The Space

reflect & renew

Jan 28, 2024

January is a month of reflection and renewal for me. 

Renewal is a word that you might not naturally associate with January — it feels more like a December word!  I believe that ingredients of renewal include reflecting and then another review, followed by planning, and then it is cyclical. One leads to the other.

I am a self confessed reflective practitioner and planner. It is the combination of the two that enable most sustained and consistent progress. 

Let me share...

For example, for over 10 years I have wanted to consistently write a weekly email and I have failed. However, since October 2023 I have been writing and sharing regularly. It might not seem like a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things my writing a weekly newsletter is really not important — however, it was important to me. The Space has given me the opportunity to:

— reflect on the last weeks learning, events, highs, lows, etc.

— think about what is worthy of sharing with others

— make time to pause and create deliberate space between the week and weekend... so much so that I also have a Personal Space habit that I have now added to my life on a Friday which creates a more deliberate transition between the week and weekend (let me know if you want me to share more about that!)

And all of that before you even read and contact me about the text!

All of this has come from pausing to renew, to take stock... something you can do at any time. 

So, how do you reflect?

I could give you a few ideas, but rather than do that now, I invite you to take a moment and consider what are your behaviours and patterns for reflection...

(If your initial response is 'none', you are not alone... just spend a moment more on this...)

As a minimum, the fact that you are reading this is a form of reflection. I very deliberately write as if I am speaking directly to you... and that creates subconscious, and conscious, reflection. 

So, how do you reflect, Saiyyidah? 

I go for a short walk, sit a little bit longer with a slow cup of coffee, do nothing, look at the clouds, watch a tree swaying in the wind, look at the rain on a window... 

I do these for anything between 90 second and an hour... or longer! 

And sometimes the result of reflecting is this:

(origin unknown)

Moving on to review...

This is where I start to make a list, it could be in my phone, on a napkin, or on the back of a receipt

— No matter how you formulate your list, writing things down is important. There are a few pages in my book RESULTS The Art and Science of Getting It Done that explain why writing things down is so important. And more recently... Audrey van der Meer, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, says “Handwriting uses more senses and the body is more involved... That means more of the brain is active and there needs to be communication between these active parts.” 

And may I suggest your 'list' having 1 — 3 items is a good start. 

Right now, you might be wondering why I am focusing on the reflect and review this week... Let me tell you about the themes emerging in the recent leadership coaching and supervision work I have undertaken. Given the time of year, it is no surprise that much of it has been about planning for 2024, some of it has been about taking stock, and some has identified 'niggles' that need resolution. I too have been having similar conversations!

Let me offer you an invitation...

No doubt you will have some thoughts and reflections as you have read this. May I invite you to write those down? A few words is fine. Feel free to hit reply and share them with me. 

— What are 1, 2, or 3 things you will do? 

— What are 1, 2, or 3 things you won't do? (ie you have removed them from your 'to do' list)

— Where are the regular moments of review you might put into your calendar? (at the end of every month I will share a new review and renewal based idea!) 

And breathe... 

Talking of which, a note on last week...

There was an incredible response to last weeks The Space! Thank you to everyone who reached out to me to say how powerful the 'breathe' poem was. One reader shared the following image with me, and I felt it was so rich I wanted to share it with you... 

And this fits in very nicely to invite you to relax for a moment, even for a few seconds. 


PS — A few things I have been watching/reading and enjoying

BBC The Traitors, Season 2 — no spoilers from me, but let's just say that my son is Harry... he is sooo persuasive. And here is an article about the impact of wardrobe in The Traitors. It really makes you think about the elements that influence one's reputation.  

Last Sunday I was stuck outside the Darford Crossing in the middle of Storm Isha. In order to remain as calm as I could in a complex situation I started to listen to Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, by WIlliam Bridges, I am 2 chapters in and it is a brilliant listen so far. It really does feel like a great follow up to another book I recommend a lot which is Working Identity by Hermina Ibarra.


PPS — I thought it might be helpful to share some of the public activities I am participating in so that if you are able to come along you can :-) 

  1. Earlier this month I joined the William Temple Foundation as a Senior Research Fellow. I was invited to participate in a symposium at University of Oxford's Balliol College on the future of society  in November 2022 and as a result of that got involved in a project nurturing and developing future leaders from a variety of different faith and belief backgrounds. You can find out more about that here
  2. On Friday 23 February 2024, 14:30-16:00 UK time I will be facilitating my first public virtual event of the year. It is a leadership supervision session, and you will leave with a much deeper, richer, grounded understanding of who you are. This session is open to anyone interested in exploring leadership from an identity and belonging basis — registration opens next week! 
  3. On Thursday 7th March 2024 I will be speaking on identity, belonging, and culture at the fifth Psychosynthesis Coaching Symposium in London. 


Have a great week!

All my best,


The Space


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