What small achievements can you celebrate today? How?
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by krakenimages
What make a good day a good day? How important is it for you to achieve something of great significance to place a gold star or even a check mark in the box for the day?
If our accomplishments need a certain critical mass each day, most of our calendars will appear a bit empty. Take a few hints from clever parenting charts, on which young children get stickers for eating their vegetables, putting away their toys, brushing their teeth, potty training, or simply for saying please and thank you.
What small achievements do you tend to overlook on a typical day?
In what ways can you acknowledge your efforts and progress today, and add a few more gold stars and happy faces to your calendar?
“Thrones, no matter how pretty, have only room for one.”
Image from Unsplash by Nicholas Green
By the time this post reaches your inbox or social media feed, I have review it numerous times. My own reflection on this process points to the high percentage of these efforts directed towards one’s progress in our personal and professional communities.
Although I am all for the achievement of individual success somehow, I experience even more satisfaction and fulfillment when I’ve been a part of a group or team effort.
Consider sports as a good example. On the list below, notice the fan base of popularity of team sports.
There don’t seem to be many stadiums built for individual sporting events. We all like to be part of a winning endeavor, even if we never get on the field.
||# of Fans
||# of Fans
Where are you engaged in an individual endeavor versus some form of group achievement?
Where is the “TEAM” concept of Together Everyone Achieves More truer for you?
What joyful thing would you do if this day was your last?
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Amazon
Various studies on achievement and success have demonstrated that one’s ability to delay gratification is significantly correlated with long term achievement.
You may have heard about the famous and somewhat controversial Stanford marshmallow experiment where preschool children were given the option of one marshmallow immediately or two tasty treats if they were willing to wait around 15 minutes.
Although debated due to various suggested biases, the individuals who delayed their immediate reward turned out to be higher achievers over the long run.
Where have you possibly taken delayed gratification too far in your own life?
What joyful experiences do you already regret missing?
Where might FOMO (fear of missing out) be a good thing?
Dan Pink’s newest book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward may offer you some joyful strategies to make the most of your days ahead.
“You never conquer a mountain. You stand on the summit a few moments. Then the wind blows your footprints away.”
—Arlene Blum, American mountaineer, writer, and environmental health scientist
Image from Unsplash by Charlotte Karlsen
What personal and professional mountains have you climbed? How did you feel standing on their summits? How long did you remain at the top before returning to base camp? How long did you retain the sense of accomplishment before the inevitable let down from these peak experiences?
Over the past two years, I’ve noticed many people — including myself — experiencing a loss of excitement and vitality in their days. We seem to be climbing fewer mountains and many are seeing their paths blocked by various obstacles. The winds of change can often be in our faces and have blown many of our former footprints away.
Where is it time to strap on your boots to make some new footprints on the future mountains you seek to climb?
How will you fully embrace the journey and standing on the summit as you set forth on your next expedition?
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”
—Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State
Go back in time and take a look at your report cards from your days at school. How were your grades, what were your favorite subjects? Where did you intentionally pursue and achieve levels of excellence?
How have things been going for you in your personal and professional worlds since those days? What would your report card look like today, given the many roles you play in your various communities?
In what areas and in what ways have you developed the habit of pursuing excellence in matters both big and small?
What are a few areas of your life in which an adjustment of both attitude and effort would make the biggest difference and help you achieve big things?
“To better the future, we must disturb the present.”
—Catherine Booth, 19th Century co-founder of The Salvation Army
Image from Unsplash by Ronnie Overgoor
What comes to mind when you think about goal setting and the achievement of your personal or professional objectives?
What has been your track record in meeting or exceeding your desired intentions?
For many, the course taken is often the path of the New Year’s Resolution — most of which are slowed down or completely stopped by mid-February.
A common reason for giving up may simply be that we believe we must always go big and have tectonic shifts in our reality if we are to realize our dreams of a better future.
Many pioneers in the world of human achievement and behavior suggest it is better to go small.
Books such as Tiny Habits and Atomic Habits point to the power and sustainability of even he smallest of actions taken on a routine basis, producing big, long-term results.
How can and will you make small but subtly disruptive changes in your life to help you realize the better future you desire?
“Find a need. Define a service. Be the bridge.”
What are your personal or professional areas of excellence and high achievement? Which of these activities stir the passions in which you often lose track of time, expressing your gifts and mastery?
Where also do you find the expression of these capabilities serving the needs and desires of others in some meaningful and value-producing way?
Jim Collins — author of Good to Great — might describe this scenario as a personal hedgehog. It points us toward an expression of ourselves that could be more fully developed and expanded to contribute to the world.
How and in what ways can and will you be an impresario to find a need, define a service, and be the bridge to bring it to the world?
“Mentors are like potato chips: You can’t have just one.”
—Eric Barker, author of Barking up the Wrong Tree
Image from lays.com
Whether you call them potato chips, crisps, or something else, potato chips are big business, accounting for sales north of ten billion dollars per year.
Countries around the world have unique flavors of chips – all adding to our waistlines! For example:
- Canada: dill pickle, jalapeño, ketchup and wasabi
- Indonesia: spicy chicken, nori seaweed, and salmon teriyaki
- Columbia: lemon, chorizo, sirloin steak, and mushroom sauce
- Japan: consommé, soy sauce, plum, chili, and scallop
- United Kingdom: prawn cocktail, beef and onion, spicy sriracha, and aromatic curry
What flavors have you tried? What type of chips do you crave during those naughty moments of self indulgence?
Mentors and coaches, meanwhile, are almost always beneficial and support you in leading a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
Where might adding a few more mentors and coaches support your progress towards greater personal and professional achievement?
Even if you don’t formalize these relationships on a one-on-one level, consider the books, blogs, seminars, and other resources from such individuals and how they can support your efforts.
“There are no ‘pretty good’ alligator wrestlers.”
Image from Unsplash by Matthew Essman
It’s unlikely that there is a Junior Alligator Wrestling League in your community or school system.
What parent would send their child off to such an activity, hoping they would rise in the ranks, and bring home the Champion Trophy – not to mention all their appendages?
Our world is hyper-competitive and sports include a significant risk of injury. Still, many families with an interest in fitness and athletic activities participate, knowing full well that their children are unlikely to make it to the Olympics or turn pro at some point.
Meanwhile, in the working world more and more people are finding that being only “pretty good” puts them at risk of being eaten by the alligators swimming in their vocational waters.
What efforts can and will you include in your “pretty great” developmental journey in the year ahead?