Reflection & Individual Performance-Hug and Nudge

(Vol VII)

Sometimes a warm hug is the answer to our question 
and sometimes a gentle nudge is the answer.

'Hug and Nudge' is a fortnightly column with two different perspectives from two different continents and cultures on the same question in personal development area viz. 
Jennifer Sertl (based in New York, USA) and
Dr Amit Nagpal (based in New Delhi, India).

Question-How does reflection improve the performance of an individual?

A Great Question by Dr Prashant Gupta, Pathologist,

Jennifer Sertl's Answer

In an earlier post Dr. Amit and I addressed the business case for reflection

This is such an important issue that we decided to write a follow up post about personal capacity planning and how to integrate reflection.

In a knowledge and service economy - mindshare in the inventory. How you use your mind, what you focus on, the discipline of your attention are ways you create value. I believe people take better care of things if there are constraints. So for the leaders I work with, I have them establish a framework that they have only 200 watts of brilliance to deploy per month. I then ask them to get an 18 month calendar and design for 90 day increments. I’d rather you anticipate where to spend your brilliance ahead of time. Here is the model that we use:

Reverse engineer your focus investment. How much energy you are going to invest in each of these categories?

You only have fixed capacity of brilliance to deploy: 200 watts per month (based on a 50 hour work week).

If you are spending more than 50 hours a week focused on work - you are going to get diminishing results. Exertion does not guarantee results. Balance and focus create the most consistent value for your company and your life.

 When you design with this reverse engineered mindset you actually are better able to understand what to say “yes” to and perhaps even more importantly what to say “no” to.

I see a lot of teams starting a lot of internal initiatives and making promises they cannot deliver simply because they don’t understand their own personal capacity and where their energy is either on or off focus.

This model takes time and practice. I believe however it will allow you a means to actually design strategy and reflection into your work week.

It cannot be an afterthought or if you have enough time. Strategy & reflection need to be accounted for before your month launches.

Designing in reflection can be as easy as starting a work journal where you input once a week with a few of these suggestion prompts:

If I had a chance to do something over again this week I would have . . . .

The best thing that happened to me this week . . . .

I was proud of the way I handled . . .

Here is what I learned . . .

Here are three quotes that inspired me . . .

My Achilles heel showed up again, here is what I wish I would have done . . .

This is such an interesting process, here is what my team is learning  . . .

I am getting better at collaborating, here is what is working . . .

Here is what I am learning about my leadership style . . .

These are the types of questions that allow you to learn from patterns that can allow you to add more value, adjust your focus and create more impact in your environment.

There are many ways to build reflection into your design. The first part starts with a commitment to honor how precious your focused attention is and begin to allocate your brilliance with more discernment. 

This is about progress, not perfection.


Brief Profile
Beacon of hope. Purveyor of discipline.
Global Citizen. Transleader.
Coach. Facilitator.
Co-Author- Strategy, Leadership & the Soul and Founder of Agility3R.

Watch on Youtube


Dr Amit Nagpal's Answer

Modern corporate world is known for pressure and extreme work pressure leaves no time for reflection. 

I had once posted on Facebook, “Passion, not pressure brings out our best. Those individuals or organisations who are seeking excellence, must shift the focus from pressure to passion. The only pressure I personally like is the pressure I put on myself.”

Pressure brings out only average performance in most of the cases, though sometimes we do discover ways of managing our time better, due to high work pressures.

Pressure creates a race, reflection is a break. Different individuals will benefit to different degrees in terms of performance improvement due to reflection (but introvert individuals in my view, need more time for reflection, as a personality requirement). There is a saying that life is not a 100 meter race, but a marathon. Only those who slow down in between, take breaks win marathons while others become burn-outs quickly.

Organisations (whether businesses or non-profits) are also running a marathon and hence must encourage employees to have reflection time. I suggest that entrepreneurs take breaks and even encourage HR staff to do personality profiling to find out individual employee needs for reflection.

To understand ourselves and become more productive, we must start the day with at least fifteen minutes of silence. Dedicate five minutes each to reflect upon yesterday (mistakes), today (plans) and tomorrow (priorities). 

Let us take a 5 minute reflection break right away to absorb the posts and cross check, if we are on the right track.

Happy Reflecting!!!
Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant and Mega Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Enlarge as a Human Being, Excel as a Social Media Being and Evolve as a Personal Brand"

To know more about Dr Nagpal, visit

Related Posts

Hug and Nudge (Vol 1)
Hug and Nudge (Vol II)
Hug and Nudge (Vol III)
Hug and Nudge (Vol IV)
Hug and Nudge (Vol V)
Hug & Nudge (Vol VI)

3R for Organizational Growth and 3E for Personal Growth


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