I first learned of the DEAR acronym in George Couros’ book, The Innovator’s Mindset, where he explained this practice used by the teachers in his school to encourage students to pause frequently and actually think about what they are experiencing, what they are taking in and make a conscious choice about what they think are the important things to remember and what to let go.

I’ve adopted the practice myself and find it helpful as the information coming at all of us seems to multiply every day. It seems fitting at this time, when so many students are about to graduate, to share what we are learning in our reflection time. If you have a graduating student in your life, perhaps this would be a poignant place of connection between two generations.

Here’s what I’m asking myself in those quiet moments of reflection: How do I want to show up in this day, this conversation or challenge? What is truly important to me here? What is the best outcome I can imagine?

I believe it was Tony Robbins that said, “The quality of the questions we ask ourselves determines the quality of the life we lead.”  Yet, it is so easy to blow through our days in reactive mode and never pause to see whether all that busyness is leading us to a place we really want to go.

Of all that we take in in high school or college, there is, I believe, no more important skill than the ability to think creatively and draw our own conclusions based on what we want to accomplish with our unique values and perspective. Yet, in my executive coaching practice, I often hear people describe their days as so busy and demanding that they don’t take time to think. Imagine leading a company or department—let alone a life—without pausing occasionally to reflect on it.

All the computers and gadgets combined don’t hold a candle to the thinking mechanism that is is our own mind, with it’s ability to take in non-local (intuitive) information as well as recall all we have been exposed to in a fraction of a second on any topic. We still hold the most amazing computing device in the world in our own conscious thinking.

I love the practice of reflecting on experiences to mine them for insights and ahas. My partner and I are currently enjoying classes in the WEBC Pre Summit for executive coaches. After a presentation, we can hardly wait to share the deeper learning that emerges in those periods of reflection. Those moments of quiet, when we ponder are truly becoming DEAR.

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