As I began thinking about this column with a desire to pick up where I left off in my last column relative to our goals, both past and future, I thought I should remind you how I ended that column:
Many times, there may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do—others will benefit when you’re stress-free. Go for a long walk, get a massage, or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries; by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals. Yes, I will admit that I need to take some of my own guidance and direction here. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to taking the time to recharge effectively. That will be one of my goals.
Another aspect of my last column was to encourage each of us to spend quality time planning our goals for 2022 in a way that they aren’t just measurable, but also attainable, as well as to remember that with each New Year, new and fresh opportunities will arise.
So, moving into this column and drawing on some thoughts I wrote about years ago that are still relative today, here is a question: What are we going to do right now to make sure we have our best year ever? Better yet, how can we help others accomplish goals through our leadership and inspiration? What one thing will make the difference in actually achieving our goals rather than chalking them up to yet another year’s unfulfilled resolutions? What can each of us do to enhance an aspect of our life that we’ve neglected due to our single-minded pursuit of that elusive brass ring?
Think about it. Each of us can focus our efforts on both a personal and professional accounting of where we are and where we intend to be in 12 months. Do we need a good set of jumper cables to get us kickstarted for 2022? If so, the local Auto Zone may be open. Buy the heavy-duty set.
The intent of this column is simply to get each of us thinking and to inspire you to reach a little higher and go just a little faster (if needed) to accomplish a little more than you’ve ever imagined. Now, after you’ve thought about this for a while, are you pumped and ready to go? Well, we also need to remember to not overthink this and wind up being more overwhelmed than excitedly focused.
Okay, how do we stay focused and energized without becoming overwhelmed? First, just start with small steps rather than a full-blown gallop out of the gates. One thing at a time. Just keep chopping wood, if you will.
Lead in a Way that Others Want to Follow Rather than Need to Follow
Each of us can begin by reviewing how we lead by example in all areas of what we do. Regardless of your position or title, it’s important to be a Leader. Now, I’m not talking about being a leader because you may have a position of power or authority; that doesn’t make you a Leader. That just proves you have power or authority. I’m talking about being a Leader because you are focused on inspiring others to follow you in what you do or what you want to accomplish. You are a Leader because you are in a position to improve the lives or situations of others who just can’t get out of that so-called rut. Getting in that rut can happen to any of us, and we need someone to lead us out of that situation.
Speaking of ruts, let’s look at that rut we always seem to be in when our goals begin to fade down the stretch. First, we need to make sure the rut has not become so deep that even an extension ladder wouldn’t be helpful. Maybe we need to expand our horizons and focus on new experiences to generate a new plan. How about this: Make a list of 10 things that you’ve wanted to do that you’ve never started. Begin notching that belt, one goal at a time.
Now that you’ve made your list, start right now, this month, this week, this day. Focus on item #1. Don’t begin here, then move over there, and then wind up with nothing being completed—if you do that, you’ll look up and half the year will be gone. Stay focused on one item at a time.
Another important component for us to remember is that in everything we do both personally and professionally, the focus should be on relationships and building and maintaining those trusts. In today’s world there are so many distractions that can clog up the avenues we should travel. We need to do business today in a manner that we have the opportunity to do business tomorrow. Building and maintaining trust is so important. Doing business this way should be one of those 10 items you thought about earlier.
Here’s another question for you: When is the last time you reached out to some of your most valuable customers or friends? Making that contact isn’t about getting the business on that day. It’s about the future. Will you be able to garner their business or friendship down the road? This is how we maintain value in what we do each day—by ensuring that those people want to hear from us again and again because they trust us and they see value in what we do and what we can bring to the table.
We can take this even further. Think back to the last time you reached out and helped someone in need. (I hope you don’t have to go too far back in your memory bank.) Each of us has a unique skill set that we can use to accomplish our goals for this year, and in doing so, hopefully we can help those in need in many ways through our focus and accomplishments.
In closing, let’s again revisit the issue of leadership as we focus more closely on our 2022 goals. I would like to encourage each of us to be a Leader who will strive to inspire others with our resources and not focus on being a leader driven by having a position or title that gives you power or authority. Again, as I mentioned earlier in this column, we need to be the type of Leader who inspires people to follow us because they want to follow and not because they have to follow us.
I hope all of our to-do lists are successfully accomplished by the end of the year, but most importantly, my hope is that each of us has already looked in the mirror and can state that our role as a Leader has generated inspiration in others to follow us and not to begin seeking other directions.
Let’s inspire, let’s improve, let’s lead.
Stay healthy and safe!