Welcome back, gentlemen!
Last week we dove into a topic that is critical for any man’s understanding of how he is to lead others and himself well. We discussed the importance of loneliness and self-reflection.
We looked at why intentional, quiet time set aside for the purpose of looking inward is both challenging and infinitely rewarding.
We dug into several strategies you can use to help ensure that the time you set aside is fruitful and impactful.
This week I want to dig one level deeper.
I want to equip you with tangible examples of questions to ask and topics to think on while sitting in the silence we learned to embrace last week. This and last week’s post go hand-in-hand. Neither one is complete without the other. So make sure that if you haven’t had a chance to read through the previous article, “Embracing Loneliness”, take the time to do so now.
Possibly just as important as the act itself of sitting in silence, is the practice of entering into that time with discipline and discernment. This ensures you learn from the time and take away tangible strategies that you can implement going forward.Just as important as the act of sitting in silence, is entering into that time with discipline. Click To Tweet
I want to list 5 things for you to think on that may be helpful in getting your mind in the right place during your time of self-reflection.
As I stressed last week, every man is going to need and desire different things in the time he spends with his thoughts. So please do not take these as “rules”, but rather as “guidelines” to help you discover what kinds of things will be most helpful for you.
1.) What are my priorities? Are they in the right order?
This is a question that intimidates most men so much that it scares them away from ever even asking it. But I can promise you, if you have the courage to ask yourself this question, you are taking steps in the right direction for you, for your family, and for everyone you love and those who love you. This is not necessary, but if it’s helpful for you, list out the 3-5 most important priorities in your life. Think about the order in which you’ve placed them. Is there anything that should be higher? Or lower? This is a practice all gentlemen should undergo regularly to ensure we remain focused on the correct things.
2.) Am I aware of the needs of those closest to me? Have I positioned myself to faithfully foster those relationships through their needs?
We know the answer to this question more often than we’d like to admit. At any given time, we are likely to have someone needing something from us and we have been entirely inattentive to what they need. Think about that need and how you can address it. Place yourself in the situation from the other person’s perspective. How could your lack of attentiveness have hurt him or her? What part of your relationship is kept from growing because of this pain?
3.) Am I being wise in my financial decisions?
This is often a topic that people avoid entirely when they get some time away for themselves. But I would challenge that self-reflection is the perfect time to consider financial responsibility. If you are able to think about money when you aren’t in the middle of a stressful conversation about budget decisions, or paying a seemingly endless line of bills, it can be extremely helpful. Are you using your finances wisely? Are there any areas of spending you can cut back on or cut out entirely? These are important questions to consider and make thoughtful decisions on.
4.) Am I being a good steward of my time?
This topic may seem so broad that it borders on being completely unhelpful. But I intentionally left it open ended so you can consider what the most helpful approach can be for your specific situation. Time is one of our most precious assets. We need to be completely confident in our choices with it. Are you treating your time as a valued gift? Or stretching it so thin if feels like you have none of it?
5.) How am I using the gifts I’ve been given to help others?
We get so caught up in fine tuning our gifts and talents to help further our own self interests. What would our relationships look like if we spent some of that time fine tuning them to help meet the needs of those around us? Begin thinking about the people in your life who are in need. What abilities and gifts do you have that can specifically and uniquely help meet their need?What gifts do you have that can uniquely help meet the need of those you are closest to? Click To Tweet
Once again, these are simply springboards with which you are meant to jump from to form your own questions that can help your time be uniquely fruitful. Hopefully they served to get you thinking on the right track, and considering that our time spent in silence, in loneliness, can be some of the richest time we can invest in.
If you are able to spend time thinking on any of the above questions/topics, and it was helpful for you, please share your experiences! If you have any suggestions for areas that you’ve found to be helpful as you’ve practiced the discipline of self-reflection, by all means share those as well!
Now go, gentlemen. Go and learn to be still. Learn to be silent. Ask difficult questions that force you to confront areas of opportunity for growth in your life. I’m confident you will see the investment returned to you, and those you love, in full.