In a life, it can become tempting to only look forward and outward. You’re always striving for success, dealing with competition, and looking to better yourself, your company, or both. There are external forces at work, and there’s always some place higher to climb. This is good, it’s a spirit of pursuit that drives some of the most successful people in business, but I’d also argue that it’s important for anyone who hopes to be successful in this kind of environment to learn the value of self-reflection. With so much focus outward and upward, here are three reasons I’d argue looking inward matters, too.

1. You Can Understand Yourself Better

The clearest benefit of self-reflection is that it can help you to gain a better understanding of your own personality or tendencies. This is true both in general life, fitness and with regard to your performance in business. Self-reflection is the process of asking yourself questions to develop a deeper level of understanding about yourself. Simply get to know yourself better, and you do so in a way that can allow you to better shape yourself as a business owner, employee, or entrepreneur.

2. You Can View Your Own Development

In addition to gaining a better understanding of yourself in a given moment or situation, self-reflection can also help you to better view how you’ve developed over time, and what that development might say about you. For example, think back to your first jobs, or your very beginning within the company you currently work in. Think how different you were then, all the things you have been through since then, challenges, failures and ultimately, progression. Feeling out your own history this way can help you to understand what works and what doesn’t work for you, and it can influence your actions moving forward in a very real way.

3. You Can Increase Your Leadership Capacity

This falls in line with the idea of understanding yourself and your own tendencies. Self-reflection, not only in a business environment but life in general, can help you to gain an increased awareness of problematic performance traits, the same way you might look to recognise them in employees or co-workers. With this in mind, you can actually approach self-reflection almost as a kind of performance review for yourself, particularly if you happen to be in a position of leadership. You can recognize problematic traits and address them so as to become a more effective leader and co-worker.

In the same way, reflection on the way you manage problems can lead you to simplify your leadership style. Experience combined with reflection should always lead you to a clearer solution to problems, and a more streamlined, focussed you.

It’s always a good idea to look inside, perhaps particularly so when you’re in the middle of a fast-paced, competitive work environment. With too much focus on external forces and the drive forward, you can easily lose sight of what it is that makes you effective in your job, or what it is you might need to work on. Taking regular time for self-reflection can work wonders.

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