My Sacred Eight: An Exercise in Daily Reflection

About a year and half ago Dana and I attended an onboarding day for one of our mentorship groups. The purpose of the day was to get us familiarized with the program and get us pumped up for the year ahead. The facilitator was Randy Boissonnault. Some of you may know Randy through his political career as the MP for the Edmonton Centre riding and his new appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage with the Government of Canada, but prior to that he was an exceptional strategy consultant. If you have never met Randy, it is important to point out that he is probably the highest energy person I have ever met. When he walks in, he takes over a room with his wide smile and booming laugh. He is also smart as a whip.

Part of Randy’s presentation included a section on reflection, and how it is often something that we, as entrepreneurs (and indeed as people in general), overlook. We spend so much energy barrelling forward that we don’t often take the time to look back and reflect on where we have been, celebrate our successes, learn from our mistakes, or mourn our failures. To combat this, one of the things he did as part of his daily routine was an exercise he called his Sacred Seven.

Randy identified seven things in his life that were really important to him. At the end of each day, he would reflect back on whether or not he put any energy into any of those seven items. It wasn’t expected that he would do all of the things every day, but after doing this for a while, it was easy to see patterns in the areas he put a lot of energy into and the areas that he wasn’t but needed to.

This idea really resonated with me. It is just so easy to get stuck in the weeds of our day-to-day lives and not take the time to make sure we are not letting time slip away from us. There are so many distractions and daily routines that it is easy to forget the things that are most important to us. Or, at the very least, let the days pass by without realizing what we are missing.

When Dana and I discussed our takeaways after the session, I was not surprised to out that this idea of daily reflection had also struck a chord with him. We decided that this was an exercise we wanted to add to our life as well.

My Sacred Eight

Randy had seven things he wanted to focus on, but it could be 5, or 6 or 10, the number doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you figure out what is important to you and if you are putting energy into them. I won’t tell you Randy’s sacred seven since they are not mine to share, but I am happy to tell you mine. These are my Sacred Eight:

  • Dana
  • Friends/Family
  • Strategy
  • Mentor/Volunteer
  • Network
  • Exercise
  • Write
  • Self-Care

Dana and I created spreadsheets (so nerdy, I know) that we update each night before we go to bed. Each day we reflect back on whether it was a day well spent. Most are, some not, but it is the knowing which is which that is important. Over the last year and half my sacred eight have changed a few times. I added and removed a few. I got out of the habit of doing the daily reflection for a few weeks at a time. But I always came back to it.

It is in my nature to be very future oriented. I am a planner, always looking forward, preparing for the next thing. This exercise, while simple, has been a helpful reminder for me to look back, reflect, and make sure I am spending my precious time and energy on the right things. Are you?