There are only two things you need to get clear on to start your year really really well.
- Be clear about where you want to end up.
- Have the personal commitment to get there.
Direction – A clear and compelling picture of where you want to be.
Determination – The personal conviction and commitment to get there.
Before we get into this piece, I have written a companion Whitepaper called “Making an Impact on 2021” to go with this post. It has an outline and comes complete with team worksheets.
Master Model – Where the magic happens
The model explained:
Low Direction and Low Determination
YOU ARE FRUSTRATED
This person or team is busy, really really busy. But not accomplishing anything. They are busy doing nothing. For those who want to make something of themselves and their opportunities, this is immensely frustrating. It feels like all this time and money is being used up for no good outcome.
Your first step to transformation is to get help to discover your WHY and your WHO. This help to connect purpose to a person.
Clear Direction and Low Determination
YOU ARE DISAPPOINTED
This person or team has either decided to quit already or is really close to letting it go, for any number of reasons. And it’s not the first time, in fact, as you look back, your career or work has a series of “nearly got there” stories and the excuse narrative is a well worn path.
It just seems to be too hard sometimes. And it IS HARD. What makes it even harder is quitting and having to regain all that momentum again.
Your best action is to expect obstacles, plan for them, and create a pit crew to be part of the challenge with you. To call more out of you WHEN it gets hard. To push through and overcome the temptation to quit too soon. Writing this reminds me of my Gym Trainers who know how to get more from me in the final 4 seconds of a round, just by encouraging me.
Quick Caveat – If continuing is physically or mentally damaging you it’s imperative you seek appropriate help right now. We love you too much to be hurt by hanging on for no good reason, I realise it’s counter intuitive but you get it right?
Low Direction and High Determination
YOU AE CONFUSED
This person or team consistently puts the effort in but seems to miss the mark each time. Like those viral videos of runners taking the wrong turn or celebrating one lap too early. It’s just too painful to watch.
All that effort to end up where you DON’T want to be.
Without clear direction, a compelling North Star, you will end up where you don’t want to be and find yourself some combination of confused, bemused and angry. Asking yourself how this happened since you worked so hard all the time and put the big hours in. For this!
The confusion is directly related to having no clear direction. You don’t know where you want to end up so when you get where you don’t want to be you throw your hands in the air in annoyance. You work hard to get……where? Not where you want to be, that’s for certain.
The next best step is to stop, pause, dream again and take some time to get crystal clear about what you want from your year and where you plan to end up.
A compelling and motivating direction clears up all your confusion.
High Direction and High Determination
YOU ARE MOTIVATED
There’s something magical about knowing where you want to end up and having the conviction to get there.
The clarity creates its own power, you can see it, feel it, taste it. You can’t wait to move towards it.
The conviction and determination creates resolve, gives you context for challenges and invites you to be agile and innovative as you work towards your objectives.
At this point, remember who this is for and remind your team regularly of the purpose and the payoff. It’s huge. It also challenges you to BE the kind of person who can accomplish these goals. To do the personal work, make the disciplined decisions and sacrifices it takes for the dream to be real.
FIVE PRACTICAL STEPS TO MAKE DIRECTION AND DETERMINATION WORK FOR YOU.
Lead with life themes.
Themes are better than goals
A theme is either a responsibility you have in life or a role you have in work. Themes are a BIG IDEA and goals are smaller targets that sit under the themes. Like a headline with bullet points. When you theme out your life you can more easily and more quickly attach a meaningful goal to it.
For example, my themes are husband, dad, friend (and son), leader, speaker, mentor. These help me shape my priorities with every resource I have as well as set compelling goals because what I want to do has a somewhere to live.
Tension, don’t order, your priorities.
You can do anything, but not everything.
When you work, work. When you play, play. Don’t play at work and don’t rob yourself and your loved ones of the time you’ve given to them. Do what needs to be done at the right time and never feel guilty for re-creating with people and activities you love.
This uneven allocation of time will help you work even more effectively, and be even more present each time, in every activity, with every person.
Look back. Look in. Look up.
Clarity is better than certainty.
You work out what to do by what history taught you, your present reality and expectations as well as your future dreams and hopes.
Learn from your past, dream wildly about what could be, and remain optimistic about the future. That alone will help you work out who you can become and what you could do.
Measure Milestones AND Goals
Seek progress, not perfection.
Jon Acuff in his book “Finish – give yourself the gift of done” talks about how perfectionism is the biggest obstacle to making progress. He says “This is the first lie that perfectionism tells you about goals: Quit if it isn’t perfect.”
More often that not, seeing that you have made purposeful progress in the right direction can be enough to stay motivated and committed to your dream. Measure your milestones in the context of your goals.
Expect the “Big Three” Challenges
Distraction. Disappointment. Discouragement.
You cannot and must not avoid challenges, they will come. The key is being prepared for them as best as you know how and have a way of responding to them that is measured, wise and commensurate to the challenge you’re facing.
- Distraction is when is you realise you are off track. The antidote to distraction is not focus, it’s stillness.
- Disappointment is when something or someone lets you down. The antidote to disappointment is to release forgiveness.
- Discouragement is when it seems all to hard and the dream you started with and the reality you have are worlds apart. The antidote to discouragement is not courage, it’s perspective.
By way of afterthought, it would also help to write down a list of WHO benefits by you doing the year well.
- You do, you can be proud of who you become and what you get done.
- Your closest relationships do, they get the best of you not the rest of you.
- Your work benefits, you get better and can do more.
- The world is a better place because of your contribution and impact.
As I look at it, that seems worth it for you to have your best year ever.
May it be so.
Leaders worth following – Culture worth reproducing.