Being a driven go-getter eventually caught up to Kelly Ryan Bailey when she found herself unable to pull herself out of bed after experiencing massive burnout in 2016. Caught in the bustle of growing her career, fighting perfectionism, and chasing productivity, Kelly can now look back and see how neglecting rest, self care, and rejuvenation led to overwhelm, exhaustion, and discouragement.
Desperate to pull herself out of these unhealthy habits, Kelly developed a weekly self-reflection exercise to keep her focused on growth and positivity. What started as making small weekly goals like showering, eating 3 meals each day, or going on a walk evolved into bigger achievements over time. Kelly’s exercise gave her the opportunity to take pride in her accomplishments and set new goals each week. Kelly saw that writing, reading, and visualizing her goals kept those priorities top-of-mind throughout the week.
Weekly Reflection Exercise for Growth and Learning
What’s Kelly’s secret formula? Every Friday Kelly blocks 2 hours into her schedule to reflect on her week, writing down her answers to these questions:
- What were your accomplishments this week?
- What did you learn, unlearn, or relearn?
- What are you grateful for?
- What are your quarterly goals?
- How will you break big goals down into smaller, weekly goals?
- What are your priorities for the following week – based on your goals?
- Review your calendar. Are you spending your time in a way that aligns with your goals?
Prioritizing Being Kind to Yourself
Along with this weekly exercise, Kelly has learned to practice positive self-talk by spending time writing down things she needs to remind herself to believe in. Sometimes the things she writes down aren’t necessarily true today, but they are things she is working towards and wants to be true. As she reads her list, she sees who she wants to be and is able to envision becoming that person.
Kelly noted it’s important to remember that some days are overwhelming, and instead of pushing herself, Kelly now listens to her body and respects the need to rest without beating herself up over it. Kelly recognized the importance of organizational leaders setting the example of respecting their team’s need to recharge and rest to operate effectively long-term.
Lead like Kelly: Vulnerability, Perseverance, and Reflection
We were struck by Kelly’s vulnerability as she openly shared the low points of her life with the high points. Kelly’s story exemplifies how challenges give us the opportunity to reflect, grow, and persevere – which ultimately leads to impactful learning. What have you learned from some of the challenges in your life? Do you view difficulties, failures, and setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow? How might you or your team take time each week to reflect on goals, challenges, and accomplishments? Let us know in the comments!
Kelly Ryan Bailey, Founder & Global Skills Evangelist of Skills Baby and the host of the podcast, “Let’s Talk About Skills, Baby!” With over 20 years of professional experience building and advising startups, creating talent ecosystems between companies, educators, and governments, and fostering innovative technology solutions, Kelly is on a mission to change the world by empowering individuals and organizations to discover fulfilling ways to work and live.
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