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I love a celebration. And I have a lot to celebrate! I’m a mom, a wife, an educator, an endodontist, and a business owner. I’m a daughter, a friend, a colleague, and a boss. Everyday I show up and do the best I can for the people in my life and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. That’s why I want to talk about the importance of reflection not only to mark the special days but also to help you lay a course for the future.
But today is, indeed, a special day! It’s my birthday, y’all!
But it’s not just my birthday, it’s Ballantyne Endo’s birthday too and guess what—this blog, the one that you’re reading right now?—yep, it’s birthday is today too.
Let’s get this party started!
The importance of reflection
When you’re an educator, it kinda comes with the territory that you love to learn, too.
I actually think of reflection as a form of learning. At its most basic, reflection is analysis of your beliefs, your actions, and your past for the purpose of learning and growing.
When you take the time to think through your experiences, you get to make meaning from it all and put together the pieces. It allows you to figure out what made you successful or where you were self-sabotaging and spinning your wheels.
We stand to gain so much from slowing down, adopting a perspective of curiosity, and sitting with the feelings that come with reflection. In fact, I would say the ability to sit with this stuff and learn from it (even when it isn’t comfy!) is what can turn a leader into a visionary. That’s why reflection is so important.
Some personal reflections
Because I believe in the power and importance of reflection, I want to share some revelations I’ve had from sitting quietly with my thoughts and experiences. And what better day than today?
When I think about starting Ballantyne Endo in 2008 I can’t help but wonder at how bold I was! There I was, fresh out of residency and ready to leave a mark on the world—even if I had to fumble my way through the first years.
You know what I think really helped me out? Remaining open and receptive.
I was always, always listening to the wisdom of the dentists around me. I asked for feedback from my patients and integrated it into my practice as often as I could. I was all ears when local business owners wanted to give me advice.
Through reflection, I came to understand how important that openness was when it came to evolving my brand and my business, so when I started E-School: Everyday Endo Made Easy, I really listened to feedback from my audience. But I didn’t just listen, I made changes accordingly so I could build the best possible online endo course.
Now that course has been translated into multiple languages and has grown into three different versions (Independent, with Coaching, and LIVE).
Holding the vision
Growth is messy, and so is growing up.
It’s definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. But for every bad day, I swear, there are 10 good ones waiting for you to live them. The process of envisioning what those good days look like and feel like is a powerful tool to guide you to where you’re meant to be.
When I think back to when I was beginning this journey, I know now I had way more vision than actual confidence (the confidence came with time!). In fact, vision might have been the most important thing I carried with me when I was getting started with Ballantyne Endo and my blog.
I got really clear about where I wanted to go—I could see my future, touch it, smell it, feel it. Being very intentional with my vision offered a guiding light during all those bad days. I can clearly see that now even if I couldn’t then (thank you, self reflection!).
Getting started with your own reflection practice
I think reflection is essential for anyone who wants to make the most of their experiences, deepen their understanding of themselves and their profession, and define a path forward. Because we won’t grow from our experiences if we don’t understand them. And if we don’t grow, what’s the point? That’s why reflection is important and so dang necessary.
Here’s a simple process you can follow if you’re reading through this blog and thinking, “ok, I’m in, but I just don’t know how to reflect.” I’ve got you!
Ask yourself these questions to reflect on a specific experience:
- What happened?
- What were you thinking and feeling at that time?
- What was good and bad about the experience?
- What sense can you make of the situation?
- What else could you have done?
- What would you do if the situation arose again?
It’s that easy! The importance of reflection is both in thinking through what has already happened, as well as planning on how to do things better in the future. Get intentional about it and see how things change!
What comes after reflection
What comes after reflection? For starters, take some time to celebrate! Celebrate your beginnings, your journey, where you are today, and all the work ahead of you. The road is long, my friends, and we all need to stop and smell the roses while we can. So live your life. I can’t say it enough—amid all the to-do’s and meetings and commutes, it can be easy to forget how lucky you are to be living and breathing in this moment. Live your life!
Today I’m celebrating the life I live by spending time with my family and my dearest friends. Good food and good company are my simple pleasures.
Once you’ve given yourself the pat on the back that you very much deserve, you can start to think about integration.
If you want help with that, get on the waitlist for my new course here. It’s a business mastermind that will teach you how to integrate your big ideas, get shit done, and grow your business.
Here’s to another year of success for all of us!