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What, so what, now what?

It should be by now becoming more evident that self reflection is a critical key to unlocking your career smart potential.

Self-reflection is a critical key to unlocking your career-smart potential.

Professor Gary Rolfe and colleagues (2001) describe another useful framework for self-reflection in their book ‘Framework for Reflective Practice’. It’s based around three simple questions:

  1. What?
    – describe a particular situation, then focus on achievements, consequences, responses, feelings and any problems.
  2. So what?
    – discuss what you have learnt about yourself, relationships, models, attitudes, cultures, actions, thoughts, understanding and any improvements.
  3. Now what?
    – identify what you need to do in the future in order to improve future outcomes and develop your learning.

This reflective model is simple. However, this does not mean that the reflections should remain superficial. Really tackling those three questions honestly and thoroughly will always lead to some surprising answers.

Your task

Share your thoughts on how this model could help the process of self-reflection become easier for you.


Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., & Jasper, M. 2001. Critical reflection for nursing and the helping professions: A user’s guide, Palgrave Basingstoke.

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