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This blog series is now in its eleventh article, so for those of you who have been reading every month, you are likely approaching your first full year since starting at your new company. Have you had a chance to reflect on your successes and failures of the past year? 

In this article, I will tell you about how to reflect on your work, specifically over a 1-year period, to enhance your career and succeed in your job.  

The Importance of Reflecting on Your Work 

Have you been reflecting on your work and actions on a regular basis?   

When you make a career move, you are forced to reflect on your work experiences and update your career history and achievements in your resume, so I assume you've already had some practice in self-reflection. Regularly looking back on your work is crucial, regardless of whether you are planning to change jobs or not. 

In order to continue to be successful business leaders, Peter F. Drucker mentions in one of his books to “follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action”

Reference: Drucker, P. (2000) プロフェッショナルの条件――いかに成果をあげ、成長するか [The Essential Drucker on Individuals to Perform, To Contribute And To Achieve]. Japan: Diamond, Inc 

As Drucker says, it is indispensable to look back on yourself regularly in order to build your career and continue to be successful. If you repeat the same thing without reflecting, you cannot expect to grow very much and will face difficulty to find the meaning in your work. 

In addition, you must reflect not only on your failures but also on your successes. 

  • If you did not reach your defined goals or deliver your desired results, you can find out some reasons of not proceeding according to your plan (analysis of your failure experience) 
  • When you exceeded your set goals or overachieved your desired outcomes, you consider about some factors which contributed to the success. (analysis of your successful experience) 

Self-reflection is a future oriented principle, where you assess the consequences of your decisions and your actions to find out the cause, then leverage your findings for your next opportunities. Nonetheless, people tend to learn more from their failures than their successes. Because they have regrets, they may feel discouraged as they reflect on their past. However, if that prevents you from moving forward with your career, it defeats the purpose. Whether it's your failure or success, think of every experience as a relevant ingredient to success at your next opportunity. 

Systematizing your Experiences and Leading to Improvement 

Now that you are aware of the need and the importance of self-reflection, here's the next step. How can we think about our experiences in a more systematic way?  

Have you ever heard of David Kolb’s Learning Cycle? 

It is the model of learning created by David Kolb, who developed the Experiential Learning Theory.