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January 4, 2011

Returning home on New Year’s Day, I found myself with a few hours of quiet time to reflect on the incredible changes taking place in the world around me. I should probably share, I usually take time to reflect on the previous day’s events every morning during my commute to work. Today my commute is measured in steps instead of miles, and these days I find myself starting my work day routine without taking time to reflect. I realized just how much I miss my quiet time and how important reflecting is to our collective success as legal support professionals.

Reflection is such an important skill to master because it allows us to link recent experiences to earlier ones; to bring forward complex and interrelated events and to identify commonalities, differences and relationships among various events that don’t appear connected on face value, but when examined collectively…reveal patterns of behavior.

How often do we take time to think about what’s happening in our law firms, our teams or our own professional development? I know, trust me; I’m there too with just too much to do and no time to sit quietly for any amount of time. But, I find the exercise of reflecting actually gives me the surge of energy I need to push through the busy times.

If you are not already finding time to reflect and aren’t sure how to get started, let me share my own routine.

•  I visualize my calendar. What meetings did I attend; what did we talk about and what do I have scheduled today? Doing this helps me recreate the day in my mind and often reminds me about conversations outside of formal meetings.

•  What did I learn? The learning could have been through research, observation or conversations with others.

•  Did I have any opportunities for personal growth? Personal lessons-learned and challenges are often resources we can use to help others.

•  Who did I talk to or provide support to during the day?

•  Did I observe anything new or different?

•  Did I learn anything that challenged my current opinions or ideas?

Over time, you will begin to recognize patterns. It might be support issues you keep seeing that prompt you to create a class, develop eLearning or create reference material. Or, It might be a realization of a new workflow in a practice area that provides valuable insight for future use. Ultimately, it will bring you closer to understanding those you support.

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