, our happiness, and our desires — because all of these are constantly telling us something. It’s just hard to hear when we’re not paying attention.

Where you’ve been/where you’re going

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Anyone that’s mastered and maintained greatness is always cognizant of two things: where they’ve been and where they’re going.

Evaluating progress is an aspect of self-reflection and lifestyle management that far too many of us neglect. We’re either discontent of how far we’ve come or daunted at what lies ahead and as a result, we choose to be ignorant to both.

The “hustle” and “work” you put in does not justify not knowing where you are in your journey. At all times we should know what our current execution is, what the next move looks like and the results from past efforts. Not being on top of information as crucial as such is akin to not recording stats during a game to make an adjustment at halftime.

Self-reflection is an ongoing analysis of how we’re doing. Once we lose the fear of possibly not being where we want to be we can gather the strength to push ourselves where we’re not.

You’re only as good as you think you are

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We will only ever be as good as we think we are — as good as we see ourselves being. And the only way to truly know is to find out.

While self-reflection is a great tool to asses what you need to improve or adjust, sometimes self-reflection is just as useful in building confidence.

At times it takes seeing what you’ve already done to gather hope to conquer what’s ahead; when we reflect on our past hurdles and obstacles that’s what we’re doing.

If only to remind yourself of what you can do and jog your memory of what you’re made of. Self-reflect — it’s the pathway to greatness