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Why Southeast Asian Founders Need To Self Reflect

It just takes less than 10 minutes each day

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 31 May 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In the flurry of running a start-up, rarely do founders have the time to pause and reflect about what they are doing and where they are currently at in their entrepreneurial journey.  

In his Inc. article, Peter Gasca makes the case for carving out time for self-reflection. He says numerous studies have demonstrated that the process of understanding our thoughts and feelings helps us learn better and be more self-aware. When applied regularly, self-reflection can help improve productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

“You do not need to burn incense or sit under a tree or even spend much time practicing self-reflection,” Gasca writes. “In my practice, I take 10 minutes every day to journal as I plan and reflect.”

Shahab Shabibi, co-founder and CEO of on-demand errands assistance app MyKuya, says it’s “absolutely crucial” to do self-reflection as frequently as possible.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in day-to-day work and never have the chance to evaluate the fundamentals, so having this daily review enables us to be agile and never invest too much time and resources—the most scarce thing for a start-up—on things that are not working,” Shabibi says.

Three simple questions

If you think you neither have the time nor the patience for such a practice, Gasca recommends considering the abbreviated process instead. It involves asking yourself three simple questions: What have I done? What am I doing? What will I do?

Start off by thinking about what you have and have not accomplished since your last reflection. Were you able to check an important task off your to-do list or did you spend your afternoon on social media? The key, Gasca says, is to identify things that went well and those that did not.

Shabibi divides his day into two parts: First is getting things done, and the other part involves reflecting, strategizing, and planning. He spends most of his time working directly with management teams and helping them hit their targets.

“During the day we have the chance to collaborate with each other and get things done. Then in the evenings and oftentimes late at night I think about what we did today and understand what did we did right, so we can double down and what mistakes [we did], considering it as a learning opportunity and as a guide on what not to do,” he says.  

Next, focus on the progress you are making toward personal and business goals by asking yourself what currently occupies your time. Are you making some headway on the major project you plan to pitch to a client or have you decided on whether you will pursue further studies?

After you’ve taken a “mental audit” of your situation, Gasca suggests asking yourself what you will do tomorrow. He says you need to record important tasks you want to take on next.

As a leader, Shabibi says, you have the responsibility to ask yourself the right questions in order to guide your team and allow them to do what they do best: executing your startup’s best ideas.

He says, “When time and resources are thin, every single minute of every individual in the team matters and you’d want to evaluate this as frequently as possible. It may take much of your time as a founder, executive or CEO but it enables exponential returns for your team as a whole, which makes the practice totally worthwhile.”


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