Have you ever noticed how seeing something with its reflection amps up the “wow” factor?

In this incredible image of the Milky Way, it’s gorgeous on its own, but when you zoom out and see it with its reflection, it gets a bit more awe-inspiring.

What about fireworks? I am not the biggest fan of fireworks. I could take them or leave them most of the time. In the last several years, though, I’ve been watching them with friends from their boat. Watching fireworks over the water, getting a glimpse of them both in the night sky and in the reflection on the water is a whole different perspective.

The word “reflection” itself is one of those pesky words in our language that has more than one meaning. Webster defines reflection as both “the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat or sound without absorbing it” (what we see in this image, above) and “serious thought or consideration” (what I did when I saw this image for the first time).


If “reflection” can create a beauty of its own, how can we be more “reflective” in everyday life?

Just about every day I find myself asking a leader “how much time are you building into your day to just think?”. The answer is usually an eye roll. Who has time for thinking? And yet, what we know from the research is that one of the most important things a leader can do is spend time in deep reflection. In fact, what research tells us about how people (cognitively) grow is that there are three primary ingredients or conditions that all have to be present: a challenge, collision of perspective, and reflection.

Another powerful way I see reflection at work is when I reflect back to a client what I have just heard them say or what I’ve just observed them doing. Just yesterday in a coaching conversation, I said to a leader “One thing I’ve noticed about you is how respectfully you handle hard questions. It’s incredible”. He was quiet for a moment and then replied “I’ve never really noticed that about myself. Wow. Thank you.” At the risk of sounding kind of woo-woo, it was a really beautiful moment.

So. How can you use reflection today to create some beauty?

Just some food for thought.