“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?
“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?
“The Roller Coaster is my life…It’s mountaineering; It’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself.”
Image from Unsplash by Claire Satera
The full quote for today is:
“The roller coaster is my life; Life is a fast, dizzying game; Life is a parachute jump; It’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; It’s mountaineering; It’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself.”
Based on this quote, you might think I am a massive risk taker, tempting life and limb on a daily basis. I’ve had my share of adventures along the way, but for the most part, I am a bit more of an introvert than you might guess.
I do, however, love the idea of wanting to get to the very top of oneself, base on those life mountains or even hills we choose to climb.
In what areas of your life do you have the greatest desire for growth and achievement? How and in what ways can you be a bit more bold and courageous to get to the top of yourself in these important life domains?
“Analyze your life closely, frequently. You will eventually find it difficult to misuse it.”
Image from Unsplash by William Iven
Every December, usually over the holidays, I do an assessment of the past year as a way of acknowledging my efforts and progress, and to set the stage for a new year of personal and professional growth.
The process of developing greater mindfulness and self-awareness can become an essential skill. It helps to not only avoid missing the gift of life, but also in learning to make the most out of each day we are blessed to receive.
Take three to five minutes to answer any or all of the questions listed here. Consider doing this with a friend, family member, colleague, or coach, to gain the social support to have this exercise make a significant and sustainable difference:
- What did you accomplish in 2017?
- What were your biggest disappointments?
- What were your most significant lessons?
- Where are you currently limiting yourself?
- What goal areas do you intend to emphasize in the year ahead?
A few resources you may wish to explore for extra credit include:
Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly
Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“Faith that the thing can be done is essential to any great achievement.”
—Thomas N. Carruthers, late bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Image from hbr.org
Over the past year, I have noticed a growing trend in many of my clients who work for large corporations. It has become increasingly apparent that the goals set for them go far beyond the usual “stretch” goals, to a level of the unreasonable and unbelievable.
What remains for many of these folks are feelings of upset, discouragement, hopelessness, and even anger.
Genuine faith that a goal is achievable is essential to empowering all of us to give our best to the task at hand.
Where can you collaborate and create shared goals, to maintain and encourage the faithful beliefs and actions that the goals will be fully realized?
“Are you following a path, or blazing one?”
-Michael Bungay Stanier, Sr. Partner of Box of Crayons
Image from Flickr by Vinoth Chandar
We are all creatures of habit. Just take a look at a typical day to explore all of the routines and rituals that engage your time.
The good news is that habits are often extremely helpful in that they usually provide us the necessary momentum to pursue and achieve many of our goals.
On the other hand, new goals that we passionately desire rarely come to fruition because we continue to follow our current path, using familiar strategies and tactics.
Where and on what personal or professional goals is blazing a path the thing to do to achieve what you most desire? What new and different behaviors and attitudes will be required to do so?
“There’s no such thing as overachievers; there are only under estimators.”
Image from pass-it-on.tumbler.com
What is your potential for achievement? Perhaps the better question is, “What is your perception of your potential?”
People never simply luck out and exceed their expectations. They have to work at it.
Too many people, on the other hand, have a more limited or modest view of what they can achieve. Even if they hit their mark, they are often shooting at a less than optimal target.
Where in either your personal or professional life is it appropriate, even necessary, to stretch and overestimate your capabilities to achieve your most highly desired objectives?
“Well begun is half done.”
—Cited by Aristotle as an ancient proverb
Image from Data49
When was the last time you were super satisfied with something you had done or accomplished? Take a few seconds to bask in the joy and pleasure of that event.
What would it be like to feel that way all the time, or at least more often?
What gets in the way?
We all know that putting things off acts like an anchor on our lives. Not only do we not achieve what we deeply desire, but most of us do a good job of beating ourselves up about it. That places an even bigger and darker cloud over our lives.
Select at least one personal or professional project you will initiate and follow through on today to experience the satisfaction and exhilaration of Aristotle’s coaching.
“How will you measure your life?”
—Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business Professor
Today’s quote stopped me in my tracks and caused me to sit down to examine its profundity. I then watched Mr. Christensen’s TEDx Boston talk from 2012, to see what this Harvard Professor had to say.
This is a question we must all answer for ourselves, based on many factors. I looked at the personal and professional achievements that measured me against others, and more importantly, against myself. My conclusion here was that personal development and growth have always been measuring sticks for me. What became more of a priority for me was the measure of family, and the development of close, collaborative relationships. In this area, contribution and making a difference in people’s lives was paramount.
When Clayton stated, in his talk, that God does not employ accountants and statisticians, I wondered what I’d like people to say upon my passing. This caused me to set about my efforts far more intentionally, so that I might fulfill my purpose.
Explore setting up a discussion group within your personal and professional communities to ask and answer this question for yourself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you discovered.