I Wish I Had Known That - Reflection

By The Cove June 11, 2021


 

I wish someone had explained to me the value of self-reflection. Looking in the mirror is hard, judging yourself can be harder. Leaders must be able to do both if they are to influence others'RSM 5 BDE

'I wish someone had told me that, it is ok to let your JNCOs make mistakes. From infancy, we as human beings have learnt from our mistakes. We reflect on and re-adjust our avenue of approach from these failures. As long as there's no breach of safety, risk to welfare or capability, let your soldiers make decisions 'within their lane' and learn'.  RSM SOARTY

'I wish someone had told me to keep a diary of daily events, capturing highlights, actions and lessons learnt. Reflection is an important tool for self-assessment and self-improvement. One must take the time to reflect periodically; daily, weekly and monthly. As we make time for physical fitness, we must also make time for reflection. This aids in mental health and wellbeing and allows one have time to exercise their thoughts and exercise their written word. I would recommend this is done in a journal or diary. This allows one to remove themselves from the computer and allows one to find a quiet place to reflect for a small period of time. (It also gives loved ones something to buy you for your birthday). It is very important at certain periods to read over your thoughts again and reflect on these also. Don’t dwell on past, but use it to empower and improve one’s self'. SM Digger Works

Hindsight is a wonderful thing…had I known that what started as a boyhood adventure would become a lifetime journey, I may have approached my service with a different mindset or indeed a deliberate plan. I made some silly mistakes along the way, often making crucial decisions based on emotion rather than logic and as such, have achieved some sub-optimal outcomes during otherwise favourable circumstances. Time and experience has taught me the value of taking a breath and not rushing to take action or make a decision where time is not a critical factor. I would describe this as the development of 'professional poise', an attribute which comes easier for some than others based on their personal attributes. Time has also taught me the value of being honest with yourself, this is an essential aspect of your leaning which will allow you to identify actions required for self-improvement as a person and a leader. Self-awareness and a commitment to “own your mistakes” can combine to accelerate your personal and professional development. This does need to be balanced with a healthy dose of self-belief to ensure your mistakes do not undermine your confidence or self-worth. It is worth noting that, when I joined the Army I was ignorant, inexperienced and un-educated and so the course of my journey has provided my with the requisite knowledge, experience and education to see the world though the lens I now possess after 26 years of continuous service'RSM UNSWR

‘I wish I had known’ the value of gaining a wider perspective. This is critical to having a balanced view, that in-turn enables unified actions which are critical to the success of the wider enterprise. Wider perspective is gained through PME and actively seeking different experiences'……. An RSM from SOCOMD

'I wish I would have known that despite the unsubstantiated opinions of my section mates there is always a select group of intelligent and experienced commanders or leaders within my unit that have my development as a soldier and a person in mind. However, it is still up to me to seek those persons out, take the vulnerable action to engage in conversation and start to accept and take action on that advice'. RSM 7 CSSB

'I wish I would have known that my advice would be critical in commanders’ decisions. I wish I had undertaken tertiary level education earlier; this would have greatly helped me to understand the context of many activities. I wish I had paused more often to reflect on personal and team progress; this  would have allowed me to understand where I/we can improve. My lack of reflection made me less efficient. Stop every now and then and understand your strengths, weaknesses; this will make you more effective'. RSM 5 AVN

'I wish someone had told my younger self, the following: Do not define yourself through your work, you need to understand what your value is, the military does not define who you are. Do not be too hard on yourself, nobody is perfect and you will make many mistakes. Learn from them but do not let them become a burden'. RSM SOER

'I wish I had known the importance of perspective –identifying what is important, what requires my attention and what I need to accept have only recently become something I have become conscious of. Things would have been simpler and I would have been more effective if I understood this earlier in my career'. RSM RFSG

'I wish I would have known the pride and enjoyment of service I have experienced as a Warrant Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major back as a newly promoted Lance Corporal. To understand the reach and influence that I would have someday would of shaped me differently in my early years and no doubt created a more focussed soldier. To be still enjoying the career path I chose after 26 odd years puts me in elite company'. RSM 2/17 Battalion

'When I was a JNCO, I wish I totally understood that out of all the influence I had, the most important would be realised through simply doing my job to the best of my ability'. RSM 11/28 RWAR

'I wish I would have known that my advice would be critical in commanders’ decisions. I wish I had undertaken tertiary level education earlier; this would have greatly helped me to understand the context of many activities. I wish I had paused more often to reflect on personal and team progress; this would have allowed me to understand where I/we can improve. My lack of reflection made me less efficient. Stop every now and then and understand your strengths, weaknesses; this will make you more effective'. RSM 5 AVN


Portrait

Biography

The Cove

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



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