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Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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4 Reflection and reframing

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Figure 6

Another useful habit that will help you build your resilience is regular self-reflection.

People with a high degree of self-efficacy often reflect on difficult situations and emotions or unsuccessful activities and identify changes they can make if that situation arises again. The athletes in the videos you watched in Activity 2 this week identified this as one of the ways in which they kept moving forward. But what is reflection?


Reflection could be described as:

  • thinking with a purpose
  • being critical, but not negative
  • analysing how effective your learning is
  • questioning and probing
  • making judgements and drawing conclusions.

Typically, you would do this by asking yourself questions about what you did, how you did it, and what you learned from doing it.

Activity 7 Time for reflection

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

You know yourself best. When might you find time to think with a purpose or reflect on a regular basis?

Julia Cameron, who works with artists, novelists and scriptwriters, advises quickly writing three pages (‘artist’s pages’) first thing each morning, just downloading what is churning in your head or going on for you, turning the soil before you start the day (Cameron, 1993). Others reflect on their day while having their last cup of tea, walking the dog or brushing their teeth.

How and when might you build this into your own life? Note down your thoughts.

If you decide to note down your thoughts regularly, what will you use? Perhaps you could buy a new notebook, or explore one of the online apps devised for this purpose.

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Making reflection a habit is a positive move towards greater resilience. Reflecting on events of the day, considering what went well and what went badly, and exploring what you might have done differently will give you greater resilience when you face similar challenges in the future.

A more formal approach to reflection is offered by Gibb’s reflective cycle (Figure 7), which illustrates the different stages in reflection.

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Figure 7 Gibb’s reflective cycle (adapted from Dye, 2011)

The key to learning from your reflection is spotting the patterns and links that emerge as a result of your experiences. Reflecting on specific situations and your responses may make your personal beliefs, expectations and any biases more apparent.